When the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special airs next Thursday, it will serve as a kind of backdoor entrance to the show’s new spinoff. And afterwards, ABC Family will immediately air the first real episode of Ravenswood. I had a chance to screen the pilot earlier this week, and while I didn’t spot any gay guys or gals, I still think AfterEllen’s #BooRadleyVanCullen faithful will find plenty to love about the new series. Below are five reasons you should give it a try.
1. It’s 100% pure Doughtry, Goldstick, and King.
Pretty Little Liars scribes/producers Joseph Dougherty, Oliver Goldstick and I. Marlene King tag-teamed Ravenswood‘s pilot episode, and their fingerprints are all over it. Pilots, as a general rule, kind of suck, because the networks’ hands are all over it and the writers don’t really know their characters yet and you only get 43 minutes to sell an entire cast of characters and an over-arching plot/theme, which usually results in a pretty sterile set of tropes and archetypes. Even Joss Whedon‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been struggling with that in its first season. But Ravenswood sidesteps all of those classic pitfalls and delivers a top-notch script. By the end of the episode, you will feel fully immersed in this new town and you’ll feel like you’re actually getting to know these characters. Plus, with these three, you know you’re going to Hitchcockian, Kubrickian goosebumps on top of your goosebumps.
2. No, seriously, it’s creepy as hell.
You’d think you couldn’t out-creep a show about teenage girls constantly getting murdered and perved on by the ghosts of their dead friends wearing masks of their own faces, but you would be wrong. Ravenswood is sinister in whole other way. There’s stuff that will make your hair stand up on your arms, your neck tingle, and your whole body jump. Meg Foster as The Grunwald is deliciously eerie; every line she delivers sounds more menacing than Alison DiLaurentis’ threats and snarls on her very best day.
3. Familiar faces.
It’s not just our beautiful hobo Caleb Rivers who will help you feel at home in Ravenswood; the show also features Britne Oldford, who you’ll remember as Cadie Campbell from U.S. Skins and Alma Walker from American Horror Story, and also Brett Dier who is way more likable here than he was as awful Gene Corbett from Bomb Girls. Also, there’s mention of someone called “Officer Hogan,” and she sounds awesome.
4. You’re barely surviving without Pretty Little Liars.
Tell the truth: You need to feel close to Rosewood right now. You miss that place with an inexplicable, physical ache. Well, this is a good bridge back to our horrible home, which we won’t visit again until January 2014. There are plenty of Pretty Little Easter Eggs hidden in plain sight in Ravenswood. Twins. Red coats. Hoodies. Creepy teachers getting creepy on their students.
5. The production team has proven itself super gay-friendly.
If there’s one show we’ve been able to consistently count on to treat us right, it’s Pretty Little Liars. The show has had more lesbian/bi characters than any show in history, except for The L Word. So even though there don’t appear to be any gay lady characters in the pilot, that doesn’t mean we won’t meet some gay lady characters along the way. When PLL knows we’re watching, they shout us out on the regular. When they realize we’re into Ravenswood, too, I fully expect them to reward us with sapphic situations.
Are you going to give Ravenswood a try?