Movable Type 3.2
January 04, 2011
Pretty Little Liars 1.11: "Moments Later"
"Got a secret; can you keep it?" Pretty Little Liars is back! This was originally a summer show, and a lot of us tuned in to get our fix of teen drama while shows like The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl were on hiatus. I'm curious to see how it holds up when it's on right along with those shows. It's certainly not as good as either of those, but it makes for a fun 42 minutes of TV. My main question continues to be how long they can possibly drag out the central mystery, and what they'll do after they solve that. There's certainly enough else going on that I think they could keep a show going without the question of A, but I worry they'll be afraid to do that.
Overall, I thought this winter premiere was a solid return for the show, and it did its duty: it got me eager to see the rest of the season. The girls' hair continues to be shiny, the guys continue to be hot, and the music - helmed by the incredible Chris Mollere - continues to be good. For some more spoilery thoughts about this episode, click through to read the full post.
Hanna's "accident:" Hanna's mom has never been the best parent, but it seems so obvious that Hanna is hiding something that I had trouble buying that she didn't pick up on it. Also, wouldn't you think Hanna's dad would come visit? Hm. Other than that, I thought Hanna's fear in the hospital was well done, and her scene with Lucas was pretty adorable. He's so obviously better than Sean, but it makes sense that Hanna, with her focus on popularity and image, wouldn't really be able to see that.
Aria: Against my better judgment, after this episode I'm completely rooting for Aria and Ezra. I think it does really make a difference, to me at least, that when they met they didn't know about their imminent teacher/student relationship. It's hard to see where they can go from here, though. Is Aria a senior? I can't remember. If she is, I guess they can get through this year and then openly become a couple when she's in college. But, of course, this is a TV show, so the reasonable, undramatic thing won't happen. Also, where was Aria's father? For once, I did not spend the episode looking at Chad Lowe and thinking "Man, you look like your brother."
Emily: I'm enjoying the character of her father, and I like how the coming out storyline is being handled so far. And I was glad Maya wasn't really around, because she's annoying, and Bianca Lawson has been playing the same age now for at least eleven years and it's starting to bug me. I also liked Emily's obviously mixed feelings about Toby, and I'm curious to see where they take that.
Spencer: Oh, poor Spencer. And seriously, Ian, marrying Melissa because you have inappropriate feelings toward her sister does not seem like a good idea. Sigh.
A: Oh, I don't know. I think I need to read some recaps and refresh my memory about exactly what went on at the end of the summer season. But I thought it was ridiculous that just seeing Noel writing on a car made the girls immediately think he was A. The message wasn't signed or anything. So I think Noel is obviously a red herring, but I don't have a theory at the moment as to what's actually going on. Well, actually, my theory is that it's some minor character who's always around but presented in such a way that we don't really see/think about him/her. But I don't know who that person is.
August 13, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.10: "Keep Your Friends Close"
Overall: The big reveal at the end was pretty anticlimactic; I think at this point I'm almost more interested in the various subplots than in Alison's killer. Clearly we're supposed to think Ian is the killer. (Right? That's who that was in the video at the end? I almost couldn't tell.) Is he also A? That seems . . . unlikely. And not that great of a payoff, since he's so minor a character. I suppose I had problems with individual elements, but overall, the show was definitely interesting enough to make me want to tune in when it comes back in January.
Hanna: Mona's birthday, blah blah. Hanna being torn between Mona and the girls is nice but resolved way too quickly. Her mother's stealing money? Really? Sigh. Her big binoculars were kind of hilarious, but it was less hilarious that she got hit by a car. I'm assuming she survives, though, as she's a main character and all. But we'll see!
Spencer: Aww, trying to do the right thing with Melissa. I love Spencer and her neurotic ways. Aria's "You're a freak and I love you" line to her was classic.
Aria: I am still SO TORN about this Ezra thing. Which I suppose means that the show is doing its job correctly. I guess I still want her with Ezra, despite my better judgment.
Emily: Yay, her dad is actually back! I was afraid something was going to happen. But he seemed kind of creepy, no? Maybe I am overreacting. The thing with Toby in the car was JUST LIKE the Veronica Mars season one finale, and I STILL look in my back seat every time I get in the car because of that. Eeeeek.
August 11, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.9: "The Perfect Storm"
And the penultimate episode . . . very dark and stormy!
The Alison/A mystery: Yay for Spencer's mom pointing out how crazy the cops are being! That was awesome. Lucas's shoes at the end are clearly supposed to imply that he is involved. Hmm.
Spencer: Her mother is rather odd-looking. I never noticed before. But yay, Alex is back! And the deep dark secret between him and Spencer's mom turns out to be something that just shows what a decent guy Alex is. And aww, her mom likes him. They are SO CUTE together.
Emily: Was she burying something? What? Or was she actually the one vandalizing the memorial? That doesn't seem like something she'd do. The flashbacks to her interactions with Ali were cute, and yay, Maya wasn't in this one!
Hanna: Are they doing something with her mom and Aria's dad? Interesting. This character has changed SO much. Perhaps too much to be believable. But I do like her as friends with Lucas, for whatever reason. Even if he might be A. Or something.
Aria: She sings! She was cute with Noel, but then Fitz appeared in the doorway all wet like Mr. Darcy, and I swooned. But I was also happy when she agreed to go out with Noel at the end. I am fickle. Fitz's scene with Aria's mom was awkwardly adorable.
Pretty Little Liars 1.8: "Please, Do Talk About Me When I'm Gone"
Okay, I'm writing this Tuesday night as I try to catch up in time for the finale, so let's get going.
Ali: Wow, I really don't like her. But I guess I do get the popular mean girl appeal. I can't say I'm particularly sad that she's dead, though. I was immediately suspicious of her brother. We'll see. The memorial service was awfully anti-climactic, after all that. And even all the little speeches still didn't convince me that Alison wasn't an awful person.
The A mystery: Did A even make an appearance until the very end? (Maybe?)
Hanna: Lucas is so adorable, and Sean is really awful. They should be a little more complicated for the triangle to make any sense. The money plot made sense, but was clearly just an excuse for her to spend time with Lucas. Also, in the pizza scene, her house looked completely different than it ever had before.
Emily: Did we even KNOW that her dad was in Afghanistan? Weird. Anyway, the stuff with Maya is fine, but I'm getting a little bored of it. Please progress, storyline!
Spencer: Her own storyline has been pushed into the background with all the memorial-planning stuff. I'd like to see more of her family issues, and/or Alex. Her interactions with Jason were interesting, though, so maybe that could go somewhere. There was an oblique reference to Ali being afraid of her, which may or may not be related to something in the books. (Trying not to spoil here.)
Aria: Oh, poor thing. And I wish the show would actually give her something interesting to do so I could stop saying "Oh poor thing" about her every week. I also miss Ezra. Bring back the pretty English teacher! Noel seemed okay in general, though. Most of the guys on this show are pretty decent people.
August 10, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.7: "The Homecoming Hangover"
This week, we learned that everyone lies, courtesy of one of Rosewood's weirdly high number of cops. The storylines are becoming more intertwined, so it's getting harder to break things down girl by girl, but I'll try...
The A mystery: It was obviously too easy for it to be Toby, but it was interesting to watch as the girls focused on other things while that primary mystery faded a bit for an episode. I'm starting to really look forward to seeing where the show will go after the A issue is finally resolved.
Emily: I wasn't surprised that she made it, as I figured they wouldn't kill off one of the main characters. Her reactions in this episode all seemed fairly realistic, but I thought her mother's response was way overblown - unless her mother also has something to hide, which, on this show, is a definite possibility.
Hanna: She's become a much better friend and all-around nicer person over these past few episodes. I was really impressed by the way she was relating to both Emily and Lucas in this one. The old Hanna never would have given Lucas the time of day.
Aria: First - I like Sean better with Aria than with Hanna, I think. And poor Aria, with Ezra vanishing like that, in the middle of the stuff with her parents. But she was a little meaner than necessary to Sean, I thought.
Spencer: She didn't wash her hands before she started touching the fruit!! Um, anyway. She and Alex are adorable together, and I hope those crazy kids make a go of it. And I'm glad someone finally mentioned being annoyed that she got out of the essay thing so easily!
August 09, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.6: "There's No Place Like Homecoming"
Ooh, a dance! Yay! My excitement about school dance episodes on TV shows is entirely out of proportion to my feelings toward actual dances when I was in school, if you were wondering. More after the jump . . .
The A mystery: IN the fortune cookies? That seems much more logistically difficult than practically anything else that's happened.
Hanna: Oh, Mona! I'd practically forgotten about her. She clearly wants to be Blair Waldorf. Anyway, I like that Hanna is starting to get nicer, because it makes her character much more sympathetic.
Aria: She didn't have much to do in this one. The situation with Ezra is still tough, but at least they're both more or less acting like grown-ups now. And it was nice to see her having fun with people her own age.
Emily: I still want her to have more of a personality, but the actress is doing a good job of showing how conflicted the character is about her sexuality. I think they made Toby almost too sympathetic here, because I had a hard time buying it when he got all creepy. And I don't believe that Emily is dead, if only because I'm pretty sure the actress is still on the show.
Spencer: I liked watching her be the control freak having to run things. And I like Alex and his floofy hair, so I hope she manages to repair things with him. Melissa is pretty much pure evil at this point, which makes her a boring character. And why wasn't there more fallout with Spencer's parents about the essay?
Pretty Little Liars 1.5: "Reality Bites Me"
Okay, the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars is tomorrow, so let's see if I can do two episodes a day and catch up . . .
The A mystery: The video of the four of them together implied that it couldn't be any of them, unless the camera was somehow set up in the closet like a surveillance camera. I still don't think Jenna could do all this stuff, but she was being randomly mysterious again/still, and I suppose Jenna and Toby could be doing it together.
Aria: Poor thing, blaming herself for her parents' situation. I like the way that's playing out so far, and her interactions with her brother. Ezra is adorable, but a short story reading? Really? Who does that? Aria's being a little obvious in public, and she's way too oblivious to the legal issues about her age. It doesn't matter if you're mature, Aria. That's not the point. I like that Ezra's friend saw right through them. I felt bad for Aria about the phone/text issue, but Ezra was reasonable not to believe her that she didn't tell.
Hanna: Sean is being ridiculously nice. She's afraid of children? She has to wear scrubs to hand out lollipops? Whatever. There was way too much random lurking around the medical building.
Spencer: I'm really shocked that she told her father about the essay. Her reaction to the whole tennis "cheating" thing seemed way out of proportion. It's not like it was a tournament or something. Now that she's confessed about the essay, I hope we can move on from that storyline, because it's getting boring. Alex the tennis guy is cute, so I hope he sticks around.
Emily: I like the development of her relationship with Toby, even if it did seem like they were in science lab for about three days straight. No Maya in this episode, huh?
July 21, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.4: "Can You Hear Me Now?"
This show is still not as good as I'd wanted it to be, but I'm still watching, so . . . I don't know. In a way, that just makes it frustrating, but I guess I'm willing to stick with it for now. I need to just accept the fact that it isn't Gossip Girl, really. And is it just me or does this have the most earwormy theme music ever? "Got a secret, can you keep it . . ." Aaagh! Anyway, episode-specific thoughts after the jump.
First, two general thoughts:
Aria: Continues to be my favorite. Why do I like her and Fitz together so much? Why? WHY?? It's so wrong! Ah, well. I really liked that Fitz had the typewriter but didn't actually use it. Writing on a typewriter would have been too Frank from You've Got Mail, you know? Yeah. No one likes that guy. I really hope her mom doesn't end up blaming her for not telling her about her dad's affair - totally unfair.
Spencer: I still like her, but the plagiarism plot just bugs me. It's so out of character. I mean, I guess that's the point, but still. The video camera thing in her scene with Wren was really creepy! I liked Wren less in this episode than I did before, but Spencer's reactions to him still seem believable.
Hanna: I feel bad for her, but I still don't really like her. Sigh.
Emily: Still all sweet and perfect and awkward. Whatever. The thing that bothered me about her storyline this episode was the scarf. Why did everyone immediately notice it? Does no one ever wear scarves in this school? Why did so many people know it was new? Who pays that much attention to their classmates' clothes? I think we were supposed to feel like Emily thought everyone was paying attention to her and suspecting that something was going on with Maya, but this effect was ruined by having everyone inexplicably actually pay attention.
July 12, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.3: "To Kill a Mocking Girl"
I have to say, I'm still somewhat less into this than I'd hoped I'd be. But I'm enough into it - or at least parts of it - to keep watching. And man, everyone's hair is really pretty. Anyway! Episode 3 thoughts after the jump.
I'm finding myself rather bored by Hanna and Emily. Hanna's situation with the cop is creepy, sure, and the thing with Sean seems like it could go somewhere interesting but hasn't, yet. And really, I kind of like Sean. But Hanna herself is . . . meh. We need to actually see more of the insecurities and Daddy issues that are driving her, instead of continuing to talk around them. Emily continues being just too perfect, and I really don't like
I find Spencer rather more interesting; her issues mostly stem from the pressure her parents put on her and her lifelong rivalry with her sister, but she isn't blameless. She bears some responsibility for her problems, and seems to realize that, which makes her more sympathetic, in a way, than a plain old victim would be. But kissing Wren and stealing the paper were both undeniably wrong. (Incidentally, she didn't even read her sister's paper before she turned it in? Really? I don't believe that.) I sort of feel like her parents are overreacting to the Wren thing, but maybe not. I can't really decide how I think they should have reacted.
And Aria. Oh, Aria. My favorite. I still kind of love her with Ezra, even though I know I should think it's wrong. I'm not sure whether she realizes how closely her situation mirrors her father's. I mean, sure, so far as Aria knows, at least, Ezra doesn't have a girlfriend or wife and family or anything, so in that sense, Aria is perfectly reasonable to carry on her relationship while objecting to her father's relationship with Meredith. But they're still both teacher/student things. In any case, I find myself rooting for her and Ezra to somehow make it work, although I can't imagine how the show could really make that believable, anyway.
There were many fewer messages from A this episode, which was fine, I guess, although I think the messages work well as a framing device. I do still want to know what happened to Alison, and who's behind the messages, but I hope it doesn't get dragged out too long. If the show can resolve that mystery and move on to other things, I think it has a chance of thriving. Otherwise, it's Gossip Girl meets How I Met Your Mother, but without the better parts of either, and it will get old very quickly.
July 03, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.2: "The Jenna Thing"
See, catching up! I told you I would! Read on for my spoilerful thoughts on the second episode of Pretty Little Liars.
June 09, 2010
Pretty Little Liars 1.1: "Pilot"
The short version: I watched it. It wasn't very good. But I'll keep watching for a few weeks to give it a chance.
The slightly longer version: I wasn't particularly wild about the book, but I was hoping the show would be better. It wasn't. It was worse, and worse specifically in ways it diverged from the book. This is supposed to be soapy, but the characters on the show seemed much more wholesome than the book characters. There was no label-dropping and no sense of place. The characters were even more one-dimensional, but I'll give them a few episodes to see if they improve upon that. Much less time elapsed between Ali's disappearance and the beginning of the show than the corresponding events in the book, which makes sense because it would be much harder to film the flashback scenes if they had to make the characters look that much younger. But it also means that the characters had less time to change, and to grow apart, than they did in the book, and it made the whole thing less dramatic.
But the young actresses all did good jobs, and I am somewhat curious to see how everything turns out. So I'll keep watching for the moment. This show is really, really lucky that it's on during the summer: if I weren't in withdrawal from my favorite TV teens - those on Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries - I wouldn't bother with this.