HBO’s ‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’ is to die for


Original Sin | WarnerMedia Pressroom

Samantha Sollitto

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault and drug abuse.

A little more than two years after the finale of the beloved teen drama, “Pretty Little Liars,” a new set of liars have arrived in Rosewood’s sister town, Millwood.

As a spin-off series, “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin”successfully respects the original plot while being able to stand alone and not solely rely on the nostalgia of its inspiration.

The series follows high school students Imogen, Tabby, Noa, Faran and Mouse as they navigate the hardships of bullies, relationships and what to do when there’s a serial killer after them.

Straying away from the campy dramatics of the original series, “Original Sin” focuses on the gorier parts of being stalked by someone seeking revenge. The show pays homage to some classic horror movies while also maintaining its own sense of creativity.

With 10 episodes ranging from 45 minutes to an hour, original PLL fans feel as though they’re back in Rosewood, facing a new—and much more dangerous—threat.

In addition to this different approach, “Original Sin” is a very female centric show. Focusing almost entirely on the five girls and their mothers with damaged pasts, the show’s emphasis on the female gaze is something rarely seen in television series today.

In an interview with Glamour, Chandler Kinney, who plays Tabby, noted that the idea of focusing on these girls and their relationships with their mothers, as well as the inclusion of multiple female directors, allowed them to feel safe in a space that could oftentimes be overwhelming given the content they work with.

The series, unlike its predecessor, deals with extremely heavy topics that may be difficult or viewers to watch and even for the actors to perform. Although some might feel like handling topics such as sexual assault or drug abuse might be too much for television and could argue that it’s completely off course from the original show, the spinoff handles these subjects with a sort of delicacy that allows it to be honest and at times, real.

Bailee Madison, who plays Imogen, discussed in an interview with Collider how sometimes when shows deal with matters like the ones mentioned before, it feels as if they’re doing it to be politically correct.

However, creators Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Bring portray these matters in a way that feels natural and informative, showing viewers that situations like these happen almost every day.

Aguirre-Sacasa and Bring successfully framed the show so that it maintains the mystery developed in the original PLL series while also creating a type of suspense that mirrors the scarier parts of the television industry. One aspect where they fall short, however, is the actual dialogue between the girls.

While the show is rooted in the girls’ desire to capture their psycho-stalker, also known as A, there are multiple scenes where they’re doing normal teenage things. Although this helps the characters become a bit more developed in their personalities, it also accentuates the writers’ inability to connect with today’s teenagers and how they express themselves.

These flaws are emphasized in characters’ dialogue when they consistently use certain phrases common in today’s generation incorrectly, without trying to be ironic or funny.

In a more specific example of butchered character writing, Tabby is an outspoken movie lover who advocates for women and Black directors in her film class. In the first episode, her character was set up to be one of the most interesting and dynamic liars in the group. However, her voice was overshadowed by the writers’ poor decision to have her constantly reference movies, a character trait that becomes irritating and overbearing after the first few times.

Looking past this minor weakness, the rest of the show lived up to the original series, leaving the viewers on the edge of their seats almost every week. Unlike “Pretty Little Liars,” A was revealed in the last episode, allowing viewers to finally see if their theories were correct without having to endure years of waiting.

The reveal was nothing short of suspenseful and extremely well done. The killer was someone unexpected, but was an interesting decision and made complete sense. After three weeks of waiting and one killer finale, fans now have to wait a little bit longer to see whether or not the show will be renewed for a second season.