This last week of October is very, very important to me. Why? Pretty Little Liars is back on the air for its special Halloween episode!! Now, I understand that Pretty Little Liars doesn’t have the same critical acclaim and mega following as more popular shows, such as The Walking Dead or The Big Bang Theory. However, as a 24-year-old female that fits perfectly into the target demographic for the ABC Family hit show, I have my reasons for why I am hooked and what the show does to keep their loyal fan base tuning in each week.
One thing that makes this show stand out from others is how they end each episode. So just a brief recap, all four girls are being stalked and terrorized by a person called “A,” a mystery guy/girl that interrupts their daily lives with threatening texts and tries to turn their lives upside down. No one knows what A’s problem is and why he/she has it out for them, but these girls try to keep ahead of the game. Unfortunately, as the villain, A will always be one step ahead. After every episode, there is scene that shows A’s hands covered in black gloves (…shivers…) preparing for the next attack.
Some scenes are quite gruesome, such as creating dolls resembling each girl and then yanking the head off one A plans to attack next, or changing the number of the town’s population sign to one less. Yeah, A is pretty twisted. These 30-seconds of terror each week make every fan go haywire. What is A doing now?? Why is A sharpening all these knives!? Could A actually be one of the girls?!?
There are loads of websites, forums, and YouTube videos consisting of theories on A’s identity. The show is known for leaving plenty of reoccurring clues in the scenes’ background so fans gather freeze frame shots of them and work as a community to put the puzzle pieces together. I myself feel a sense of pride and teamwork as I contribute my own thoughts to the Youtube comment sections and see what my fellow PLL fans have to input too.
Also, the show’s creator, Marlene King, occasionally shares some clues on her Twitter account too. One of the most hyped about tweet clues was when one fan begged her to reveal anything to look out for in the next episode and King tweeted some kisses, and lo and behold, the next episode showed a character wearing a shirt covered in lipstick kisses!
Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for fans to follow each week is what keeps them hooked! Give them a small treat to ponder about and research about for a week to anticipate the next episode. They also utilize the popularity and mass-info sharing of social media so that everyone can chime in and create a unity among fans. Thus, Pretty Little Liars is not just a great show, but it is also marketing machine wrapped up in a pretty little bow.