Pretty Little Liars is an interesting mix of teen drama, mystery and even horror

Television soaps, especially the American ones, often fulfil the need for vicarious experience of a fancy life for the average college-going Indian.

Much like how schoolchildren read Enid Blyton stories and drooled over the names of British dishes, teenagers probably look for things to aspire towards in American teen dramas.

The latest trend in television soaps isn’t your average boy-meets-girl-falls-in-love theme. Yes, it is romantic and classic, but of late, there has been an interesting mix of high school teen-drama with elements of suspense, thrill, mystery and at times even horror, to give the audience that complete experience.

Horrors!

Among the A-listers in this category is Pretty Little Liars, an American series currently in its third successful season.

Pretty Little Liars is loosely based on the popular series of novels written by Sara Shepard about four young girls, Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) whose little clique collapses after the mysterious disappearance of their “queen-bee” Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse).

Once Alison’s body has been found, the girls reunite at her funeral only to discover that their predicament gets worse. They begin to receive messages from a mysterious source, ‘A’ who knows their deepest, darkest secrets some of which only Alison knew.

‘A’ seems to be hell-bent on ruining the girls’ lives and plotting one against the other.

Numerous attempts by the girls to catch ‘A’ red-handed fail time and again but the young friends do not lose hope and are determined to uncover the truth behind Alison’s murder.

Typical girls

All of this sounds like something we read in Nancy Drew books as teenagers and that is perhaps, what the makers of the show have attempted to capture, for a generation who might just not be that into books, even the chick-lit kind.

The girls in the show embody characteristic traits that aren’t new to our teens.

Alison is beautiful and charming yet manipulative and controlling at the same time. Spencer is a perfectionist and an intellectual. Hannah, the ‘It girl’ struggles to cope with bulimia. Aria is the ‘artsy girl’ while Emily is the sports lover.

Emily’s character is bisexual and learns to admit who she is to the world fearlessly, garnering for the show an award by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association in the category of ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ in 2011.

Connecting dots

The show has also won numerous Teen Choice awards and People’s Choice awards as well.

The latest season has added new twists to the storyline and characters. The girls seem to be more mature and almost one step closer to finding ‘A’. There is also a deeper, darker, mysterious tone that has been developed into the series.

Slowly but surely the audience is learning to connect the dots and find out for themselves who ‘A’ really is.

It will be interesting to see how this story comes together. Until then, you may happen to overhear conversations in canteens or bus-stops about who ‘A’ is, by young girls looking for mysteries in their own college canteens and locker rooms, of course.

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