Even though there are slight differences to the characters and setting, “Pretty Little Liars” has been done before. It is “Desperate Housewives” for the “Gossip Girl” age group. The mystery and the melodrama surround a group of young looking but sexually promiscuous teenage girls. They are accurately portrayed to be rather idiotic, but what makes no sense is how stupid all of the adults are in the show. It feels like a series written for teens by teens, reeking of naivety and unoriginal storylines from decades past.
Based on the bestselling book series by Sara Shepard, I am mostly just concerned with the crap that pre-teen girls read and watch these days. The Twilight craze has had quite an effect, but I wouldn’t argue it to be a positive one. In this series there are four teen friends. When we joined these characters in season one, one of the teens is having an affair with her teacher (“Dawson’s Creek” in reverse), another is desperately trying to convince her religious boyfriend to take her virginity, a third flirts with her new lesbian friend while eyeing the brother of an enemy girl, and the last trashy little teen can’t seem to stop stealing her sister’s boyfriends.
Lying and cheating are the norm for these girls, but the show weakly tries to justify their awful behavior. At one time they had a fifth friend, who was the cruelest of them all. This friend disappeared in a mystery none of the girls will talk about, though they begin receiving messages from their old friend once her body is found. This storyline does not move nearly fast enough, because there is too much relationship junk to wade through. It took two seasons to discover who was sending mysterious messages, pretending to be the deceased friend, and in season three we are still getting bits of flashback of Alison’s final days alive. At least “Desperate Housewives” knew to leave the dead behind after a season or two.
There are other new storylines, but it all begins to sound like the same old dribble. The 24 episodes from season three are all included in this set, along with more than a few special features. There is a gag reel and deleted scenes, not to mention a bonus webisodes and an alternate ending to an episode. There are also a few featurettes best suited for die-hard fans.
Entertainment Value: 2/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 2/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Disc Features: 7/10