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Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars vs. Twisted: 5 Things These ABC Family Shows Have in Common

While Pretty Little Liars fans everywhere are celebrating the return of their favorite show — us included! — we here at Wetpaint are also excited about the series set to premiere after the Season 4 opener of PLL: Twisted, starring Avan Jogia.

ABC Family shared a sneak preview of the first episode of Twisted following the Pretty Little Liars Season 3 finale. And not only did we love the suspenseful teen drama, but we couldn’t help notice how much it had in common with PLL. Here are five traits these killer shows share:

1. Murder Mystery

As we all know, PLL has as its narrative catalyst the death of Alison Dilaurentis. It is the tragedy that first breaks the girls apart and eventually brings them back together, tighter than ever before. Twisted tells the story of three friends — Danny (Avan Jogia), Jo (Maddie Hasson), and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury) — who are also torn apart by a murder. In their case, it is the murder of Danny’s aunt who Danny himself killed when his was just 11 years old. He is subsequently sent to juvie and Jo and Lacey drift apart as they struggle to deal with the trauma.

The show takes place five years later with Danny returned. Initially, Jo and Lacey want nothing to do with him, but that begins to change as the pilot episode progresses. We predict the murder of one of their high school classmates will bring these childhood friends together much like the discovery of Ali’s body did the Liars on PLL.

2. Rock-Solid Friendships

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One of the best things about PLL is how close the Liars are, and the way they will do anything to protect one another. We think Twisted has the potential to do the same thing. Even though Jo and Lacey initially do not want to see Danny again when he returns to their high school, it quickly becomes apparent that they still care about him in some way. They are confused by what happened all of those years ago, but they cannot reconcile the boy with whom they grew up with the boy who killed his aunt.

In the first episode, Jo and Lacey slowly begin to let Danny back into their lives — and Danny shows he cares about Jo and Lacey, as well. He wrote letters to Jo while he was in juvie and makes sure she gets home safe when she gets drunk at a party Lacey helps, demonstrating that she still cares about Jo, too). Danny seeks out Lacey and the two stay up late eating Doritos together (a true sign of friendship) and talking. We’re not really sure what is up with Danny yet, but we know that these three care about each other.

3. Elaborate Conspiracies

Something is definitely off with this town and Danny’s family. Danny claims he had a good reason for killing his aunt that he can’t tell anyone about. His rich father died in a suspicious boating accident. The high school girl who is murdered in the first episode was wearing a necklace that belonged to Danny’s aunt. We’re not sure what these characters are hiding, but it reminds us in the best ways of the elaborate backstory continuously being constructed on PLL around Ali’s murder.

4. Morally Complex Characters

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This past season, PLL fans had to suffer through Toby’s seeming betrAyal. We hoped there was a good explanation for his membership on the “A” Team, but we couldn’t be sure. Eventually, we discovered that he was playing double agent so he could keep Spencer safe. We’re still not sure of the details of what Toby had to do to prove his “A” Team loyalty, but we imagine it wasn’t always pretty.

In Danny, we have a similarly suspicious character. Twisted was originally titled Socio, in reference to the nickname the other students have for Danny. In the first episode, Jo is trying to figure out if Danny is in fact a sociopath or if he really cares for the people he claims to — and so is the viewer. We’re still not sure what Danny’s deal is, but much like with Toby, we suspect that Danny truly does care and that he has good reasons for his evil deeds. Whether the justification is adequate or not remains to be seen.

5. High School Politics

Though the characters in PLL and Twisted regularly deal with life-or-death level situations, they also have to deal with high school politics. The Liars are often judged by their high school classmates, and so are the characters in Twisted.Danny’s return to high school and the drama it caused for Jo and Lacey reminded us a lot of the storyline in PLL’s Season 3, Episode 15: “Mona-Mania!” when Mona returns to Rosewood High after her time in Radley and the Liars have to deal with it. Everything the characters on PLL and Twisted have to go through is exacerbated by the fact that they have to suffer it all in the fishbowl that is high school.

Have you checked out Twisted? Did you like it as much as we did? What do you think it has (or doesn’t have) in common with PLL? Let us know in the comments below!

Twisted premieres after the PLL Season 4 premiere on June 11, 2013, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC Family.