Pretty little Liars quickly became a worldwide sensation. That’s partly because of the intriguing mystery (at least, in early seasons) surrounding the disappearance of Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse), but also because of the chemistry between the four main girls – Aria (Lucy Hale), Hana (Ashley Benson), Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Emily (Shay Mitchell). These characters brought the friendship to life in a way that blew it off the screen and brought viewers into the fold. There’s a reason why, despite the criticism the show has faced for its inability to satisfactorily solve mysteries, people have tuned in for seven seasons to watch “A” torment them.
We’ve ranked all seven seasons from worst to best, highlighting a few things that worked well…while highlighting others that didn’t.
7. Season 7
The seventh season of Pretty little Liars was, for the most part, a disappointment. However, the 20-episode season started off strong with Hanna’s kidnapping, after she falsely confessed to murdering Charlotte. Hanna’s research brings out an interesting side to these characters that we haven’t seen much before. And, the girls accidentally killing Archer Dunhill (huw collins), and then scrambling to cover it up remains one of the most thrilling storylines the show has ever tackled. It wasn’t the first time one of the girls had killed someone, but this time we really saw how far down the rabbit hole they had come after being tormented. After that, the season quickly fell apart, like when Jenna’s vendetta against the girls randomly reappears, and she tries to shoot them (while blind!) in an abandoned school. As for the last half of the season, too much time is spent on storylines starting and ending messy, like the reappearance of Nicole Gordon (Rebecca Breeds) which complicates Aria and Ezra and Toby’s rekindled romance (Kegan Allen) marrying Yvonne (Kara Royster) moments before his death. Plus, AD’s reveal as Alex Drake, Spencer’s long-lost twin sister (also played by Bellisario), is practically a joke, as there are no real emotional stakes and, as with the other villains, Alex’s motivation is laughable and felt. pathetic.
6. Season 3
At the time of its broadcast, the third season of Pretty little Liars was (mostly) great. Looking back, it doesn’t really stand the test of time. The season is dragged down by a number of things, the worst being that it doesn’t fit well into the grand scheme of the series. It was then, halfway through, that they decided to extend the life of the series from five to seven seasons, so that everything would fill up at the end of the season. The death of Maya St Germain (Bianca Lawson) shook things up again for Rosewood, especially since it was teased that Maya’s death was linked to Alison’s. In the end, it wasn’t anyone important who killed Maya, and it’s still terrible that Emily’s best love interest was killed for nothing but shock value. Likewise, the reveal that Toby is on the A-Team seemingly changed everything and caused an uproar for months before it was essentially called off. It held no weight, as it was scrapped and almost completely forgotten at the start of Season 4. (And, it’s filled with story points that make absolutely no sense as to where it ends.) Oh , and also, this is the season that reveals Ezra having a child, which tears Aria apart and Ezra…before that, too, is undone due to poor fan response. Watching the season feels like a complete waste of time (but it’s still better executed than last season).
5. Season 4
The majority of Season 4 is pretty lackluster, but it’s saved (and higher on the list than the other two) due to the long-awaited reveal that Alison is still alive. Even though she’s not home yet, she manages to take Rosewood back, making the girls desperate to bring their friend home before they can figure out what seeing her again would really mean in their lives. The season does not entirely work, however, as the death of Detective Wilden (Bryce Johnson) with Ashley Marin (Laura Leighton) because the prime suspect is uninspired and way too much attention surrounds this mystery when he ultimately has no payoff in the end. The second part of the season is what makes it shine. Ezra’s dark turn, while going nowhere, is fun and unexpected, finally giving him something interesting to do on screen. Likewise, Spencer’s struggle with addiction leads to some interesting places, as does Alison’s search.
4. Season 5
The fifth season is quite interesting. After revealing that Alison is still alive, she finally returns home to Rosewood, but her return is not at all what she expected. For many, life was better without Alison, as she was a nightmare and treated people terribly. But it’s so fun to watch the girls get caught up in Alison’s lies once again, despite growing so much from the people they were when she manipulated them quite easily. Watching Alison lie, in real time, to everyone around her is fascinating, as viewers had only seen her work her magic in flashbacks, which started to feel a bit satirical with the ridiculous comments of Alison. Pieterse shines in so many episodes of the season because there is so much to unpack with Alison. Where did she go, why she lies about where she went, how she fits into the A-game, and her mother’s death are just some of the interesting aspects the series begins to explore when she returns home. The second half of the season is the real excitement though, as it’s the beginning of the end for this A and the girls are in hotter water than ever. They are framed by A for Mona’s murder, and Alison is already on trial for being the one behind it. It’s moving, gripping and exceptional television to see Alison being sentenced to life in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, while the girls are arrested as accomplices, then kidnapped by A and locked up in a dollhouse.
3. Season 6
Although this is likely considering a controversial review, the sixth season of Pretty little Liars is a breath of fresh air. Picking up with the girls locked in the dollhouse, subjected to more extreme torture than ever by A, while all their loved ones frantically search for them is a beautifully devastating start to the season. Even after their escape, the girls come to terms with what they’ve been through, and the truth of A’s exit brings something new to the show, as the girls don’t have to hide that someone is trying to destroy them. every day and the cops don’t have the mistaken impression that they are the criminals to catch. The revelation that Cece Drake (vanessa ray) is A isn’t the best or most satisfying reveal, but does lead to an interesting new beginning after the five-year time jump mid-season. The time jump is pretty exciting at first, as it’s wonderful to know that the girls have each left Rosewood and got their lives back on track after A, only to be picked up again in the mess when they get home. they and Cece aka Charlotte are killed. New relationships and dynamics are explored, and it’s a step up for the girls after their relentless, drawn-out senior year (or, rather, between Halloween and Thanksgiving of their senior year).
2. Season 1
The inaugural season of Pretty little Liars isn’t as good as our top pick, although it’s close. The beginning of the mystery surrounding Alison isn’t as intense as it will later become, but the first season is more about exploring the trauma Alison and her disappearance caused the girls. They pick up the pieces, start over in many ways, and find themselves sucked into the world full of secrets they hoped Alison had taken with her. Obviously, we’re a long way from the answers in the first season, but the writers threw in just enough crumbs as the girls took on the investigation to keep it interesting and the mystery alive. Ian (Ryan Merriman) is a big villain for the second half of the season, while the writers’ twist on Toby (compared to the character in the books) is surprising, but works well. Right off the bat, this universe is filled with so many secrets and such complex secondary characters, like Mona (Janel Parrish) and Melissa (Torrey De Vitto), that it is impossible not to be addicted.
1. Season 2
The second season is at its peak Pretty little Liars, before the mysteries get too complicated and everyone and their mothers are forced to have been associated with Alison in some way. Starting with the shocking cliffhanger with Ian missing after being hung from the steeple, the girls are put to the test as the town turns against them and begins to wonder what they are trying to do by “lying” about what they saw. But, the second half of the season is really phenomenal, because it’s the beginning of the end for the first A. Every episode brings viewers and girls closer to A’s identity, and it’s so exciting and keeps everything the world at the edge of their lives. seat. (Plus, the reveal that Mona is A is the only satisfying reveal over the course of the series.) The season is filled to the brim with interesting twists, especially the surprise that A also stalked Alison (and Alison later followed the steps of A to find out who it was). Every moment counts, every moment is pure entertainment, and it’s no coincidence that this season is when the show exploded and became popular around the world.
The seven seasons of Pretty little Liars are currently streaming on HBO Max.
They also discuss the relationship drama their characters go through.
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