On January 1st, in a piece of genius scheduling, Netflix made every episode of American teen drama Pretty Little Liars available to subscribers. I say genius because PLL weighs in at five series. That’s 111 episodes of glossy, trashy, highly addictive viewing to help Netflixers through the gloomy, skint days of January.
For the uninitiated PLL is set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, and focuses on four friends who are trying to figure out who killed Alison, the former queen been of the group, and at the same time avoid being killed themselves by the mysterious, omnipresent ‘A’. It unashamedly mixes the dark and the ridiculous in a similar kind of way to how Desperate Housewives did so well in the early days.
If I didn’t have to actually leave the house to go to work at the moment there’s a good chance I would have finished all five series by now. As it is I’m already most the way through season two. Chores have gone undone, emails unanswered, sleep pushed back, as I’ve told myself, “Just one more episode…”
PLL isn’t the first teen drama I’ve been addicted to. My love affair with the genre started with Beverly Hills 90210 back in the 1990s. The sunny setting and glamorous lifestyle provided glossy escapism, fashion and hair inspiration came via the character of Kelly played by Jennie Garth (I basically wanted to be her) and I crushed hard on Dylan, played by Luke Perry who, along with the rest of the cast, was way too old to actually be in high school (this is one of the rules of the genre).
The roll call of teen dramas I’ve watched since then includes, but is not limited to, Dawson’s Creek, The OC, Greek, Privileged, One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl. If there’s a high school or college setting, a good looking cast and far-fetched story lines, I’m in. Some people would call my love for teen dramas a guilty pleasure. But why should I feel guilty about something that makes me happy? It’s not as if I just watch brain-off television, I watch quality shows too. Over the years my television-viewing heart has been won over by the Baltimore-based bad guys, good guys and guys-who-are-somewhere-in-the-middle of The Wire, power plays in Washington (The West Wing, House of Cards), Nordic Noir (The Killing and The Bridge are particular favourites) and the New Jersey mob family at the centre of The Sopranos.
But every once in a while I can’t resist a glossy, trashy show with ridiculous storylines and excellent outfits, and right now I can’t get enough of PLL.
What are your televisual not-so-guilty pleasures? Which teen dramas have you loved over the years? Anyone else watching PLL? What TV series are you loving right now? Do share below!
If you’re looking for a new television addiction but PLL isn’t your thing (or you’ve watched it already) check out the comments below this post for lots of recommendations from RMS readers.