‘The Perfectionists’: Not perfect, but enjoyable

Brian Connors, A&E Editor

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When “Pretty Little Liars” premiered in the summer of 2010, the teen thriller immediately captivated audiences. Its perfect blend of mystery, romance and drama set in the small Pennsylvania town of Rosewood was enough to make it one of the most talked-about shows on social media.

After seven seasons and 160 episodes, the once-thrilling show started to run out of steam. Despite this, its loyal fans watched until the very end. Assuming the dedication of “Pretty Little Liars” nation is still strong, the show’s new spinoff “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” should have no trouble getting its feet off the ground.

“Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” follows former Rosewood queen bee AlisonDiLaurentis as she begins a new job as a teacher’s assistant at the elusive Beacon Heights University in Oregon. Mona Vanderwaal, the original villain from the flagship series, is also working at the college as a student recruiter.

Ava Jalali, Caitlin Park-Lewis and Dylan Walker, three of Alison’s students, round out the main cast as the university student body struggles to keep up perfect personas at a school where perfection is a requirement. For various reasons, the three faux-friends are being blackmailed by Beacon Heights it-boy Nolan Hotchkiss.

 

OFFICIAL “PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: THE PERFECTIONISTS” TRAILER
The “Pretty Little Liars” spinoff follows PLL veterans Alison and Mona, as well as a few new faces (pictured above) while a mystery unfolds at Beacon Heights University.

Eventually, they get tired of Nolan’s constant manipulation and plan to stand up to him. An English assignment involving Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” even makes them joke about killing him. Shockingly, when the three arrive back on campus, Nolan is found dead in the exact way that they had imagined murdering him.

It’s an intriguing concept, one that can persuade any victim of PLL fatigue to tune in. Overall, the show is entertaining. It has the stylistic elements of “Pretty Little Liars” with a fresh, new storyline for fans who got sick of the original series’ repetitive mysteries.

My biggest critique is that I cannot help but feel this series would have benefited from being a stand-alone rather than a spin-off. As a viewer, the most intriguing moments are the ones featuring the new cast. “Perfectionists” is best when it allows its new world to take center stage.

The plot suffers every time the show forces itself to give PLL exposition. In the second episode, there is literally a whole scene where Mona talks to Hanna Marin on the phone in order to get updates on past PLL characters.

Other than the ghosts of liars’ past, “Perfectionists” is a fun show for anyone in love with teen soaps. The collegiate setting is much better suited for the adult themes of the genre as opposed to shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Riverdale.”

The score is divine, seamlessly weaving in moody versions of classic songs. One of my other favorite parts of the spinoff is the character Dylan, who is openly gay. On the original show, Emily Fields, the lesbian of the group, would often get the short end of the stick when it came to love scenes. Dylan has gotten several in the first two episodes. It is awesome to see that representation.

“Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” is not perfect but unlike its characters, it does not have to be. It has a lot of potential to be a great series but for now, it is perfectly content with being a PLL replacement.