ABC Family has a new teen show in the vein of Pretty Little Liars. You know, a show about rich, female teens with lots of secrets and a mystery element? We’re not complaining, because you know we are both PLL fans.
The Lying Game is about twins. One, Sutton, was adopted by a rich family and the other, Emma, was not chosen and got stuck in the foster care system. Sutton found Emma and asked her to take her place while she searched for their real parents. But Sutton didn’t come back when she said she would. And Emma started to find out that Sutton has a lot of secrets and used to play pranks called “Lying Games.” Yeah, Sutton’s a conniving, slightly sociopathic weasel. To what degree we do not yet know. Is she a villain?
The Lying Game is a welcome addition to our Monday summer nights. At first, it seemed like a straightforward switcheroo, but then the second episode let us know that there is more going on in Sutton’s life than we thought. It’s possible that Sutton is pulling a lying game on Emma. It’s possible that she really IS looking for her real parents.
One of the things we like about the show so far is the main actress. She has a real feel for the fact that she is playing two different characters, much like Nina Dobrev on The Vampire Diaries. (You never miss an opportunity to mention TVD, do ya, Leeard?) The strength and tone of the actress' voice, as well as her facial expressions, tell us the difference between these two girls. Emma is vulnerable, brave, and caring. She longs for a family of her own, and the actress really makes you feel for Emma as she borrows Sutton’s loving parents and befriends Sutton’s sister. Sutton is confident, but sketchy.
We were afraid that Emma was too boring, being the good girl, but she has a protective, ballsy streak that makes us love her. While Sutton was the troublemaker, she did it secretly. Emma is more in-your-face, smacking bitches down and standing up for her friends.
We think the show needs stronger male love interests at some point, or at least another one. Sutton’s secret boyfriend is a likeable, if temperamental, guy, but shows like this thrive on triangles and many options. We also don’t like the intro with the girls floating in bikinis in a pool. This actress isn’t really a sex pot. She’s cute, in sort of a funny looking way. And this is a show aimed at teens. It seems unnecessary and tacky.
We are also liking Sutton’s wisecracking sister, Laurel, and her best friends, Mads and Char. We expected Mads and Char to be rich jerks, not real friends, but they seem pretty normal. We don’t have much of any idea of where this show is going, and we like that. There’s no murder to solve (so far - there is in the books, so we'll see if the show goes there, but even if it does, it's not the show's main premise), so the plot has places to go (unlike PLL) without dragging things out. The show can go in any direction it wants, as long as it keeps Emma’s true identity a secret. These twins can switch back and forth and get into any sort of adventure.
This is a fun teen show with lots of potential and a main character that you actually root for and pity.
Episodes 1-2 Grade: B+
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