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Pretty Little Liars (TV series)

Pretty Little Liars
Genre Teen drama
Based on Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Developed by I. Marlene King
Starring Troian Bellisario
Ashley Benson
Shay Mitchell
Lucy Hale
Tyler Blackburn
Holly Marie Combs
Ian Harding
Bianca Lawson
Laura Leighton
Chad Lowe
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 6
No. of episodes 120 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) I. Marlene King
Maya Goldsmith
Joseph Dougherty
Bob Levy
Producer(s) Lisa Cochran-Neilan
Maya Goldmsith
CarolDunn Trussell (pilot only)
Bryan M. Holdman
Hynndie Wali
Location(s) Los Angeles, California
Vancouver, British Columbia (pilot)
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 release June 8, 2010 (2010-06-08) – present
Related shows Ravenswood
External links

Pretty Little Liars is an American teen drama mysterythriller television series loosely based on the popular book series of the same title, 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 March 26, 2013, ABC Family announced that a spin-off, Ravenswood, would air in October 2013.[5][6] The spin-off show aired ten episodes before being canceled. In June 2014, Pretty Little Liars was renewed for its sixth and seventh seasons.[7] In November 2014, actress Lucy Hale confirmed the seventh season will be the final season in the series.[8]


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.[9]


Originally developed as a television series by book packaging company Alloy Entertainment, the idea was described as "Desperate Housewives for teens."[10] Alloy met with author Shepard, and gave her the property to develop into a book series.[10] 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.[11] The first novel was published by HarperTeen in October 2006.[12] In June 2008, Alloy noted that it was developing a Pretty Little Liars television pilot for ABC Family,[10] with the novels adapted for television.[11] After the pilot was shot in Vancouver, filming for the rest of the series has since moved to Los Angeles.[13][14] The series is primarily filmed at the Warner Bros. studio and backlot in the city of Burbank (near Los Angeles).[15] In June 2012, the series was selected by lottery for a California film and TV tax credit.[16]


ABC Family began casting for a Pretty Little Liars television pilot in October 2009.[11] 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.[17] 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.[18][19] Mitchell had initially auditioned for the role of Spencer and then tried for Emily.[20] The Hollywood Reporter also noted that Torrey DeVitto and Sasha Pieterse landed recurring roles in the pilot.[19] 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.[21] On January 27, 2010, ABC Family picked up the series for 10 episodes, set to premiere in June 2010.[9] In April 2010, the role of Aria's father Byron was recast with Chad Lowe,[22] and Holly Marie Combs was cast as Aria's mother Ella. Jenna Marshall is played by Tammin Sursok.[23]

On January 7, 2011, Tilky Jones was cast as Logan Reed.[24] On April 8, 2011 Annabeth Gish was cast for the role of Anne Sullivan, a therapist who tries to find out the characters' secrets.[25] On May 23, 2011, Andrea Parker signed up to appear as Jessica DiLaurentis, Alison's mother.[26] On June 29, 2011, it was announced that Natalie Hall would be replacing Natalie Floyd as Hanna's soon-to-be stepsister, Kate.[27] Series star Chad Lowe directed the tenth episode of the second season titled "Touched by an 'A'-ngel".[28] On January 30, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Tyler Blackburn had been promoted to series regular for the third season.[29] In March 2012, Janel Parrish was also promoted from recurring to series regular for the third season.[30]


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".[31] ABC Family encouraged fans to host a "Pretty Little Premiere Party" for the show by sending the first respondents a fan kit,[32] and selected applicants to become part of an interactive "Secret Keeper Game" played with iPhones provided by the network.[33] The show's official Facebook and Twitter accounts also promoted special fan features, including a "Pretty Little Lie Detector".[34] Los Angeles department store Kitson showcased the show in their shop window.[35]

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,[36] as was the final book of the original book series, "Wanted".[37] 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.[38] The pilot episode made use of music from artists such as The Fray, Ben's Brother, MoZella, Orelia, and Colbie Caillat.[39] The show has also featured music from Passion Pit, Pink, Florence and the Machine, Lykke Li, 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.

Cast and characters

Main cast of Pretty Little Liars
Actor Character Season
1 2 3 4 5 6
Troian Bellisario Spencer Hastings Main
Ashley Benson Hanna Marin Main
Lucy Hale Aria Montgomery Main
Shay Mitchell Emily Fields Main
Sasha Pieterse Alison DiLaurentis Main
Ian Harding Ezra Fitz Main
Laura Leighton Ashley Marin Main
Holly Marie Combs Ella Montgomery Main Guest
Chad Lowe Byron Montgomery Main Guest
Bianca Lawson Maya St. Germain Main Guest
Janel Parrish Mona Vanderwaal Recurring Main
Tyler Blackburn Caleb Rivers Recurring Main
File:Cast of Pretty Little Liars at Paley Fest2014.jpg
The core cast of "Pretty Little Liars" at The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2014 Honoring "Pretty Little Liars". From left: Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, and Sasha Pieterse.
  • Troian Bellisario portrays Spencer Hastings. Spencer is an extreme perfectionist who likes to please her wealthy family, and her friends. She is very competitive, and an overachiever. Spencer is strong willed, smart and kind towards everyone around her, but isn't afraid to take down anyone who is a threat to anyone she cares about. Tired of being the victim, Spencer was a brief member of the "A" team in the final two episodes of the third season. She is in a relationship with Toby Cavanaugh, who is now part of the Rosewood Police.
  • Ashley Benson portrays Hanna Marin. Hanna used to have an eating disorder. She was overweight, with the nickname 'Hefty Hanna', and after Alison Dilaurentis disappeared, Hanna lost her weight and changed her style, which seemed similar to Ali's, with the help of Mona Vanderwaal her new best friend. Over the course of the series, Hanna cares more about the people around her and tries to protect herself and her friends. She has had few love affairs through the series, currently she is in a relationship with Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn).
  • Lucy Hale portrays Aria Montgomery. Aria is the artsy chameleon who is an old soul stuck in high school. She is very intelligent, caring, and has a good sense of style. She's the one who keeps her family together. Aria used to be a tomboy. She would wear black, punk-like clothing and she had pink highlights in her hair. After Ali's disappearance, Aria and her family moved to Iceland and now they're back in Rosewood after there for a year. When Aria and her family came back from Rosewood, she was no longer that tomboy she used to be, she was a girly-girl. Aria had a relationship with her former English teacher, Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding) but they decided to end their relationship before Aria went to college.
  • Shay Mitchell portrays Emily Fields. Emily is the sporty one in the group. She is the best swimmer on the swim team, and shes very sweet and loyal. Maybe a little too loyal. Emily is a shy, kind 'closeted lesbian', who was in love with Alison DiLaurentis. However, over the course of the series Emily came out to her parents that she was in a relationship with Maya St. Germain. After Maya's murder, Emily develops a relationship with Paige McCullers in season 3, they stay together for a while, until Paige betrays Emily's trust. Ali confesses her feelings for Emily in the 100th episode, but later Emily reconciles with Paige. Months later they grow apart as Paige moves to California.
  • Sasha Pieterse portrays Alison DiLaurentis, former "Queen Bee" of her clique and the most popular girl in school before her disappearance. She enjoys using people's deepest secrets against them to keep them in line. Charming and manipulative, Alison managed to manipulate all four of her friends in some way or another and is skilled at finding ways to blackmail others. It was revealed Alison was alive, and was on the run from "A". Months later after being back to Rosewood, Alison is arrested for Mona's murder, who she hated and bullied years ago.
  • Janel Parrish portrays Mona Vanderwaal, a very self-conscious person and the original 'A'. Due to the bullying and rejection she faced when Alison was around, Mona developed a complex in which she is not happy with her life. Although she does not show this side of her in public, this is why Mona felt such a need to remain popular, beautiful, and best friends with Hanna. This is also why she started tormenting the girls as "A," because she was afraid that the Liars would steal Hanna from her, who was her only friend. In the Season 5 summer finale, Mona is possibly brutally murdered in her own home after discovering what she believes to be proof that Alison is 'A'. It is revealed that Mona is alive and being held captive by A, she is forced to pretend to be Alison and her hair has been dyed blonde.



Rosewood is a fictional town in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is the principal setting of the series and the books. The "liars" live in this town along with most of the other characters. It contains many principal locations: the police station, the Rosewood High School, the church, the Rosewood Shopping Center, the University of Hollis, the Rosewood Community Hospital, the Rosewood movie theater, the mausoleum, the dental office, the Ophthalmology Cabinet and the Rosewood Court. There are also private residences: the Montgomery home, the Marin home, the Hastings home, the DiLaurentis home, the Fields home, the Cavanaugh home (burned), the McCullers former home, the Vanderwaal home, the Fitz apartment, the Cavanaugh's apartment, the Rivers apartment, etc.

Virtually all these locations are actually exteriors on the backlot of the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank. Interior scenes are filmed separately on nearby soundstages. For example, different sides of the same building on the backlot are used for the entrances of the Rosewood police station and high school.

Secondary locations

  • Radley Sanitarium
  • Fictional towns: Ravenswood and Brookhaven
  • Real towns: New York, Cape May, Philadelphia and Hilton Head Island
  • "A"s Lair
  • University of Cicero
  • Zoo of Norristown
  • Chalet in Thornhill
  • Hector Lime's molding studio
  • Lost Woods Resort
  • Storage unit facility
  • An ice factory
  • The cabin in the woods
  • The equestrian center
  • The Correctional Centre for Women of Chester County
  • "A"s Dollhouse
  • The old farm Campbell (located near Wayne, Pennsylvania)


The intertitle in the opening credits used since the show's inception.

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.[40] Subsequent episodes fluctuated between 2.09 and 2.74 million viewers.[41][42] 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.[43][44] The second half of season 2 aired on Mondays at 8/7c, beginning on January 2, 2012.[45]

On November 29, 2011, ABC Family renewed the show for a third season, which consisted of 24 episodes.[46][47] On October 4, 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 begin airing after the season four annual Halloween special in October 2013.[48] The second half of season four premiered on January 7, 2014.[49] 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.[50]

Critical reception

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.[51] 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."[52] 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."[53] 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."[54] 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."[55]

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." It went on to say that the plot "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."[56] 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."[57]


Since the series premiere, the show has remained popular. The series earned its highest rated episode with 4.20 million total viewers, ranking among ABC Family's top 5 telecasts in adult viewers 18 - 34, total viewers and women viewers.[58] 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.[59][60][61] 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
March 21, 2011
3.64[59] 2.87
Season 2
June 14, 2011
March 19, 2012
3.69[61] 2.68
Season 3
June 5, 2012
March 19, 2013
2.87[64] 2.59[65]
Season 4
June 11, 2013
March 18, 2014
3.12[67] 2.53[68]
Season 5
June 10, 2014
March 24, 2015
2.65[70] 2.01[71]
Season 6
June 2, 2015

Awards and nominations

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
Youth Rock Awards [78] Rockin' Actress — TV Ashley Benson Won
Rockin' Actress — TV Shay Mitchell Nominated
Rockin' Actor — TV Ian Harding Nominated
Rockin' Ensemble Cast — TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Capricho Awards[79] Best TV Series Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Best International Actress Lucy Hale Nominated
Best International Actor Ian Harding Nominated
2012 People's Choice Awards[80] Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Won
GLAAD Media Awards[81] Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
TV Guide Awards [82] Favorite Guilty Pleasure Nominated
Capricho Awards[83] Best TV Series Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[84] 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
2013 People's Choice Awards[85] Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Favorite TV Fan Following Little Liars Nominated
Gracie Allen Awards[86] Outstanding Performance by a Female Rising Star Lucy Hale Won
TV Guide Awards [87] Favorite Ensemble Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Favorite Villain Janel Parrish and Keegan Allen Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[88] 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
Capricho Awards[89] Best TV Series Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Best International Actress Ashley Benson Nominated
2014 People's Choice Awards[90][91] Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Nominated
Favorite Cable TV Actress Lucy Hale Won
GLAAD Media Awards[92] Outstanding Drama Series Pretty Little Liars Nominated
40th Saturn Awards[93] Best Youth-Oriented Television Series Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards Bingeworthy TV series Nominated
Best Cast Chemistry — TV Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[94] Choice TV Show: Drama 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
Candie's Choice Style Icon Ashley Benson Nominated
2015 People's Choice Awards [95] Favorite Cable TV Actress Ashley Benson Nominated
Lucy Hale Nominated
Favorite Cable TV Drama Pretty Little Liars Won
41st Saturn Awards[96] Best Youth-Oriented Television Series Pending

DVD releases

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[97] November 2, 2011[98] 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[99] November 11, 2013[100] September 5, 2012[101] 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[102] June 19, 2013[103] 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[104] July 9, 2014[105] 24
  • Featurette: "Unhooding Red Coat: Alison Is Alive!"
  • Featurette: "Confessions of 'A' Liar"
  • Featurette: "Pretty Little Scenes"
  • Bonus Recap Episode
  • Deleted Scenes
The Complete Fifth Season June 2, 2015 July 15, 2015[106] June 19, 2015 25
  • Featurette: "Good Girls, Bad Lies: The Stronger PLLs"
  • Featurette: "Pretty Little Liars: The Guys Are Back!"
  • Featurette: "Celebrating a Pretty 100th"
  • Featurette: " Christmas in Rosewood: Designing the Ice Ball"
  • We Love You to DeAth: Fan Appreciation Episode
  • Deleted Scenes


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