It’s no secret I love me some teen drama, particularly the polished, stylized kind with a dark twist thrown in for good measure. On the surface, it didn’t seem that a show based on the Archie comics I used to read as a kid would fit the bill, but leave it to a creator whose experience ranges from teen show staples like Glee and Supergirl to full-blown horror flicks like Carrie or The Town That Dreaded Sundown to combine the small-town teenage life and mystery elements into a hit crime drama set in the town of Riverdale.
It’s been 10 years since Gossip Girl arrived on the scene to change the way we perceive “teen” shows forever. Well, at least New York Magazine seemed to think so, and obvious hometown pride bias aside, I can’t say I disagreed with them.
At first glance, nothing about the actual premise of the show was terribly original – aside from the fact that its viciously nosy namesake narrator and frequent troublemaker is a blogger whose identity remains a secret until the final episode of Season 6.
I wish I were one of those people who rush to see every new movie (or at least the ones who appeal to them) as soon as they hit the theater, or like those who check out every new show that looks promising. Binge-watching has spoiled me when it comes to TV, so aside from the few shows I follow regularly, lately I find myself preferring to just wait and binge on slightly older shows or just focus my attention on mini-series I can watch start-to-finish over a weekend.
As far as movies are concerned, I go through phases. Some weeks I don’t even have the attention span to sit through a whole movie; others I refuse to invest the time unless it’s a must-see. Over the past few months, the only “new” movie I saw was Nocturnal Animals (loved it).
Then there are times when I try to dig up a handful of movies of a certain genre and watch them back-to-back. So, given my recent disappointment in 13 Reasons Why, I figured I should get my teen drama/rom-com fix wherever I could get it, so I picked a few films off of random recommendations:
I would really, really like to meet the idiots who gave this movie such rave reviews and punch them in the face. Seriously, why do I fall into this IMDb trap every single time? If only I’d bothered to read the negative reviews before sitting down to watch this crapfest, I wouldn’t have wasted 105 minutes of my life.
Between all the hype around the newest Netflix offering and my affinity to teen dramas, giving 13 Reasons Why a shot was a no-brainer. And if you want to talk first impressions, the show seemed pretty good in the beginning: great opening titles, nice soundtrack, a clever premise that puts a different spin on an otherwise common theme, and I’ve loved Dylan Minette in everything I’ve seen him in.
And then I kept watching. And the more time I spent with these highschool kids, the more annoyed I became. General outrage from uptight “concerned parents” aside, I don’t see this as a show that “glamorizes” suicide – but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. My main problem with the show is that it just wasn’t that good, and here’s a few reasons why:
In my never-ending quest to find new (at least to me), interesting and fun TV material, I recently came to a conundrum: I wanted something light and frivolous, yet complex enough that it would keep me guessing. Nothing too heavy or horrific, but peppered with mystery and clues that begged to be deciphered. Something over-the-top and unrealistic, with beautiful people and quirky outfits and snappy dialogue that I could watch while, say, engaging in house chores, but substantial enough to not just use as background noise. A show counting plenty of past seasons to provide entertainment for a few weeks without becoming tedious.
I’m not sure exactly what I was looking for, but I definitely found just the thing in the most unlikely candidate: Pretty Little Liars.
I know, you’re shaking your head and going tsk tsk and judging me as you’re reading this. But hear me out.
This one popped up on my suggested movies list when I was browsing horror flicks so I figured I’d give it a shot. Although it quickly became evident that there was zero horror element to the movie, it wasn’t half bad for a drama/mystery film. It just happened to be mislabeled as a thriller, rather than a teen movie that’s pretty much the equivalent of an unfunny Mean Girls with a mystery added in for suspense purposes.