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Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists TV Poster Image
Glossy, soapy, sexy revamp will thrill fans of original.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

As is typical on soap opera, everyone's cheating on, hiding something from someone else. Though good deeds are not totally absent, positive messages are subverted by glossy bad choices. Bullying is central to plot, as characters are blackmailed by someone who knows their secrets. Iffy behavior like theft, extramarital or illicit affairs, manipulation is common, though much has consequences for those involved.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are complicated, duplicitous; many can't be trusted and some are actually evil, like character who blackmails his peers into pretending to be his friends. Expect some to grow over the course of the series, others to be punished for their bad behavior. Alison is a tough, principled central character who has matured from unkind person she was in original series. 

Violence

Murder and suicide are central to plot. Expect to hear talk of violent deaths, to see occasional shocking sights like dead body of character we've gotten to know impaled on spiky fence with bloody shirt and open, staring eyes.  

Sex

Characters are very concerned with romance; expect illicit and secret soap opera-type romances, including same- and opposite-sex kissing and bedroom scenes with no nudity but lots of bare skin. 

Language

Language is infrequent but includes "damn," "hell," "a--hole," and  "bitch," as well as vulgar language like "douche." 

Consumerism

Based on book series of same name by Sara Shepard.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Expect drinking at social events, dinners, parties, as well as complications caused by drinking, including questionable choices. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists is a mature soap opera centered around dark deeds at an upscale university. The show is a continuation of the original Pretty Little Liars, and ages the main characters up to college age, so expect content that's at least as mature as in the first series. Murder and suicide are central to the plot, and occasional shocking and horrifying developments are to be expected. Scenes may feature disturbing visuals, like one lengthy shot from the first episode that shows a character impaled on a pointy iron fence with the points protruding from his bloody T-shirt. Same- and opposite-sex kissing is common; characters are also shown before and after sex, in bed with sheets covering private parts but lots of bare skin. Iffy behavior like theft, illicit romances, bullying, coercion, and manipulation is also common, though characters often get comeuppance for their choices. Adults drink at dinners, parties, and other social events, and may make poor decisions while drinking. Language includes "damn," "hell," "a--hole," "bitch," and "douche." Characters are duplicitous; expect few role models. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byZreea April 10, 2019

Murder and over the top thrills

Excellent pacing with fun moments of over the top thrills and tension/drama. Expect a bit of dark humour and characters with depth and internal turmoil. High... Continue reading
Adult Written byMimi143 April 4, 2019

Terrible

Pretty Little Liars is my top 5 shows of all time I have watch it countless amount of times I’m extremely disappointed that they turned it into this they should... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bysamantha.bilyeu March 22, 2019

Recommend

If you are as big of a PLL fan as me then I think that this spinoff was really good. I wish that it would have added a little more of the original characters, b... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycosgrove.victoria April 3, 2019
I believe that both Pretty Little Liars and The Perfectionists are suitable for kids from 11 and up because of how this common age is. Most girls and boys aroun... Continue reading

What's the story?

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: THE PERFECTIONISTS moves the Pretty Little Liars action from Rosewood, PA, to Beacon Heights, an idyllic and well-heeled college town with a perfect surface that hides (of course!) dark secrets. Fresh from a failed relationship, Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) is new in town, starting as a TA at the upscale Beacon Heights University. She's shocked to find out that Mona (Janel Parrish), the main villain of the original Pretty Little Liars, has extricated herself from certain ... complications, and is behind Alison's new position. But that little wrinkle is nothing compared to mysteries Alison finds at school, where Ava (Sofia Carson), Caitlin (Sydney Park), and Dylan (Eli Park) all revolve around the malevolent-seeming rich boy Nolan (Chris Mason), whose family has a strange connection with the university. When students start winding up dead, it'll take everything Alison has to solve the mystery -- without getting sucked in herself. 

Is it any good?

This revamp ably recaptures the glossy suspense soap opera tone of the original, linking the action to what's gone before while introducing a raft of compelling new characters. As in the first series, closet skeletons abound in Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists: secret romances, secret pasts, secret identities, secret plans. Plot developments generally occur when someone overhears something they shouldn't, or glimpses something mysterious out of a window. And there's no college get-together too casual for a skin-tight dress and a pair of five-inch heels.

But despite the lived-in genre conventions, there are smart storytellers spinning a web here. Whereas the mysteries of the first series mainly turned on the machinations of madly vengeful Mona, this follow-up sees your Mona and raises the stakes by revealing a strange surveillance system that's watching everyone and everything at Beacon University, manned by dark forces and intent on some dark business. Adding a Big Bad on top of the sordid things people do to each other on these types of teen soaps? Positively inspired. Guilty pleasure, here we come. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bullying. What instances of bullying exist in Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists? What different forms can bullying take? Is any one form more or less harmful than another? What role does technology play in bullying now?

  • Teens: Do you think this series paints an accurate portrait of college life? Are the characters' troubles relatable to you? Why or why not? What kinds of stereotypes does this show reinforce or challenge? How does what you see of college life on TV or in movies influence your own life? Parents: Talk to teens about the role models and messages in shows like this.

  • How do your relationships with your friends compare to those of the main characters? Are there things you'll discuss with your friends but not your parents? To whom would you turn if you were in a dangerous situation? How could the main characters have handled their situations differently?

TV details

For kids who love teen drama

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