Why Pretty Little Liars Is A Lot Like Lost

When I started watching Pretty Little Liars, I imagined it would be a harmless diversion, the kind of show I would tune into for kicks and then lie about watching to my more highbrow friends. And okay, ABC Family’s soapy teen mystery is kind of ridiculous. But somewhere over the course of its first season, Pretty Little Liars became can’t-miss television, with enough gasp-worthy reveals, double-crossing, and unsolved mysteries to keep me glued to the TV. It’s kind of like Lost, but with teenage girls instead of plane crash survivors, and a sleepy suburban town instead of an island. Work with me here.

Call it fluffy nonsense if you must, but Pretty Little Liars is honestly one of the most complicated shows on television. And like Lost—if you’ll pardon the continued comparison—all of the answers lead to more questions. It’s maddening to watch as a viewer, but also immensely pleasurable: You know you’re not going to see all the loose ends tied up until the series finale, and even then, that’s not a given. But if you’re patient, you can enjoy the slow burn of the secrets, the shock of the plot twists, and yes, even the sheer perplexity of each episode’s head-scratching final moments.

“What do you want from me?” Jenna asked the four core characters in Monday night’s season finale. “The truth,” Hanna answered. “Can you handle that?” Evidently not: The episode jerked us around incessantly, asserting itself as the series’ most dizzying installment to date. Alison was blackmailing Jenna with footage of Jenna coercing her stepbrother Toby into sex. At least, that’s Jenna’s story—later in the episode, she appeared to be linked with Ian, who may or may not be Alison’s killer, and Garrett, who’s definitely one of the bad cops. Is everyone in on this plot? And which one of these manipulators is “A”?

The questions don’t stop there. Who was spying on the girls of Rosewood? If Ian said he shoved Alison, did someone else strangle her? Who pushed Ian to his death? And if he’s not dead, how did he escape? What is Jenna’s connection to Ian and Garrett? And what is her ultimate goal? Did Melissa’s baby survive the accident? Were Lucas and Caleb in the car that crashed into Spencer’s?

Sorry, I got a little carried away. Realistically, most of these questions aren’t likely to be answered anytime soon—especially since Pretty Little Liars’s second season doesn’t premiere until June. So, you know, it's probably best not to drive oneself crazy with half-cocked theories.

Look, I’m as surprised as you are that I’ve become this emotionally invested in a mystery series geared toward teen girls, but I challenge you to find another current show as consistently mind-blowing. It’s not Lost. It’s not even Veronica Mars. But Pretty Little Liars is that special cracktastic joy that makes my week complete, and I look forward to all the “OMG,” “WTF,” and “LOL” moments to come.

“It’s not over until I say it is,” “A” promised. “Sleep tight while you still can, bitches.” I’ll do my best.

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it's only like lost in that they never answer questions & there is no way they will be able to explain everything. it is more like a cross between gossip girl & I know what you did last summer. i will say that i didn't get bored watching it.
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This is a show that has poor and chilidish dialogues , some really big plot holes , by far too many characters but somehow inexplcably works because of the great deal of mistery that it provides
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If it has a Hurley Bird, I'm in!
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I saw a commercial for this show and almost barfed. Seems to me like it is for the tween crazy twilight girls...
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I wouldnt compare it to Lost as much as I would call it a freak child of "Gossip girl" and "I know what you did last summer" (freaks are entertaining I'm not knocking the show)....it has its "Lost" moments (like you mentioned where they answer a question by giving you 10 new ones)....but I think of the first two comparisons alot more before I think of Lost when I watch this....but overall.. yeah.. damn good show for something targetted at teeny boppers
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I'd say less Lost, more Teeny Bopper Twin Peaks. Which is still nothing to be embarrassed your addicted to.
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I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't reveal at least one main secret of the whole show. Uh, I hope we won't have to wait till... 9th season or smth.
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You summed it up well. The last few episodes had me on the edge of my seat. So many questions, so little answers...Come on June!
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I think the comparison is completely fair. I also do think it can be maddening to watch, though things like Ian (seemingly) being killed gives more satisfaction to the viewer than Lost ever did.
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I'm glad finally this website made a review about this show. Pretty Little Liars is one of the best, or probably the best new show of 2010. I think it surprised everyone. The way the writers were able to maintain the suspense throughout the season was just amazing. I agree with you. It's a bit like lost. It's true! And to all of you who are shocked by this comparison, there's no reason to be. I love lost and I see similarities. Like the fact that there's a lot of questions that they didn't answer (Lost was based on this). Of course they are not similar TV shows. I mean PLL it's about the death of a teenage girl and Lost is about a mystery island. They are only similar in the questions-with-no-answers thing! I just can't wait for the next episode!
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I hate the fact that people are so "up in arms" about the comparison to Lost. He is just comparing, he is not saying it is better than Lost or even as good, he is just saying they have things in common. It's like apples and oranges, two completely different tasts and looks, but in both cases the skin has more vitamins than the core and they are both fruit. I enjoyed this article and am happy someone on this website speaks up about ABC family and Pretty Little Liars. At first I thought it was a little clumpsy with Hanna's horrible fat suit and the over the top fashion the girls wear to school but then I started liking Hanna (however I am still working on the fashion) and when the mistery really started heating up after Hanna got hit by that car, I was officially hooked. At the beginning of the season I liked the Lesbian and Aria but then they started making stupid choices now I love Hanna and Spencer (both of them I couldn't stand in the earlier part of the season). Could you start writing reviews for each episode kinda like how you guys did for Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Lost? That is a problem I have with this website, their are not enough reviews anymore except for dreadfully bad shows like The Event and The Vampire Diaries.
More+
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*read it
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I loved Lost, it is one of my all-time favourite shows, and I watch Pretty Little Liars for fun and quite enjoy it, but I don't know how you can be mad by a comparison. In some ways, it is like Lost. In the premiere, it introduced a bunch of questions, and instead of just plain answering them, it has answered some but left more unanswered. Um, what other show does that sound like?
Also, the executive producer has said that Spencer and Melissa's car didn't hit Caleb and Lucas' car as they were only just leaving wherever Lucas picked Caleb up from. It's quite an interesting article if you want to leave it. Just IMO, Ian may have struck Alison, but Melissa so killed her.
Source: http://www.tvline.com/2011/03/pretty-little-liars-finale-burning-questions-answered/
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@headclub: I'm not mad just surprised at the comparison...a teenage drama is like LOST? I don't think its even remotely close.
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The lost fanatics are going to get in a fit over the comparison lol. Honestly, I watched the premier of lost but I Still have no idea what that show was about. Way too many mysteries and stuff that just didn't make sense in the end. I love Pretty little liars and it is one of the best shows to date especially since it is on ABC FAM! Lost to me, had a good premise but in my opinion i find that show stupid
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LOVE pretty little liars! i'm so sad i have to wait til june to get some answers (and more questions). total can't-miss tv
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I agree. This is the only show atm that I look forward to watching and guessing what will happen next. It is ridiculous but I expected it might be.
Who is A? It's killing me :P
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Love this show! :)
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Yeah I totally agree I just started watching out of pure interest but somehow I got hooked
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This show is so amazing :D It's got all that mindblowing mistery, along with romance that include great and complex characters( let's face it, some of the couples from tv shows are just surreal and shallow....like the characters).

And it's got Lucas, nuff said LOL ( sorry . Had to have my girly moment)
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PLL is very twisty with its plots which makes it great, but alot like LOST I dont think so, not even close all of the above questions are with asking and hopefully they will be answered , I was hooked on this show before the show started while seeing the previews now I am sad, I cant wait until June,now I have not read the books I have been holding off, now before the ladies stuck in the flash drive and saw someone spying on them with Alison in the video, did anybody else entertained the thoughts the Alison was not dead? I did, I might still!
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Its definitely not comparable to Lost, they're not on the same level, but it is a pretty complicated mystery. I agree with your point that its so twisty and complicated and always leaves you speculating. Glad June isn't /too/ far away.
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"Were Lucas and Caleb in the car that crashed into Spencer’s?" Hmm, I haven't really thought about that one. Wouldn't Spencer find out at the hospital though?
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It doesn't matter if you read the last book or not the series has already ventured away from a lot of the things that happened in the books that there is no guarantee it will end the same.
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you know if everybody would just read the last book you'd know the answers to all these pivotal questions.
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In real life these kinds of girls (tons of make up and clothes a billion times too stylish for high school) are the ones I hate(d) when I was a teenager so I'm only watching the show to see them suffer I guess xD (still catching up on season 1)
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Lol Louis, I actually like to call PLL "Harper's Island for teenage girls". Every episode you suspect someone else as the killer \ as A, and its really fun trying to figure it out. I personally suspect it's Mona, maybe because I watched too much Veronica Mars and know there are never meaningless supporting characters in shows like this.... Anyways I really enjoyed the season finale, and the first season in general. It's no Breaking Bad for sure, but its a fun watch. I recommend it to anyone who has some free time on his hands.
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If you drop Cal Lightman (lie to me) in little lie-ville and let him do his thing everything would be solved in 1 episode.... 2 episodes tops.
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Maybe it is not A LOT like Lost, but I see where you're coming from. Like the article and agree on everything. I thought I had an extra easy watch tvshow added to my enormous list of tvshows. Easy watching, boy did I guess wrong. I liked your question run as well... And I like Caleb a lot, so I hope you're wrong about the accident. But I am curious about who was in that car, and was it on purpose maybe?
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Really?? Nah Lost is the best of the Best...lol i never watched pretty lil liar...is that good? i am open minded....
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NEVER make comparisons with LOST and this crap ever again! lol...

terrible read
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It's not like Lost at all, but the facts about how confusing it is and the questions are all true. It's the kind of show where you can't skip and episode, or watch out of order, and expect to get everything, and there's so many creepy, evil characters.
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I completely agree with everything you say in this article! I watched it because I like GG as well, as just harmless fun and week after week I'm watching it with my nose pressed to the tv screen. One it does have over Lost, is that even if you don't get all the answers, the small ones you do get are mindblowingly fun, and occuring almost every episode.
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I couldn't agree more with Louis! (Except for the PLL being like Lost. Lost is in a league of it's own when it comes to spinning a mystery.) But otherwise I definitely agree with the first paragraph. I initially began watching the show only because of the good looking women. I thought it would be a soapy teen drama with a half-hearted attempt at a mystery plot, something that would pretty much bore me to death. But lo and behold, it turned out to be quite a pleasant little show. I've enjoyed it as entertainment knowing that the target group is teenage girls, and that the plot has been written according to that. And I'm a 27-year-old man with shows like Dexter, Breaking Bad, Fringe and The Walking Dead at the top of my list. Pretty Little Liars has definitely surprised me in a positive way. It has not settled for being a regular teen mystery.
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i watch the show too but I totally don't see it the way you do. The only reason I still watch is the whole A/Alison's killer mystery but like you said, it seems that those questions won't be answered anytime soon and it's starting to get old. It looks like they want to keep the mystery going this long because they don't have other ideas. the ending scenes were great at first but kind of redondant in the end. You always see the black hood and that's it! I'll still watch it in june but i'm not as passionate about it as you. And please, Lost was soooooo much better!
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Is Pretty Little Liars a lot like Lost? REALLYYYYY!!!!!!??????????????????
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I wasn't sure if I should watch this show or not. I've always like the look of it but didn't realise it's actually good! Might give it a go now.
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A lot of Lost crazies are gonna get mad at you for making this comparison. For one reason or another though, shows will be compared to Lost for years to come...
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