Tuesday, June 11, 2013


ABC Family's original dramas seem to have two basic modes: Wholesome family-driven shows like Switched at Birth and the recent The Fosters, and superficially "dark" teen dramas like Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. Twisted falls in the latter category, with its ominous murder mystery and pouty, tortured teens. It's all completely sanitized and safe, despite the dead teenage girl who shows up in the premiere (and whose murder presumably forms the main plot thread of the season). There's another offscreen death at the beginning of the episode, as 11-year-old Danny (Avan Jogia) kills his aunt for mysterious reasons. Five years later, he's out of prison and attempting to restart his life by returning to his close-knit hometown and attending high school with his former best friends Jo (Maddie Hasson) and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury).

Danny looks way too much like a model to have spent the past five years in juvenile detention, and in general the show's "menace" is pretty laughable. The rest of it is generic teen-soap nonsense, enlivened slightly by Hasson's appealing performance as the too-pretty high school "outcast" and Denise Richards' basically reprising her role from the modern classic Wild Things as Danny's bitchy, self-centered mother. The banter is half-baked (although the show does its best to coin "socio" as a new slang term, referring to Danny's possible sociopathic nature) and the characters are mostly one-dimensional. Fans of Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game may find some entertainment here, but all I really want from ABC Family is another season of Bunheads.

Premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.

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