This weekend I sat down to watch the pilots for ABC Family’s new summer series, Twisted and The Fosters. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a show on the network — having been a huge Gilmore Girls fan, I wanted so desperately to enjoy Bunheads, but just couldn’t — but I found myself pleasantly surprised by both (imperfect) new entries.
Twisted comes directly from the Pretty Little Liars mode of storytelling — pretty young people with secrets. I actually quite enjoyed Pretty Little Liars during its first season, but as the show’s “mystery” became more and more convoluted, I quickly lost interest. While I enjoyed the pilot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with Twisted, which tells the story of Danny Desai, a young man recently released from prison for murdering his aunt when he was a child. As he returns to his hometown and tentatively reconnects with his childhood friends, he becomes the prime suspect when one of his new classmates is found dead.
Though hardly deep, the actors are likable and there should be sexy fun in uncovering what Danny and the rest of his peers are hiding. I do have two major complaints, and they are both aesthetic — Denise Richards, who plays Danny’s mom, has had so much plastic surgery she is unable to move her face. (She is also a pretty terrible actress, but that’s another story). Also, what’s up with the facial hair on Avan Jogia, the actor who plays Danny? Yuck!
The Fosters, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, is actually more in the vein of 7th Heaven than Pretty Little Liars. Stef Foster (Teri Polo) and Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) are a lesbian couple who are parents to Stef’s biological child from a previous marriage, as well as a pair of adopted fraternal twins. When they take in Callie, a young woman recently released from juvenile detention, their family expands in ways they couldn’t have imagined.
While certainly not groundbreaking television, what I enjoyed about The Fosters was that it took its time, an undervalued virtue in television today. (Nashville, a show I love, is the biggest culprit of racing things along — many scenes are no longer than 15 seconds!) Sure, the tone is a bit treacly, but there is compassion in the writing, and the acting, particularly from the adults, is above par. The fact that there are two lesbian moms at the center of this family is neither ignored or belabored. I could see myself sticking with this one for awhile.
Have you checked out either of ABC Family’s new shows yet? If you have, let me know what you thought!