Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is a two-fold slasher mystery that has mysteries spanning from 1999 that remain years later. An indirect spinoff from the original PLL, the third attempt of a spin off starts unlike any of its predecessors and focuses on the mothers of the new main girls. The tone is set straight away in the opening sequence, helped by an unsettling remix of “Secret” for the while the new ‘A’ destroys photos of the of the main cast on a murder board. This new ‘A’ already establishes themselves as darker, more violent than any of the other ‘A’ counterparts from shows that came before it.
The series opens with the flashback of 1999 with the suicide of Angela Waters (Gabriella Pizzolo) who begs the five girls who bullied and ostracised her throughout high school. Years later, their teenage daughters come together.
Imogen (Bailee Madison) is the pregnant daughter of Davie, Tabatha “Tabby” (Chandler Kinney) the film obsessed daughter of Sidney, Faran (Zaria) the ballerina daughter, Minnie “Mouse” (Malia Pyles) the technology driven daughter of Elodie and Noa the track star back from juvie and daughter of Marjorie. They decide to take down Karen, (Mallory Bechtel) who is described as a “walking microaggression,” who used to be close friends with Imogen until six months prior to the series start. Karen has a slightly meeker twin, (also Mallory Bechtel) who the main cast believes is responsible for all the unnerving things going on.
The original series appealed because people loved to watch these popular pretty liars behaving badly and the mystery of ‘A’ and Alisson but Original Sin keeps ‘A’ and ditches the romance to focus on the mysteries past and present to create an interesting plot of a mystery slasher drama. Imogen, Tabby, Sidney and Noa decide enough is enough and band together to take down Karen not knowing that it might be ‘A’ who is responsible for their recent trauma.
Original Sin is a darker, violent show wrapped in mystery than the original and it works. The first five episodes were provided for this review and ‘A’ physically appears throughout the series, with minimal ‘A’ texts. The threat of ‘A’ is present as they are always around, hiding in their costume and mask. It is reminiscent of slasher horror as ‘A’ stalks the new girls for the sins of their mothers. Horror references are made throughout the series visually which works as a benefit for the show. Where the frequent references are a let down is through the film enthusiast Tabby. Tabby is constantly saying names of films to describe everything to the point of tiredness. At first, it is a welcome distraction to the strain and intrigue of the creepier, and often violent, moments but after the millionth reference from Tabby it becomes a little tired.
The characters of Original Sin are unique to themselves and away from the liars of the original PLL. While the originals came together because of ‘A’ and are bound by their manipulative leader (Ali), this group seems to genuinely like each other. The new cast of characters seem to be bound together by genuine care for one another, especially in times of need. Alison DiLaurentis would have nothing on Karen who is much more vindictive, cunning, and nasty than Alison ever was. Imogen, Tabby, Mouse, Farnan and Noa are their own identities within the show and within the PLL-verse, none of them are copies of the former title characters, instead they each have their own secrets and storylines that serve the mystery.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is an intriguing mystery, slasher drama that compels and creates an intrigue on the mysteries of the parents and their children. The new ‘A’ is more violent, sadistic and brazen but with the new group being resourceful, more dimensional and willing to put up a fight it should be an interesting series.
Overall, 8/10. The mysteries are well set up with bits and pieces revealed to spur it on.
Imogen takes the crown as MVC for how she orchestrates the group against Karen and her determination to find the secrets of the past and keep the group together.
Original Sin premiers July 28th on HBO Max.