ABC Family has become home to overly dramatic shows, wild plot lines, and comedic acting—but who is to say that’s such a bad thing? After all, ABC family did earn the title of #1 Cable T.V. Network for Females between the ages 12-34 in 2012. It also currently boasts the title of #1 Scripted Television Series in 2012 for Females 12- 34, thanks to their hit show Pretty Little Liars. And Pretty Little Liars certainly has its fair share of wild drama, unbelievable scenarios, and less than subpar acting. Yet, it is still a historic hit for ABC Family.
This wild and longstanding success of Pretty Little Liars seems to be uncharted territory for the network. Many of the shows ABC Family produces are quickly exhausted. It often seems like the network doesn’t know when to throw in the white flag. The best example of this: The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show began in 2008 with noble intentions. It was supposed to shed light on a pressing issue: the difficulties piggybacked onto teen motherhood. Initially, it did just that. You would watch as a pregnant Amy Jeurgens tried to balance school and friendships while trying to determine what she should do with the child and the father. However, by season three the show began to take a turn for the worse. Pregnancy hit more high schoolers, the scenarios became unrealistic, and the drama dominated the show, loosing the original intent and much of the audience.
Other ABC Family shows like Make It or Break It and Kyle XY began with equally good intentions. The seasons kept going but often the plots were stretched and the stories become too absurd. Eventually, the shows lost their fan base and were canceled.
Surprisingly, Pretty Little Liars, a show nearing its fourth season, has yet to reach its limit. The show, that follows the dramatic lives of four girls being stalked by the mysterious “A,” someone who seems to be related to their friends unsolved death, has become the network’s number one show. And yes, the plot can be a little ridiculous at times (they’ve been almost killed one too many times for it to be believable) but it is still addictive. With all the plot twists, drama, and tension, it is hard not to become fully invested in the show. Every time Haleb (Hannah and Caleb) is strained or Aria hides something from Ezra, the audience’s hearts ache with the characters. It’s hard not to hold your breath when the four girls are on A’s tail, or be wildly disappointed when A slips out of their reach after they finally think A has slipped up and let them get to her.
Bottom line: it’s easy to be hooked on this teenage drama. It is no wonder ABC Family has the future of the series mapped out already. The fourth season debuts on June 11, and the show has been renewed for a fifth season. So it looks like the fans have a while until A is finally unmasked.
This historic success for the television network has also pushed them to create a spin-off series called Ravenswood, which is set to premier in October. Currently, not much is known about the new teenage drama. The trailer doesn’t tell you much, except it is going to be intense. It’s eleven seconds of flashing images: trees, a road, a gun, some money, and of course, a raven. The network has told us this much though: There’s going to be five strangers all connected by this curse, in a town called Ravenswood, which is pretty close to A’s territory, Rosewood. These strangers will work together to unveil the history of their town and solve some strange mystery. To introduce this, some of the characters of the new spin-off will make an appearance in Pretty Little Liar’s Halloween special.
This show has a slight chance of being the next success for ABC Family, but it might be another Secret Life or Kyle XY. It is going to be difficult, after all, as the fans of Pretty Little Liars will more than likely be comparing the two shows. Since the Liars fan base is used to such high tension, suspense, and romance, Ravenswood will need to be packed with it all. Otherwise, the fans will loose interest quickly.
So, it doesn’t seem that ABC Family will have a change of luck with this new show. Odds are against it. Ravenswood, given the history of the network, will probably tank and bring it’s sister show Pretty Little Liars down with it. But until October, all we can do is soak up all the Pretty Little Liars we can and hope, that for once, ABC Family doesn’t go too far.
Gina Brindisi is a freshman Writing, Literature, & Publishing major with a minor in Journalism. She’s your classic Italian girl from Long Island and she loves all things French.