Overview

Mostly popular with women who enjoy streaming, Pretty Little Liars is a TV series which combines mystery, thriller and teen drama. There is a novel series with the same name, written by Sara Shepard, but the TV episodes are only loosely based on these.

The opening theme for Pretty Little Liars is well known as the song Secret by The Pierces. There are a whopping 160 episodes to check out, so it will take a while to binge watch the whole series! In total, seven episodes of this show have aired, and it was cancelled in 2017 by Freeform. For more gossipy drama, similar shows include Downton Abbey and Scream Queens.

Premise

The first season of Pretty Little Liars has perhaps the most memorable plot – a high school clique of four girlfriends disbands after their leader disappears. When the friends begin getting strange messages from someone called A, who says they have access to their darkest secrets, they are forced to reunite after being estranged for a year.

Later on, another figure called AD becomes involved, and the girls are both threatened and tortured for the lies and mistakes they made before and after Allison’s body is found. While they thought Allison herself was behind the messages, the death discovery of their former friend makes them realise somebody else is out for revenge.

Cast and characters

  • Troian Bellisario – Spencer Hastings
  • Ashley Benson – Hanna Marin
  • Holly Marie Combs – Ella Montgomery
  • Lucy Hale – Aria Montgomery
  • Ian Harding – Ezra Fitz
  • Bianca Lawson – Maya St Germain
  • Laura Leighton – Ashley Marin
  • Chad Lowe – Byron Montgomery
  • Shay Mitchell – Emily Fields
  • Nia Peeples – Pam Fields
  • Sasha Pieterse – Alison DiLaurentis
  • Tyler Blackburn – Caleb Rivers
  • Janel Parrish – Mona Vanderwaal
  • Andrea Parker – Jessica DiLaurentis and Mary Drake

Filming locations

The pilot for Pretty Little Liars was filmed in Vancouver in 2009, but the rest of the series was shot in Los Angeles – as is the norm for many TV series and films. It was mostly filmed in the city of Burbank – near Los Angeles – at the Warner Bros studio and backlot. Happily, the series was picked at random in a lottery to receive a California film and TV tax credit in 2012.

Production

To begin with, Pretty Little Liars was described as Desperate Housewives for teens. The series was initially planned for airing on The WB, but the network was shut down and relaunched as The CW. In 2006, the first novel came out with HarperTeen, and 2008 saw the news that the television pilot was being produced for ABC Family.

Episodes and reception

Pretty Little Liars first came out in 2010, and became the highest rated series debut on ABC Family for the demographics the network was targeting. Those aged between 12 and 34 were the main metric, and it quickly became the most popular show for women in both the age brackets of 18-34 and 18-49. Unlike many series once the second season comes out, 100% of the premiere audience remained, and the Summer Finale managed to bring in just over 3 million viewers.

ABC Family engaged in heavy promotion for the show, which resulted in it being referred to as one of the most spectacular new shows of 2010. There were even fan kits for people to host a Pretty Little Premiere Party. There was also an interactive Secret Keeper Game which was released on iPhones provided by the channel. That said, the series first came out with mixed reviews in response to it from critics. In fact, Metacritic only gave it 52 out of 100. Notably, most of the Facebook ‘likes’ for the show are from women – 94%, in fact, according to reports.

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