Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday TV: The Lying Game

The backstory: The Lying Game is the latest teen drama to be premiere on ABC Family this summer. It's adapted from Sara Shepard's books of the same name (only two have been published so far: The Lying Game and Never Have I Ever); Ms. Shepard also writes the wildly popular Pretty Little Liars series, which has also been adapted for ABC Family.

The basics: Hear me out. Emma and Sutton are twins, but they only found out they are twins a few months ago. Sutton was adopted by a wealthy couple in Scottsdale, Arizona, while Emma is an a unenviable foster care home with a perverted foster brother in Las Vegas. When he frames her for stealing her foster mom's money, she knocks him out and runs from the cops. She alerts Sutton she's coming to Arizona because she has nowhere else to go. When she arrives, Sutton has Emma pose as her, while Sutton jets off to Los Angeles to follow a lead for their birth parents.

My thoughts: While I read mostly literary fiction, my television time is split between high-brow and middle-to-low-brow programs. I have not out-grown my love of teen dramas on television. Still, I didn't have high expectations for The Lying Game. Two episodes in, and I am singing its praises to anyone who listens. It has a lot of things going for it: twins, good acting (especially from Alexandra Chando, who plays Emma and Sutton), interesting parents, delicious devious backstory, intrigue and quite a few mysteries.

As a reader who grew up with three different Sweet Valley series, I never quite outgrew my fascination with twins. I own and watch Mary Kate and Ashley movies, and I have always been too old to enjoy them. Aside from the twin fascination, this show could easily go wrong, but I give Alexandra Chando credit. She manages to be convincing as both Sutton and Emma. More importantly, it's clear when she's Emma pretending to be Sutton. She's essentially playing three characters, and she's flawless. As a viewer well above the intended audience for ABC Family programming, it's nice to see the parents fleshed out as characters with their own secrets too (it's certainly worked well for Gossip Girl.) Adrian Pasdar is deliciously evil and Tyler Christopher as a cop is just the right mix of good and bad. There have been allusions to how or why the parents aren't still best friends as they were in high school, but the answers are just starting to come out.

The verdict: While the central mystery is most interesting (why did Sutton's parents not adopt Emma too?), I find almost all of the storylines compelling. I'm eager to see where the drama leads.

Want to watch? The Lying Game airs on ABC Family Monday nights at 8 p.m. central. 
Now tell me: Are you watching The Lying Game? Do your television habits coincide with your reading habits?

Note: I pay a pretty penny for satellite and DVR, which I use to record and watch this show.

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  1. This sounds like such a good show, but I am so conflicted about starting any new shows nowadays. Inevitably I find something I love and can't do without, and it gets cancelled at the end of the first season (if it makes it that long) This has happened too many times to count, and it always makes me so upset! Still, this one sounds like something worth watching.

  2. You and I are alike in that we both prefer literary fiction, yet our TV tastes seem to be on the lower end of the TV spectrum.

    I have been known to watch real trash! I think it's because I need to mental break. Wrapping your brain around lit fiction puts your mind in one place... when you are not reading, you need an outlet for the rest of your thoughts.

    I have not heard of this show but it sounds like something I would like.

  3. I never would have watched this show but your comments have me curious -- I'll have to see if its available On Demand and work through it -- I wonder if the books are any good?

  4. The only low-brow show that I watch is 90210. I don't even know how I got into it. I am sorry to say that I really don't think I would like this series. :(


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