Pretty Little Liars (TV series)

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Pretty Little Liars
Genre Teen drama
Based on Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Developed by I. Marlene King
Starring Troian Bellisario
Ashley Benson
Tyler Blackburn
Holly Marie Combs
Lucy Hale
Ian Harding
Bianca Lawson
Laura Leighton
Chad Lowe
Shay Mitchell
Janel Parrish
Sasha Pieterse
Opening theme "Secret" by The Pierces
Composer(s) Michael Suby
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 106 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Leslie Morgenstein
I. Marlene King
Oliver Goldstick]
Maya Goldsmith
Joseph Dougherty
Bob Levy
Producer(s) Lisa Cochran-Neilan
Maya Goldmsith
Carol Dunn Trussell (pilot only)
Bryan M. Holdman
Hynndie Wali
Location(s) Los Angeles, California
Vancouver, British Columbia
Cinematography Dana Gonzales
Larry Reibman
Buzz Feitshans IV
Geoffrey Haley
Camera setup Red Two; single-camera
Running time 41–45 minutes
Production company(s) Warner Horizon Television
Alloy Entertainment
Long Lake Productions
Russian Hill Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original channel ABC Family
Original run June 8, 2010 (2010-06-08) – present
Related shows Ravenswood
External links

Pretty Little Liars is an American teen drama mystery-thriller television series loosely based on the popular series of novels written by Sara Shepard. The show premiered on June 8, 2010 on ABC Family.[1] After an initial order of 10 episodes on June 28, 2010, ABC Family ordered an additional 12 episodes for season one.[2] These episodes began airing on January 3, 2011 and ended on March 21, 2011.[3] The ratings success of the first 10 episodes prompted the book series to be extended beyond the initial eight novels.[4] On November 29, 2011, ABC Family renewed the series for a third season, consisting of 24 episodes.[5] The third season premiered on June 5, 2012 and ended on March 19, 2013.[6]

On October 4, 2012, ABC Family renewed the show for a fourth season.[7] Filming began on March 14, 2013.[8] It premiered on June 11, 2013.[citation needed]

On March 26, 2013, ABC Family picked up the show for a fifth season and also announced that a spin-off, Ravenswood, would air in October 2013.[9][10] On June 10, 2014, the show was renewed for a sixth and seventh season.[11]


Set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, the series follows the lives of four girls: Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings, whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their leader, Alison DiLaurentis. One year later, the estranged friends are reunited as they begin receiving messages from a mysterious figure named "A", who threatens to expose their deepest secrets— including ones they thought only Alison knew. At first, they think it's Alison herself, but after her body is found, the girls realize that someone else is planning on ruining their perfect lives.[12]

Main characters[edit]

  • Troian Bellisario plays Spencer Hastings, the "smart girl" of the group. She is an extreme perfectionist who always tries to please her wealthy parents who clearly show more affection towards her older sister, Melissa. Spencer had been the only person brave enough to stand up to Alison, and may have been one of the last people to see her alive. Spencer joins the "A" Team at the end of season 3 to find out more about Red Coat, the presumed mastermind behind hurting her and her friends, and to find out the truth about her boyfriend, Toby Cavanaugh, who she recently found out was working for "A". He was only trying to protect Spencer, though, and they reconcile in the season three finale and are back together.
  • Ashley Benson plays Hanna Marin, the "it girl" of the group who struggles with self-image issues and bulimia. A "loser" while Alison was alive, Hanna subsequently transformed herself into the most popular girl in school, along with her best friend, Mona. She falls in love with Caleb Rivers, a phone hacker and relative newcomer to Rosewood. After Hannah believes Caleb is cheating on her she breaks up with him and soon starts dating Travis. Caleb returns in season 5, and they get back together.
  • Lucy Hale plays Aria Montgomery, the group's "artsy girl", who returns to Rosewood with her family after spending a year in Iceland. At a bar, she meets Ezra Fitz and kisses him, only to discover on her first day of school that he is her English teacher. They decide to secretly continue their relationship and do so for some time, until eventually making their romance public. However, Aria reluctantly breaks up with him after "A" kidnapped Ezra's son, unbeknownst to him, towards the end of season 3. In season 4, they begin to reconcile, but it is revealed Ezra is writing a book about Alison, so Aria breaks up him and tells him to move out of Rosewood. In season 5, after Ezra is shot and is back in Rosewood, Aria tries to stay away from Ezra, but they become friends. Later, Aria sleeps with Ezra, but she remembers the things he has done and realizes she can't be with him.
  • Shay Mitchell plays Emily Fields, the "jock girl" of the group. Emily was closest to Alison before her disappearance and was also in love with her. A closeted lesbian, Emily was later outed by "A". She also falls in love with and dates Maya St. Germain. During this time, she also befriends Toby, Jenna Marshall's step-brother, even though she and her friends were distrustful of him at first. In Season 3, Emily was still distraught about Maya's death but then begins dating her teammate on the swim team, Paige McCullers. Emily was dating Paige but broke up because she could not trust her anymore. In Season 5, Emily still has feelings for Alison. Ali confesses to Emily that she has feelings for her and also says that the kisses she had with Emily were not just for practice. Emily is in shock and does not know what to say. While Ali and Emily are having a sleep over at Ali's house, Emily who is awake ask Ali if she was asleep. Ali then turns around to face Emily. Emily then lead in and kiss Ali which lead to both of them making out then lead them to have sex.
  • Sasha Pieterse plays Alison DiLaurentis, former "Queen Bee" of her clique and the most popular girl in school before her disappearance and death. Although she cared for her friends, she enjoyed using their deepest secrets against them to keep them in line. Charming and manipulative, Ali also knew Emily had feelings for her. Alison was skilled at finding ways to blackmail everyone, and many people hated her. She disappeared a year prior to the beginning of the series, after which her body is found. The show's main premise revolves around the mystery of Alison's murder.



Originally developed as a television series by book packaging company Alloy Entertainment, the idea was described as "Desperate Housewives for teens."[13] Alloy met with author Shepard, and gave her the property to develop into a book series.[13] With Alloy and Warner Horizon interested in producing Pretty Little Liars as a television series for years, it was first planned for The WB in 2005 with a different writer until the network shut down in early 2006 and reestablished as The CW later that year.[14] The first novel was published by HarperTeen in October 2006.[15] In June 2008, Alloy noted that it was developing a Pretty Little Liars television pilot for ABC Family,[13] with the novels adapted for television.[14] After the pilot was shot in Vancouver, filming for the rest of the series has since moved to Los Angeles.[16][17] In June 2012, the series was selected by lottery for a California film and TV tax credit.[18]


ABC Family began casting for a Pretty Little Liars television pilot in October 2009.[14] Lucy Hale was cast as Aria Montgomery in the project, followed by Troian Bellisario and Ian Harding (as Spencer Hastings and Ezra Fitz, respectively) in November 2009.[19] In December 2009, The Futon Critic confirmed the casting of Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin and Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields, as well as the addition of Laura Leighton as Ashley Marin, Nia Peeples as Pam Fields, Roark Critchlow as Tom Marin, and Bianca Lawson as Maya.[20][21] Mitchell had initially auditioned for the role of Spencer and then tried for Emily.[22] The Hollywood Reporter also noted that Torrey DeVitto and Sasha Pieterse landed recurring roles in the pilot.[21] The Alloy website later confirmed that Pieterse would be playing Alison DiLaurentis and DeVitto would be Melissa Hastings, also mentioning the casting of Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwaal.[23] On January 27, 2010, ABC Family picked up the series for 10 episodes, set to premiere in June 2010.[12] In April 2010, the role of Aria's father Byron was recast with Chad Lowe,[24] and Holly Marie Combs was cast as Aria's mother Ella. Jenna Marshall is played by Tammin Sursok.[25]

On January 7, 2011, Tilky Jones was cast as Logan Reed.[26] On April 8, 2011 Annabeth Gish was cast for the role of Anne Sullivan, a therapist who tries to find out the characters' secrets.[27] On May 23, 2011, Andrea Parker signed up to appear as Jessica DiLaurentis, Alison's mother.[28] On June 29, 2011, it was announced that Natalie Hall would be replacing Natalie Floyd as Hanna's soon-to-be stepsister, Kate.[29] Series star Chad Lowe directed the tenth episode of the second season titled "Touched by an 'A'-ngel".[30] On January 30, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Tyler Blackburn had been promoted to series regular for the third season.[31] In March 2012, Janel Parrish was also promoted from recurring to series regular for the third season.[32]


Pretty Little Liars was called one of the most spectacular new shows of summer 2010 thanks to heavy promotion by ABC Family, including "spicy promos and hot posters".[33] ABC Family encouraged fans to host a "Pretty Little Premiere Party" for the show by sending the first respondents a fan kit,[34] and selected applicants to become part of an interactive "Secret Keeper Game" played with iPhones provided by the network.[35] The show's official Facebook and Twitter accounts also promoted special fan features, including a "Pretty Little Lie Detector.[36] Los Angeles department store Kitson showcased the show in their shop window.[37]

A tie-in edition featuring the Season 1 poster and logo of the 2006 first novel in the Pretty Little Liars series was released on the date of the show's premiere,[38] as was the final book of the original book series, "Wanted".[39] Wanted later decidedly became the eighth book of the series, as Shepard later confirmed she would extend the series. A TV tie in of the second book "Flawless" featuring an altered Season 3 poster was released on December 28, 2010.


The theme song for Pretty Little Liars is "Secret" by The Pierces, which was suggested by one of the show's stars, Ashley Benson.[40] The pilot episode made use of music from artists such as The Fray, Ben's Brother, MoZella, Orelia, and Colbie Caillat.[41] The show has also featured music from Passion Pit, Pink, Florence + The Machine, Selena Gomez & the Scene, and McFly. Music from Katie Herzig can be heard multiple times throughout the show. A few songs being "Hey Na Na" and "Where the Road Meets the Sun". Madi Diaz has been heard on the show with her song "Heavy Heart", as well as Joy Williams with "Charmed Life" and Foreign Slippers with "What Are You Waiting For?". The last episode of season one featured a song by Alexz Johnson that she originally recorded for the soundtrack of the Canadian hit TV show Instant Star. On June 14, 2011, "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri was featured in the first episode of the second season. The song "Follow Suit" by Trent Dabbs has also been featured on the show. In the episode "The Perfect Storm", Lucy Hale sings a cover of the song "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" by British band Fairport Convention. The official soundtrack was released on February 15, 2011.


Pretty Little Liars premiered on June 8, 2010 the United States, becoming ABC Family's highest-rated series debut on record across the network's target demographics.[1] It ranked number one in key 12–34 demos and teens, becoming the number-one scripted show in Women 18–34, and Women 18–49. The premiere was number two in the hour for total viewers, which generated 2.47 million unique viewers, and was ABC Family's best delivery in the time slot since the premiere of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

The second episode retained 100% of its premiere audience with 2.48 million viewers, despite the usual downward trend following a premiere of a show, and built on its premiere audience. It was the dominant number one of its time slot in Adults 18–49, and the number one show in female teens.[42] Subsequent episodes fluctuated between 2.09 and 2.74 million viewers.[43][44] The August 10, 2010 "Summer Finale" episode drew an impressive 3.07 million viewers.

On June 28, 2010, ABC Family ordered 12 more episodes of the show, bringing its total first-season order to 22.[2] On January 10, 2011, ABC Family picked the show up for a second season that premiered on June 14, 2011. During the summer of 2011, Pretty Little Liars was basic cable's top scripted series in women aged 18–34 and viewers 12–34.[45][46] The second half of season 2 aired on Mondays at 8/7c, beginning on January 2, 2012.[47]

On November 29, 2011, ABC Family renewed the show for a third season, which consisted of 24 episodes.[5][48][49] On 4 October 2012, ABC Family announced that the show was renewed for a fourth season, again comprising 24 episodes. The second half of the third season began airing on January 8, 2013 and finished March 19, 2013. Pretty Little Liars returned for Season 4 on June 11, 2013. On March 25, 2013, It was again announced that Pretty Little Liars had been renewed for a fifth season scheduled for a 2014 air date and a new spin off show entitled Ravenswood that will began airing after the season four annual Halloween special in October 2013.[50] The second half of season four premiered on January 7, 2014.[51] It was announced on June 10, 2014 that Pretty Little Liars was renewed for two seasons, making the show ABC Family's longest running original hit series.[52]

International broadcasting[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Pretty Little Liars opened with initially mixed critical reviews, although the series has gotten more positive critique over its progression. Metacritic gave the pilot episode 52 out of 100, based upon 14 critical reviews.[53] The New York Daily News gave the show a positive review, commenting that it "makes most popular vampire romances look anemic", while concluding, "Pretty Little Liars could go in several directions, including mundane teen clichés. It's got an equally good shot at making us care about these imperfect pretty girls."[54] A writer on Terror Hook has stated that " 'Pretty Little Liars' gets off to a very promising start. Great production all around, the writing keeps the viewer on their toes, and the acting just reinforces it. The overall mystery of the show in the end is dark and unpredictable, even stepping into the slasher film realm."[55] The New York Post gave the show three out of five stars, stating, "OK, so we've established that there is no socially redeeming value in this series and that your kids shouldn't watch it if they are too young and impressionable. But if you can distract them enough to miss the first 15 minutes, the show isn't half-bad. Actually, it is half-good, if that makes sense."[56] The Los Angeles Times wrote that the series is "one of those shows that manages to mildly, and perhaps unintentionally, spoof its genre while fully participating in it, and that's not a bad thing at all."[57]

Entertainment Weekly had a less favorable review, giving the show a letter grade of D-, saying, "Imagine the pitch for Liars: It's I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Gossip Girl, but like not so subtle. The new ABC Family drama, based on the popular young-adult book series about a high school clique whose missing leader continuously causes problems and she ends up dead comes back to haunt them via locker-room notes, IMs, and text messages, hits every racy teentertainment mark so hard (everyone's hair is so full—of secrets!) that it feels like the only thing missing is a visit from the ghosts of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze, Jr."[58] The Hollywood Reporter compared the show to those on The CW and noted, "Sure, there's a lot here that sustains more eye-rolling than interested stares, but a little patience might be warranted."[59]


Since the series premiere, the show has remained popular. The series earned its highest rated episode with 4.22 million total viewers, ranking among ABC Family's top 5 telecasts in adult viewers 18 - 34, total viewers and women viewers.[60] The highest rated episodes include season one's finale, with 3.64 million, and season two's premiere and finale episodes, each yielding nearly 3.7 million viewers.[61][62][63] The show stands as the most watched series on ABC Family, maintaining a steady viewership of over 2.5 million and currently standing as the only show to yield an average of over 2 million viewers.

Season Timeslot (ET/PT) Network Premiered Ended Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
Season 1 Tuesday 8/7C ABC Family June 8, 2010 2.47[64] March 21, 2011 3.64[61] 2.87
Season 2 June 14, 2011 3.68[62] March 19, 2012 3.69[63] 2.68
Season 3 June 5, 2012 2.93[65] March 19, 2013 2.87[66] 2.59[67]
Season 4 June 11, 2013 2.97[68] March 18, 2014 3.12[69] 2.53 [70]
Season 5 June 10, 2014 2.72[71] N/A N/A N/A

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
Teen Choice Awards[72] Choice Summer TV Show Pretty Little Liars Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Male Ian Harding Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Lucy Hale Won
NewNowNext Awards[73] TV You Betta Watch Pretty Little Liars Won
People's Choice Awards[74] Favorite TV Obsession Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards[75] Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards[76] Cast To Watch Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale and Shay Mitchell Won
Teen Choice Awards[77] Choice Summer TV Show Pretty Little Liars Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Lucy Hale Won
Troian Bellisario Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star: Male Ian Harding Won
Keegan Allen Nominated
Banff Television Festival Best Continuing Series I. Marlene King, Lesli Linka Glatter and Lisa Cochran-Neilan Won
2012 People's Choice Awards[78] Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Won
GLAAD Media Awards[79] Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
TV Guide Awards [80] Favorite Guilty Pleasure Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[81] Choice TV Show: Drama Won
Choice TV Actor Ian Harding Won
Choice TV Actress Lucy Hale Won
Choice TV Villain Janel Parrish Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Troian Bellisario Won
Do Something! Awards TV Show Pretty Little Liars Won
2013 People's Choice Awards[82] Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Favorite TV Fan Following Little Liars Nominated
Gracie Allen Awards[83] Outstanding Performance by a Female Rising Star Lucy Hale Won
TV Guide Awards [84] Favorite Ensemble Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Favorite Villain Janel Parrish and Keegan Allen Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[85] Choice TV Show: Drama Pretty Little Liars Won
Choice Summer TV Show Pretty Little Liars Won
Choice TV Actor: Drama Ian Harding Won
Choice TV Actress: Drama Troian Bellisario Won
Choice TV Villain Janel Parrish Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Lucy Hale Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Male Keegan Allen Won
2014 People's Choice Awards[86][87] Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Favorite Cable TV Actress Lucy Hale Won
GLAAD Media Awards[88] Outstanding Drama Series Pretty Little Liars Nominated
40th Saturn Awards[89] Best Youth-Oriented Television Series Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards Bingeworthy TV series Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Best Cast Chemistry - TV Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[90] Choice TV Show: Drama Pretty Little Liars Won
Choice TV Actor: Drama Ian Harding Won
Choice TV Actor: Drama Keegan Allen Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Drama Lucy Hale Won
Choice TV Actress: Drama Troian Bellisario Nominated
Choice TV Villain Janel Parrish Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Ashley Benson Won
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Shay Mitchell Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star: Male Tyler Blackburn Won
Choice TV: Female Breakout Star Sasha Pieterse Won

DVD releases[edit]

DVD release dates for Pretty Little Liars
Name Release dates Ep # Additional information
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season June 7, 2011 September 24, 2012[91] November 2, 2011[92] 22
  • Pretty Little Liars: Two Truths and a Lie—Discover some fun facts and fictional fallacies about the cast of Pretty Little Liars.
  • It All Started with a Little Lie: Making Pretty Little Liars—Discover how the pages and characters of Sara Shepard's novel became this can't miss TV series
  • Little Secrets from the Set—Catch up with the cast and crew of summer's hottest show as they bring us several juicy behind-the-scenes secrets from the Pretty Little Liars set
  • Deleted Scenes and extras
The Complete Second Season June 5, 2012[93] November 11, 2013[94] September 5, 2012[95] 25
  • Fashion's Guilty Pleasure: Check out Aria's edgy bohemian looks, Hanna's rock 'n' roll glamour, Emily's laid back sporty style and Spencer's prepster perfection
  • Men of Mystery: Brooding brows, soulful smiles and mysterious minds... get ready for the heart-melting guys of Rosewood
  • Deleted scenes and extras
The Complete Third Season June 4, 2013 April 21, 2014[96] June 19, 2013[97] 24
  • Featurette: "The 'A' Network"
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bonus Webisodes
  • The Lady Killer episode alternate endings
The Complete Fourth Season June 3, 2014 September 29, 2014[98] July 9, 2014[99] 24
  • Featurette: "Unhooding Red Coat: Alison Is Alive!"
  • Featurette: "Confessions of 'A' Liar"
  • Featurette: "Pretty Little Scenes"
  • Bonus Recap Episode
  • Deleted Scenes


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External links[edit]