I. Marlene King
Crime thriller Mystery Teen drama
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Troian Bellisario Ashley Benson Holly Marie Combs Lucy Hale Ian Harding Bianca Lawson Laura Leighton Chad Lowe Shay Mitchell Sasha Pieterse Tyler Blackburn Janel Parrish Andrea Parker
"Secret" by The Pierces
Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse
Pretty Little Liars is an American teen drama, mystery–thriller television series loosely based on the popular book series of the same title, written by Sara Shepard. The show premiered on June 8, 2010 on ABC Family. After an initial order of 10 episodes, ABC Family ordered an additional 12 episodes for season one on June 28, 2010. These episodes began airing on January 3, 2011 and ended on March 21, 2011. The ratings success of the first 10 episodes prompted the book series to be extended beyond the initial eight novels.
- Cast and characters
- Secondary locations
- Critical reception
On March 26, 2013, ABC Family announced that a spin-off, Ravenswood, would air in October 2013. The spin-off show aired 10 episodes before being canceled. On June 10, 2014, Pretty Little Liars was renewed for its sixth and seventh seasons. In August 2016, it was confirmed that the series will be ending with Season 7 in 2017.
Filming for the season and the series officially wrapped on October 26, 2016.
Set in the small suburban town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania (not too far from Philadelphia), the series follows the lives of four girls: Spencer Hastings, Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin and Emily Fields, whose clique falls apart after the alleged murder of their leader, Alison DiLaurentis. One year later, the estranged friends are reunited as they begin receiving messages from a mysterious villain named "A" who threatens and tortures them for the mistakes they have made before and after Alison was alive. At first, they think it is Alison herself, but after her "body" is found, the girls realize that someone else is planning on ruining their lives. Following the fifth season of the series, the girls are trying to balance as Alison is back in their lives once again.
Originally developed as a television series by book packaging company Alloy Entertainment, the idea was described as "Desperate Housewives for teens." Alloy met with author Shepard, and gave her the property to develop into a book series. With Alloy and Warner Horizon Television interested in producing Pretty Little Liars as a television series for years, it was first planned for The WB in 2005 with a different writer until the network shut down in early 2006 and reestablished as The CW later that year. The first novel was published by HarperTeen in October 2006. In June 2008, Alloy noted that it was developing a Pretty Little Liars television pilot for ABC Family, with the novels adapted for television. After the pilot was shot in Vancouver, filming for the rest of the series has since moved to Los Angeles. The series is primarily filmed at the Warner Bros. studio and backlot in the city of Burbank (near Los Angeles). In June 2012, the series was selected by lottery for a California film and TV tax credit.
ABC Family began casting for a Pretty Little Liars television pilot in October 2009. Lucy Hale was cast as Aria Montgomery in the project, followed by Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings and Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz in November 2009. In December 2009, The Futon Critic confirmed the casting of Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin and Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields, as well as the addition of Laura Leighton as Ashley Marin, Nia Peeples as Pam Fields, Roark Critchlow as Tom Marin, and Bianca Lawson as Maya. Mitchell had initially auditioned for the role of Spencer and then tried for Emily. The Hollywood Reporter also noted that Torrey DeVitto and Sasha Pieterse landed recurring roles in the pilot. The Alloy website later confirmed that Pieterse would be playing Alison DiLaurentis and DeVitto would be Melissa Hastings, also mentioning the casting of Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwaal. On January 27, 2010, ABC Family picked up the series for 10 episodes, set to premiere in June 2010. In April 2010, the role of Aria's father Byron was recast with Chad Lowe, and Holly Marie Combs was cast as Aria's mother Ella. Jenna Marshall is played by Tammin Sursok.
On January 7, 2011, Tilky Jones was cast as Logan Reed. On April 8, 2011, Annabeth Gish was cast for the role of Anne Sullivan, a therapist who tries to find out the characters' secrets. On May 23, 2011, Andrea Parker signed up to appear as Jessica DiLaurentis, Alison's mother. On June 29, 2011, it was announced that Natalie Hall would be replacing Natalie Floyd as Hanna's soon-to-be stepsister, Kate. On January 30, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Tyler Blackburn had been promoted to series regular for the third season. In March 2012, Janel Parrish was also promoted from recurring to series regular for the third season. On March 16, 2016, TVLine reported that Andrea Parker was added as a series regular for the seventh season.
Pretty Little Liars was called one of the most spectacular new shows of summer 2010 thanks to heavy promotion by ABC Family, including "spicy promos and hot posters". ABC Family encouraged fans to host a "Pretty Little Premiere Party" for the show by sending the first respondents a fan kit, and selected applicants to become part of an interactive "Secret Keeper Game" played with iPhones provided by the network. The show's official Facebook and Twitter accounts also promoted special fan features, including a "Pretty Little Lie Detector". Los Angeles department store Kitson showcased the show in their shop window.
A tie-in edition featuring the Season 1 poster and logo of the 2006 first novel in the Pretty Little Liars series was released on the date of the show's premiere, as was the final book of the original book series, "Wanted". "Wanted" later decidedly became the eighth book of the series, as Shepard later confirmed she would extend the series. A TV tie in of the second book "Flawless" featuring an altered Season 3 poster was released on December 28, 2010.
The theme song for Pretty Little Liars is "Secret" by The Pierces, which was suggested by one of the show's stars, Ashley Benson. The pilot episode featured music from artists such as The Fray, Ben's Brother, MoZella, Orelia, and Colbie Caillat. The show has also featured music from Passion Pit, Lady Gaga, Pink, Florence and the Machine, Lykke Li, Selena Gomez & the Scene, McFly and Rachel Platten. Music from Katie Herzig can be heard multiple times throughout the show. A few songs being "Hey Na Na" and "Where the Road Meets the Sun". Madi Diaz has been heard on the show with her song "Heavy Heart", as well as Joy Williams with "Charmed Life" and Foreign Slippers with "What Are You Waiting For?". The last episode of season one featured a song by Alexz Johnson that she originally recorded for the soundtrack of the Canadian hit TV show Instant Star. On June 14, 2011, "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri was featured in the first episode of the second season. The song "Follow Suit" by Trent Dabbs has also been featured on the show. In the episode "The Perfect Storm", Lucy Hale sings a cover of the song "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" by British band Fairport Convention. The official soundtrack was released on February 15, 2011.
Cast and characters
Rosewood is a fictional town in the United States state of Pennsylvania. It is the principal setting of the series and the books. The Liars live in this town along with most of the other characters. It contains many principal locations: the police station, the Rosewood High School, the church, the Rosewood Shopping Center, Hollis College, the Rosewood Community Hospital, the Rosewood movie theater, the mausoleum, the dental office, the Ophthalmology Cabinet, and the Rosewood Court.
Virtually all these locations are actually exteriors on the backlot of the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank. Interior scenes are filmed separately on nearby soundstages. For example, different sides of the same building on the backlot are used for the entrances of the Rosewood police station and high school.
Pretty Little Liars premiered on June 8, 2010 in the United States, becoming ABC Family's highest-rated series debut on record across the network's target demographics. It ranked number one in key 12–34 demos and teens, becoming the number-one scripted show in Women 18–34, and Women 18–49. The premiere was number two in the hour for total viewers, which generated 2.47 million unique viewers, and was ABC Family's best delivery in the time slot since the premiere of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
The second episode retained 100% of its premiere audience with 2.48 million viewers, despite the usual downward trend following a premiere of a show, and built on its premiere audience. It was the dominant number one of its time slot in Adults 18–49, and the number one show in female teens. Subsequent episodes fluctuated between 2.09 and 2.74 million viewers. The August 10, 2010 "Summer Finale" episode drew an impressive 3.07 million viewers.
On June 28, 2010, ABC Family ordered 12 more episodes of the show, bringing its total first-season order to 22. On January 10, 2011, ABC Family picked the show up for a second season that premiered on June 14, 2011. During the summer of 2011, Pretty Little Liars was basic cable's top scripted series in women aged 18–34 and viewers 12–34. The second half of season 2 aired on Mondays at 8/7c, beginning on January 2, 2012.
On November 29, 2011, ABC Family renewed the show for a third season, which consisted of 24 episodes. On October 4, 2012, ABC Family announced that the show was renewed for a fourth season, again comprising 24 episodes. The second half of the third season began airing on January 8, 2013 and finished March 19, 2013. Pretty Little Liars returned for Season 4 on June 11, 2013. On March 25, 2013, it was again announced that Pretty Little Liars had been renewed for a fifth season scheduled for a 2014 air date and a new spin off show entitled Ravenswood would begin airing after the season four annual Halloween special in October 2013. The second half of season four premiered on January 7, 2014. It was announced on June 10, 2014 that Pretty Little Liars was renewed for two seasons, making the show ABC Family's longest running original hit series. On August 29, 2016, I.Marlene King announced that Pretty Little Liars would be ending after the seventh season had aired. The second half of the seventh season will begin airing later than previous season, in April instead of January.
Pretty Little Liars opened with mixed reviews. Metacritic gave the pilot episode 52 out of 100, based upon 14 critical reviews. The New York Daily News gave the show a positive review, commenting that it "makes most popular vampire romances look anemic", while concluding, "Pretty Little Liars could go in several directions, including mundane teen clichés. It's got an equally good shot at making us care about these imperfect pretty girls." A writer on Terror Hook has stated that " 'Pretty Little Liars' gets off to a very promising start. Great production all around, the writing keeps the viewer on their toes, and the acting just reinforces it. The overall mystery of the show in the end is dark and unpredictable, even stepping into the slasher film realm." The New York Post gave the show three out of five stars, stating, "OK, so we've established that there is no socially redeeming value in this series and that your kids shouldn't watch it if they are too young and impressionable. But if you can distract them enough to miss the first 15 minutes, the show isn't half-bad. Actually, it is half-good, if that makes sense." The Los Angeles Times wrote that the series is "one of those shows that manages to mildly, and perhaps unintentionally, spoof its genre while fully participating in it, and that's not a bad thing at all."
Entertainment Weekly had a less favorable review, giving the show a letter grade of "D−", saying, "Imagine the pitch for Liars: It's I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Gossip Girl, but like not so subtle." It went on to say that the plot "hits every racy teen entertainment mark so hard (everyone's hair is so full—of secrets!) that it feels like the only thing missing is a visit from the ghosts of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze, Jr." The Hollywood Reporter compared the show to those on The CW and noted, "Sure, there's a lot here that sustains more eye-rolling than interested stares, but a little patience might be warranted."
Since the series premiere, Pretty Little Liars has remained popular. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that the show's "popularity is tilted toward women more than any other show in the data — over 94 percent of 'likes' come from women".
The series earned its highest rated episode with 4.20 million total viewers, ranking among ABC Family's top 5 telecasts in adult viewers 18–34, total viewers and women viewers. The highest rated episodes include season one's finale, with 3.64 million, and season two's premiere and finale episodes, each yielding nearly 3.7 million viewers. The show stands as the most watched series on ABC Family, maintaining a steady viewership of over 2.5 million and currently standing as the only show to yield an average of over 2 million viewers.