‘Pretty Little Liars’ Ships That Have Sailed

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: Freeform)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: Freeform)

The new season (or half-season; who can keep track?) of Pretty Little Liars premiered recently, and while watching the first episode I couldn’t help but notice how egregiously the story catered to fan-favorite ships, almost to the point of silliness. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to see spoilers for the summer premiere episode, or if you are staunchly #TeamEzria.

So let’s start with the most blatant example: Hanna and Caleb. As of the summer premiere episode, Caleb is in a relationship with Spencer. There have not been any established issues with that relationship. Sure, there were some flashbacks in the preceding handful of episodes indicating that perhaps Hanna and Caleb’s relationship may have ended prematurely and moments showing they still have feelings for each other. I’ll buy that. It’s what comes next that is problematic.

In the summer premiere, Hanna is being held hostage and AD is threatening to kill her if the Liars don’t turn in Charlotte’s true murderer. Caleb immediately acquires the most one-track mind I have ever encountered and begins obsessing over saving Hanna. Which, okay, Hanna is great and I’m not going to sweat anyone who wants to save her. If Hanna got killed off this show, poor Spencer would be the only Liar with more than half a brain left.

But instead of finding a remotely subtle or intelligent way to show Caleb drifting away from Spencer and back to Hanna (because that would require planning), the writers basically turn Caleb into a huge jerk, which is quite uncharacteristic. Just for this one episode, he suddenly cannot be bothered to even try to act civil to Spencer. I legitimately cracked up when he straight hung up on Spencer when she peacefully called to offer to bring him some food. He might as well have said, “You’re annoying because you’re not Hanna; you matter 0% to me.”

Caleb is basically the only decent human male on Pretty Little Liars, so I took some offense to him suddenly being turned into a massive jerk. And what’s particularly terrifying is that he was turned into a massive jerk because people who ship Haleb are expected to find his behavior romantic. We’re not supposed to care how awful he’s being because he’s doing it as part of his quest to save Hanna. Sigh, how romantic. Not. I’m all for reuniting Caleb and Hanna, but can we at least try to make it a thoughtful story arc and not just lazy fan service?

Next up we have Aria, who I believe  is still technically in a relationship with the elusive Liam despite having cheated on him with Ezra and apparently not feeling all that worried about it? Fact check me here; because all the Ezria drama has started to blend together in my brain. In the summer premiere, Aria and Ezra briefly mention how they need to talk about their situation, but then Aria’s like, “whatever, I just NEED YOU TONIGHT” or some garbage.

Regardless of whether I’m remembering correctly about Aria and Liam still being together, we can agree that Ezra is a manipulative liar, right? Yes, I am right. Even if you ignore the fact that he was using Aria to write his true crime book to the point of putting her in major danger (and really, how do you ignore that?), he continues to emotionally manipulate her even though they are no longer officially “together.” It’s creepy and gross and I simply can’t understand how anyone could want any of the Liars, even one as pointless as Aria, to end up with a dude as emotionally abusive as Ezra. But somehow #Ezria persists and fans are completely obsessed and committed to this relationship.(This probably says something depressing about patriarchy but that’s a story for another day.)

So we’ve got Haleb and Ezria covered, what about good ol’ Spoby? Well, we got a taste of that in the premiere too. While Caleb is busy chasing Hanna, Spencer and Toby pair up to do some field research. It’s not like they share a ton of meaningful looks or anything, but they are portrayed essentially as they were back in happier times – helping each other out, impressing each other, generally being  a fantastic team, and getting along splendidly. Of all the ship fan service in this episode, the Spoby situation bothered me the least. There was no actual cheating (or suggestion of it) and no major character shifts, just some genuinely nice scenes with a couple of characters who clearly relate well to each other.

Which leads us to Emily. Emily is supposed to be the bleeding heart of the group, and she’s on a quest to gently convince Ali, who’s locked up in the looney bin, to admit to killing Charlotte. She kind of succeeds at this task (although I don’t know what kind of moron takes Ali’s deranged, clearly non-lucid proclamation of “Please forgive me” or whatever vague thing she said as an admission of murder, but whatever). But in the meantime, Emily’s having flashbacks of a pretty intense makeout sesh with Ali.

Of all the ships on PLL, the Emison situation is the one that makes the least sense to me. Ezria is awful, but at least there’s history there. The Emily & Ali relationship basically came out of nowhere. There was no established chemistry or connection between them. The writers tried to make it feel like there was but nope, sorry. Revisionist history, kids. So I admittedly am not on board the Emison ship, causing me to probably find the makeout flashback more annoying and gratuitous than I might otherwise. Regardless, it didn’t need to be in the episode for the story to make sense, and it just felt like fan service to hardcore Emison shippers. A lifeline to the dedicated followers of a pointless, sinking ship that was created only for plot drama without any true authenticity.

Needless to say, I was not terribly pleased with the summer premiere’s commitment to fan-favorite ships above good storytelling. And that’s the key – it’s one thing to build up these ships if it’s done well. If we could see true character development in a character like Ezra, for example, I might start to get on board. If the Haleb situation was more nuanced, and played out over a few episodes instead of abruptly in one, maybe I would believe it more. At best, it’s lazy writing. At worst, it’s writers intentionally dumbing things down for their audience – a problematic choice when your core demographic is teenage girls and young women.

No matter how much I whine about it, though, I’m still watching Pretty Little Liars. I don’t know if it’s out of a false sense of optimism that things will get better, or if it’s loyalty to a time when the story in the show was still strong, but I can assure you it’s not because I want to see happy endings for Ezria, Spoby or Emison.

Although I might crack a smile for Haleb.

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Our 5 Most Anticipated Winter TV Premieres

(Image Credit: HBO)

(Image Credit: HBO)

The holidays are over and all the good parts about winter – time off school or work and a justification for eating cookies & drinking gingerbread lattes every day – are sadly behind you. All that stretches ahead are a few long months of winter, which could be pretty depressing if you’re not into cold days and short hours of sunlight. Fortunately, there is some consolation: this winter is a great time for TV! You may not feel like getting out much, but you don’t have to with so much TV to watch! Check out our top 5 picks for TV shows debuting new seasons this winter:

(Image Credit: The CW)

(Image Credit: The CW)

The 100 (1/21 @ 9pm EST on The CW)

This is not the first time we’ve waxed poetic about the virtues of The 100 here at TDQ. (Check out our Top 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching The 100.) If you haven’t seen the show before, binge seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix immediately so you can enjoy the season 3 premiere. Once you get through the first few episodes (which are admittedly a bit…teenager show-y) The 100 finds its footing and you will be HOOKED. The show is sort of a YA Battlestar Galactica, with layered characters grappling with difficult choices, and it’s never predictable. Don’t count it out just because it’s on The CW – it’s hardcore!

(Image Credit: TV Land)

(Image Credit: TV Land)

Younger (1/13 @ 10pm EST on TV Land)

This show is a bit off the radar since it airs on TV Land, but I recently caught the New Year’s marathon of season 1 and plowed through the entire season in a few days. Series creator Darren Star is known for Sex and the City, and there is definitely a similar vibe to this show, though it is certainly less scandalous. The show stars Sutton Foster as a 40-year-old trying to pass as a 26-year-old to get back in the workforce, and it’s both funny and poignant.

(Image Credit: ABC Family/Freeform)

(Image Credit: ABC Family/Freeform)

Pretty Little Liars (1/12 @ 8pm EST on ABC Family/Freeform)

I can’t, in good conscience, say that Pretty Little Liars is a good show, exactly…but it is an entertaining one. If nothing else it has ridiculous moments (like the dramatic chickpeas) to look forward to, and after years of investment in this story, I’m curious to see where the Liars are after the much talked about 5 year time jump. There’s basically a 100% chance I will never make sense of the plot of this show, but at this point the Liars feel like old friends – it’s still fun to visit with them every week, even if nothing makes sense!

(Image Credit: ABC)

(Image Credit: ABC)

Marvel’s Agent Carter (1/19 @ 9pm EST on ABC)

While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has barely held my attention over the past two seasons, last year’s Agent Carter miniseries was everything S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to be but can never seem to manage: A strong, resourceful female protagonist who is actually likable, a great mix of action, suspense, and humor, and a story simple enough to follow but complex enough to keep things interesting. The general lack of superhuman abilities and the retro setting also give Agent Carter a unique place in the Marvel universe. I look forward to another adventure with Peggy Carter this year!

(Image Credit: HBO)

(Image Credit: HBO)

Girls (2/21 @ 10pm EST on HBO)

Hannah Horvath the sort of character you either love or love to hate, but you have to admit she’s always interesting, particularly when you throw in her equally polarizing group of friends. Girls is entertaining because it simultaneously empathizes with and pokes fun at the millennial culture it portrays. You can watch it and relate to it, or you can watch it and feel good about the fact that you can’t relate to it. It’s hard to say what season 5 has in store for Hannah and her crew, but I know I will be disappointed if Adam’s lines aren’t immediately turned into Kylo Ren memes.

As a bonus, if you’re in the market to check out a new show this winter, give SyFy’s The Magicians a try. Debuting 1/25 at 10pm EST, it’s based on the popular fantasy book series by Lev Grossman, and it has the potential to be amazing!

The days my be short and cold, but I promise you’re in for comfy, entertaining evenings on the couch with these winter premieres!

Everything You Need To Know (And Want To Know) Following the ‘PLL’ Summer Finale

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

Holy. Crap.

In case you have not yet seen the Pretty Little Liars summer finale that aired last night on ABC Family, and don’t want spoilers then please, turn away now. Continue reading

Why ‘Pretty Little Liars’ fans just can’t stay away!

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABC Family)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABC Family)

Let’s cut right to the chase: we’ve had it with Pretty Little Liars. By we, of course I mean the fandom. Try as you might to think on the bright side, there is no denying it now. After five and a half seasons, we still aren’t any closer to finding the face of A and we are pretty darn tired of our hearts being drug through the mud. Sure, the producers have said we’ll get our Big A Reveal onMarch 24, but I’m not holding my breath because we’ve had our fair share of teases – need I remind you of Mona Vanderwaal (may she rest in peace), Ezra Fitz, Toby Cavanaugh… All cast a shadow on, all conveniently not A. This begs the question: will we ever know who A is?

Continue reading

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

‘Pretty Little Liars’ gets two-season renewal: yay or nay?

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABC Family)

When ABC Family announced that they would be renewing hit TV show Pretty Little Liars for two additional seasons – the network’s first ever multi-season pickup – I think it’s safe to say that we all screamed in delight. And anger. And happiness. And rage. Regardless of the emotional rollercoaster you may or may not have experienced upon the release of this shocking news, it’s important for us to weigh the pros and cons of Pretty Little Liars’ extended lifeline. Continue reading

Fashion with Character: Aria Montgomery of ‘Pretty Little Liars’

Aria Montgomery of 'Pretty Little Liars'

While fashion trends may not seem like a top priority for a school at the center of a missing persons investigation, for those attending Pretty Little Liars’ Rosewood High it seems to be of the utmost importance. This is especially true for the girls at the center of the investigation, the four Liars themselves and the supposedly deceased queen bee of the school, Alison Dilaurentis (spoiler alert: Alison’s alive!). Despite all of the drama and mystery surrounding these girls’ lives, they still manage to show up to school (usually on time) looking chic as ever – especially the teacher-crazy Aria Montgomery, played by actress-gone-country-singer Lucy Hale. Continue reading

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

Pretty Little Liars: Most Shocking Revelations of the New Season

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

Pretty Little Liars is back for Season 5 and already off to a deadly start (Spoiler Alert – Don not continue reading if you haven’t seen the Season 5 Premiere!). Continue reading

The Cast of RAVENSWOOD (Image Credit: ABC Family)

Why we’re sad to see ‘Ravenswood’ go…

The Cast of RAVENSWOOD (Image Credit: ABC Family)

The Cast of RAVENSWOOD (Image Credit: ABC Family)

When I first heard about ABC Family’s Ravenswood, I was a bit confused about what it was. Was it a spin-off of Pretty Little Liars? Or was it a completely separate show that stemmed from the same world as my beloved Liars, but had nothing to do with them?

As I started to hear more about the show, I became even more intrigued. The writers kept the details tightly under wraps, but when I saw the first posters of the cast I became excited. It turns out the show was going to be a spin-off of Pretty Little Liars, starring none other than Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn). Continue reading

Troian Bellisario arrives at the WIGS One Year Anniversary Party (Image Credit: Todd Williamson/Invision for FOX)

Celebrity (Girl) Crush: Troian Bellisario

Troian Bellisario arrives at the WIGS One Year Anniversary Party (Image Credit: Todd Williamson/Invision for FOX)

Troian Bellisario arrives at the WIGS One Year Anniversary Party (Image Credit: Todd Williamson/Invision for FOX)

Do you ever find yourself watching interviews with a celebrity and saying to yourself, “Man, if we met in real life, we’d definitely be best friends?” That’s pretty much exactly what I say about Troian Bellisario. Most know her as the beautiful and intelligent Spencer from Pretty Little Liars, but Troian has become my celebrity girl crush for so many other reasons than just her amazing acting skills. Continue reading

Pretty Little Liars Line at Aéropostale (Image Credit: Aéropostale/Warner Bros.)

Aéropostale introduces a ‘Pretty Little Liars’ inspired fashion line

Pretty Little Liars Line at Aéropostale (Image Credit: Aéropostale/Warner Bros.)

Pretty Little Liars Line at Aéropostale (Image Credit: Aéropostale/Warner Bros.)

Any fan of the hit ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars is bound to notice the different style personalities of each of the “liars,” and probably has a favorite fashion icon out of these four girls. Well, now fans finally have the opportunity to emulate the characters’ styles for themselves! This month, not only has the new season begun, but Aéropostale has launched a Pretty Little Liars fashion line. The company teamed up with Mandi Line, the show’s costume designer, to come up with four individualized looks representing Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer. Continue reading

Janel Parrish (Image Credit: Francis Bertrand)

An Interview with ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Star Janel Parrish

Janel Parrish (Image Credit: Francis Bertrand)

Janel Parrish (Image Credit: Francis Bertrand)

You may best recognize Janel Parrish from her role on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, but there’s a lot more to Parrish than just her flair for playing the devilishly entertaining Mona Vanderwaal. Parrish is also a budding singer-songwriter and pianist, who got her start at an early as a stage performer. She recently got to showcase her pipes and on stage presence in a production of Spring Awakening, and will be showcasing her musical talents with her acting chops again in the upcoming film The Concerto, which she stars in alongside The Twilght Saga’s Jackson Rathbone.

When I spoke with Parrish for this interview, we discussed everything from how musical theater was her first love to whether or not Mona can be trusted in Season 4. For all the details, read on for the full interview…
Continue reading

5 Fictional Towns I Wish I Could Visit

Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt in PARKS & RECREATION (Image Credit: NBC)

Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt in PARKS & RECREATION (Image Credit: NBC)

Some people love their hometowns. Others (myself included) have always dreamed of going somewhere else. But either way, we can all appreciate the fictional towns that somehow manage to be both cozy and happening, both small and large, both comfortable and exciting. Here are 5 fictional towns that I’d love to live in, or at least visit for a few days!

Stars Hollow, CT (Gilmore Girls)

I don’t think it’s possible to have a list of amazing fictional towns without putting Stars Hollow at the top.  It’s a perfectly imagined small town, filled with quirky residents who are always in each other’s business (but in a good way!). Stars Hollow supports a variety of unique small businesses, including Al’s Pancake World (which doesn’t sell pancakes), the Black, White and Read bookshop (which shows old black and white movies) and of course Luke’s Diner, the Gilmore Girls’ favorite place for coffee and burgers. The people are what really make Stars Hollow. From everyone’s favorite job-hopping weirdo Kirk to grumpy mechanic Gypsy, every character brings something interesting to the town and often the small scenes with the Stars Hollow townies are the funniest, most endearing parts of the show.

Stars Hollow in THE GILMORE GIRLS (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)

Stars Hollow in THE GILMORE GIRLS (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)

Rosewood, PA (Pretty Little Liars)

Okay, so Rosewood has some issues – a weirdly large amount of young adults are murdered there and the cops are totally worthless, but for Rosewood residents not somehow involved in the mysterious death of a teenage girl, it seems like a pretty darn nice place to live. Apparently it’s close to Philadelphia, so it’s easy to hit up some big city attractions while keeping things simple at home. Plus it seems to always be summer or fall in Rosewood, which is a definite bonus to living there. And everyone in that town is just so photogenic!

Stoneybrook, CT (The Baby-Sitters Club)

Avid BSC readers know that Stoneybrook has got it goin’ on. The town is big enough to have everything you need – Pizza Express and Donut Express for junk food, Bellair’s department store, and a Main Street movie theater…plus NYC is just an hour away, and Stamford is a few exits down the expressway. But Stoneybrook is also small enough to be pretty safe and cozy. I mean, it must be if parents are both letting their middle school girls baby-sit for strangers and, on the other side of the coin, letting random middle school girls baby-sit for their small children.

Rosewood in PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

Rosewood in PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABCFamily)

Pawnee, IN (Parks and Recreation)

Do you love miniature horses? Are you a fan of sweets, soda, and burgers? Do you like local music and harassing city officials? Then Pawnee is the place for you! Pawnee is home to some awesome corporations including Sweetums (so you’ll never have to look far for delicious candy) and Paunch Burger (which I assume is the Pawnee equivalent to Whataburger, since Whataburger definitely makes me feel paunchy).  On top of that, Pawnee has dedicated city council members like Leslie Knope who always try to do what’s best for the town, and they put together some pretty awesome events – including a memorial for a beloved local miniature horse, Lil’ Sebastian. I love any town that cares that much about a horse!

Colby, NC (Sarah Dessen novels)

All of Sarah Dessen’s novels take place within the same fictional universe, often featuring the beach town of Colby. Colby is a small town that is inundated with tourists over the summer, and it is a grand example of the type of town we all wish still existed but probably doesn’t. Colby doesn’t really have any chain stores, everything is a small local business – like the Last Chance Café, Clementine’s Boutique, and even the Gas/Gro convenience store. Despite being a small town where everyone pretty much knows each other, there’s still plenty to do and new people to meet over the summer. Colby is sort of like if Stars Hollow was on a beach, and everyone was about 70% less quirky – which is to say it is likely the slightly more relaxing alternative!

What have I learned from this list? I apparently need to visit the east coast sometime. I’ve only been east of the Mississippi river to visit Disney World, yet that’s where all of my favorite fictional towns are located. Still, it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll find anything quite like Stars Hollow or Pawnee!

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5 Television Characters Whose Closet I’d Like To Raid

Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin in PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABC Family)

Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin in PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (Image Credit: ABC Family)

We all have those moments while we’re watching one of our favorite TV shows and one of the characters appears in an amazing pair of shoes or an adorable top and you think how awesome it would be to have what they’re wearing. Maybe you even do a Google search to try to find out where you can buy it. Inevitably whatever it is costs way more money than any normal person would spend on an item of clothing (believe me, every time I search for Mindy Kaling’s loungewear from The Mindy Project I find that I’d have to spend at least $200 for a t-shirt or a pair of leggings).

So, since most of us don’t have the cash to shell out for the designer clothes featured on TV shows, instead we can imagine raiding all our fashionable characters’ closets and taking home our favorite items. If this amazing scenario ever happened, these are the five characters whose closets I’d most like to get access to: Continue reading

‘Pretty Little Liars’ Gets a Spin-Off Series: ‘Ravenswood’

Ravenswood (Image Credit: ABC Family)

Ravenswood (Image Credit: ABC Family)

Good news for fans of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars! The network recently announced a new PLL spin-off series, Ravenswood, which will debut in October. The show will share a production team with Pretty Little Liars, and while it’s being labeled a spin-off, it sounds like Ravenswood will be more of a companion show, featuring a similar attitude and theme as PLL but without much crossover.

Ravenswood is titled after the town where it takes place, which is near the PLL home base of Rosewood, PA. While there’s certainly plenty of drama in Rosewood, it sounds like residents of Ravenswood might have even more to worry about. The town is cursed, and it’s not just any old curse – it’s a fatal curse. Five teens are brought together to investigate the town’s past in an attempt to stay alive.

Brett Dier (Image Credit: Brett Dier)

Brett Dier (Image Credit: Brett Dier)

ABC Family has released descriptions for three of the main characters on the show: Miranda, an independent foster child with a chip on her shoulder; Abel, a textbook mysterious loner dude; and Olivia, Abel’s twin sister who has recently lost her position as queen bee. ABC Family just announced their casting choices for Abel and Olivia – Abel will be played by L.A. Complex’s Brett Dier and Olivia will be played by model Elizabeth Whitson. No other casting decisions have been announced as of yet.

What else can we expect from Ravenswood? It will likely have a similar style and tone as Pretty Little Liars, balancing mystery and danger with the day-to-day lives of its main characters. And, hopefully, it will be just as addictive. It also sounds like there might be a Breakfast Club vibe with the core group of main characters, as the ABC Family release describes them as “Five strangers [who] suddenly find themselves connected.”

Tyler Blackburn (Image Credit: ABC Family)

Tyler Blackburn (Image Credit: ABC Family)

ABC Family is certainly hoping that the social media power of Pretty Little Liars will help draw attention to the new show. As I mentioned before, Ravenswood doesn’t appear to have any major crossover with Pretty Little Liars, although ABC Family did recently announce that Tyler Blackburn, who plays Caleb on PLL, will be appearing on Ravenswood and will apparently be an integral part of the show. The network seems to be playing up the connection between the shows (and recruiting fan favorite Blackburn) in order to capitalize on the marketing opportunity.

But you never know – a familiar face or location might pop up on Ravenswood from time to time, and there’s a possibility of crossover storylines with the 5th season of PLL. And ultimately, it’s probably a good thing for Ravenswood to set itself apart, giving the show a chance to draw its own fans in addition to the core group of PLL fans who decide to tune in.

Pretty Little Liars fans – what do you think about Ravenswood? Will you be watching?


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Mallory Walker
I spend too much time reading and watching TV. Puppies, Diet Coke and the ’90s make me happy. I mean really, who doesn’t love the days of Marky Mark?
Check out more from Mallory Walker on TDQ…


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