Should Pretty Little Liars Fans Watch HBO Max’s Original Sin?

After several spinoff stall outs, does the Pretty Little Liars franchise have a future with HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin?

Chandler Kinney, Malia Pyles, Zaria, Bailee Madison, Maia Reficco on Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
Photo: HBO Max

This Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin article contains no spoilers.

When Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin was announced, fans of the original series were naturally hesitant. The show had only ended in 2017 and over the course of 7 seasons, the original became an iconic part of teen television that meant a lot to the people who watched it. It even led to two spinoffs with original cast members (Ravenswood and PLL: The Perfectionists), but unfortunately, both were swiftly canceled. So what makes Original Sin different? Will it be enough to last as long as the original or maybe even longer? 

While your first concern is most likely that none of the original cast are involved, this seemingly benefits the newest chapter in the Pretty Little Liars world because this is for a new generation. What Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Ashley Benson, Troian Bellisario, and Sasha Pieterse brought to life on screen can never be duplicated, but Original Sin knows that, which is why it could really work. It’s not touching that chapter of the story, leaving it open for the original cast to continue later on if they wanted to. 

Many grew up watching PLL and having five female leads on a series was incredibly rare and still is today. What we watch can help shape so much in our lives, and Original Sin will give that gift to the next generation. From the live tweeting to spending all week creating theories on who A is, PLL was an obsession for many. Plus, despite your feelings on the actual show’s ending, it was a pretty unforgettable journey. 

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So how do these new characters compare to the beloved OGs? They stand strong, not looking to replace them but rather allow us to get to know five new faces. The cast, which includes Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Maia Reficco, Malia Pyles, and Zaria, is more diverse, reflecting the world we live in and the people watching. Mallory Bechtel even brings the twin theory that was so popular with the original to life on screen from the pilot. Betchel’s characters, while not part of the liars, will easily remind audiences of Alison and/or Mona, who is played by Janel Parrish. 

While you see qualities of specific characters in each, they aren’t exact copies. This perfectly reminds audiences that the original liars opened the door for Original Sin to exist, especially Mitchell’s character of Emily Fields, who was one of the first openly lesbian characters portrayed on screen as a series regular in a teen show. The original never shied away from Emily’s sexuality, which is why the new series doesn’t have to break that barrier the way they had to at the time. The men of PLL, while all amazing and talented, were supporting characters, supporting our main girls rather than the usual other way around. 

One completely new element is the generational parallels in Original Sin between the new liars and their mothers. In PLL, the parents were barely involved, which is usually how teen shows go. This new twist for Original Sin does make it stand out in a good way, not paying too much attention to the parents but just enough to have us curious about how everything led to where we are in the present. 

Now when it comes to the tone, that’s where it gets interesting. The original was known for its intense mystery, leaving fans on the edge of their seat for the next episode. Everything about it screamed “teen drama.” Original Sin leans more into the horror elements, adjusting storylines to be a little bit more mature, even if it’s still a teen show. This could be both a good and bad thing, since at times you’re handling very difficult and what could be triggering topics, which need to be portrayed delicately, especially for younger audiences. 

Premiering the first three episodes was a brilliant move so that fans can get a little binge, but are then left wanting more until episode 4 a week later rather than finish the whole thing in a day. 

So what’s missing as of now? There’s one thing that comes to mind: relationships. The bond and chemistry between the main girls is strong and secure, so that won’t be an issue. However, a show like this one needs good ships for fans to root for. There are some hints of some promising romances, but you need them to jump out. Hopefully, as the story goes on, they’ll build ones that live up to the originals. 

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The bottom line is that there are endless comparisons that can be made between PLL and Original Sin, good and bad on both ends. The original wasn’t perfect, it definitely had plenty of flaws and plot holes that fans will be the first to point out, but it was special and it meant something to many. Original Sin has the potential to add to that legacy in the best possible way if it stays on this path.

The first three episodes of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin are now streaming on HBO Max. The next two episodes will be released on August 4 and August 11. Following that, the final three of the season will drop August 18.