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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’ makes the original series look like child’s play

The newest “Pretty Little Liars” spin-off is actually decent, and that’s no lie.
The cast of “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” which streams on HBO Max. (Photo courtesy of HBO Max)

Editor’s note: This article contains mention of sexual violence.

What’s worse than a liar? A pretty little one. At least that’s what the hit TV show “Pretty Little Liars” (PLL) taught us. Watching the various iterations of a black-hooded (and sometimes red-coated) adversary who only goes by the letter “A” torture five teenage girls was thrilling and heartbreaking all at the same time, and that’s what kept everyone watching. Back when it was airing, PLL was incredibly popular with over 2.5 million viewers among a diverse audience and demographic. Though the show has had other spin-offs, including “Ravenswood” and “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” starring two of the original characters, none have come close to rivaling the original beast, until the airing of “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” (PLLOS), that is.

While the jury is still out on how popular this show will be, PLLOS is a far more captivating watch than any of the other spin-offs due to its emphasis on a completely new and very gory plotline. PLLOS is more mature than the original show with more cursing, graphic scenes and deep looks into topics that are (somehow) much more sinister in nature than the original show covered, including brutal rape.

The show’s starring “pretty liars” include Noa, Tabitha, Imogen, Minnie (known as Mouse) and Faran. They are played by Maia Reficco, Chandler Kinney, Bailee Madison, Malia Pyles and Zaria Simone, respectively. Only this time, these liars aren’t the bullies. In fact, the most notable difference between these girls and the original mean team (Spencer, Aria, Hanna, Emily and Alison) is that they’re not mean at all. They’re actually victims, and their moms are the real villains of the story–which is what makes them such great targets for the season’s A. That’s right, A is back, and as vindictive as ever. 

The thick mystery around which the season is centered is the long-ago death of a young girl, Angela Waters, and how each girl’s mother is somehow responsible for it. In keeping with the title of the show, the theme of the episodes revolve around “punishing the guilty” or in other words, avenging past sins. Each main character fully delves into the mystery of Angela’s death in an attempt to find out who A is and why they’re going around killing bullies. Yes, I said killing.

Most notably (and refreshingly) is that these girls are much smarter and more compassionate than their original counterparts. They are able to fit pieces of the puzzle together much faster than the other cast ever did, resulting in the reveal of A by the end of the first season. Though more seasons have been teased, the reveal of A eases a sense of tension and suspicion that made the original show so exciting; it might have been the wrong move. Regardless, the show remains a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat entertainment, especially with the number of horror movie elements that grace each episode.

PLLOS takes place in a town called Milwood, which is within driving distance from the town of Rosewood, where the original show took place. While minimal connections are made between the present show and the old one, Tabitha and Imogen do travel together to Rosewood to visit The Radley Hotel, which was formerly owned by Ashley Marin, Hanna’s mom. Aside from an Easter egg of a medicine box labeled with one of the original character’s names, the other big throwback to the first iteration of the show was when Imogen’s baby got adopted by Aria, who, if you recall, was unable to have a baby previously.

All in all, the show was exciting: It had enthralling action and an interesting storyline. It covered a lot of serious topics that resulted in conception, self-harm, depression, broken families and addiction, making it compelling to watch. The show was less predictable than the original series, even though it had its fair share of mean girls, like Karen and Kellie Beasley. Fans of the original show may not be fully satisfied with the current one, but it is better than the others, I promise. Give A another chance in the spotlight, whoever they are. Guess you’ll have to watch the show to find out.

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About the Contributor
Aashi Gurijala, Former Staff Writer
Aashi Gurijala ('25) is from Phoenix, Arizona, and is majoring in medicine, health and society and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. You can reach her at [email protected].
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