ABC Family’s series Twisted is a show that fits in comfortably with another ABC hit series, Pretty Little Liars. Like PLL, Twisted follows three friends who are wading through mysteries and lies surrounding their childhood. Danny Desai (Avan Jogia), who in junior high murdered his aunt with a jump rope is out of juvie on probation and comes back to town seeking a renewed relationship with his childhood friends Lacey Porter (Kylie BunBury) and Jo Masterson (Maddie Hasson), both of whom were traumatized by what he did five years ago.
Twisted has two main things going for it: A fairly unique plot revolving around the question is Danny really a killer and a sociopath, and its casting. It’s refreshing to have a couple of main characters who are minorities, yet have characters that don’t hinge on that fact. Any race could play any of the parts, and ABC chose actors right for the role regardless of race. Avan Jogia does a great job playing Danny Desai and especially in the first few episodes, everyone is wary that they are being manipulated by his character. Kylie BunBury also does a fantastic job with Lacey, a girl who doesn’t easily show her emotions, and she comes off far more emotionally mature than Jo, who parades her emotions around for all to see.
That’s not to say that I don’t like the character of Jo. She’s fun, plucky, and the kind of person you’d want as a friend. However, the way the show portrays her in the last few episodes of season one is cringeworthy. She comes off as extremely childish and having to constantly be patronized by those around her. This is the big flaw in Twisted, that the last few episodes aired revolved around Jo dealing with something that for a teen is heartbreaking, but put a bad light on all of the characters walking on eggshells around her for something that they should NOT have to apologize to her for. Hopefully in the upcoming second half of season one, the writers will have corrected this issue. Twisted isn’t the “Jo show,” and if anything, should be the “Danny Desai show.”
Why Twisted Would Make a Good Book Series: The mystery behind Danny’s action promises to be unwrapped over several seasons and could also fill a few books. Not only is he hiding something, but so are the main three’s parents, echoing another ABC Family series based on a book series, The Lying Game (sadly this one was cancelled after a couple seasons). It also has the quaint, small town atmosphere begging for description and amusing side characters such as Jo’s friend Rico (Ashton Moio), who is adorably awkward and will make a nice fourth to the three mains once he comes into his own.
Aside from the past murder that occurred, Twisted hasn’t actually been that, well, twisted, but the mystery has promise of being a vast, unwinding conspiracy, and in later seasons we’ll likely find that the characters we are following are more complex than originally thought. An intriguing question is brought up early on: What is a sociopath and can you tell of someone is just that? The implication is that perhaps Danny or even one of the other characters is in fact a sociopath, manipulating everyone — okay, at least that’s where I hope the writers are going.
Twisted is back on the air next week on February 11th, 9/8 central at ABC Family.