let's talk ravenswood

The time has come. Let's talk Ravenswood, shall we?

I know I don't need to tell you how...displeased I was with the idea of Hot Caleb leaving Rosewood for the distinctly murkier backdrop of Ravenwood, population 74923 (but really, more like 8). There are so many reasons this was not a good thing as far as I was concerned, the main one being that the Haleb relationship would surely suffer. How could it not? But as with all spinoffs of shows I adore, I had to give it a shot once it aired, and now that we've reached the 10-episode winter finale benchmark, I think it's finally time to weigh in with some thoughts:


1. Is there really any way to start this list other than with the below video? No? Good, I'm glad we're on the same page (apologies for the excessive video bookends--this was the only version I could find online!):

2. All Hot Caleb all the time. I love getting to see plenty of Tyler Blackburn on my screen when I'm watching Ravenswood. It makes up for all those episodes of PLL when he was curiously absent, and not to get into The Bad while we're still discussing The Good, but Tyler is really carrying this thing. Boy can act and sure, he's (mostly) not making out with Hanna (though see point #4!), but he is getting a chance to show off his skills beyond ridiculously attractive computer hacker boyfriend extraordinaire and sometimes bromancer of Creeper Toby.

3. It's actually quite spooky. PLL still takes the prize for most creepy points overall, but Ravenswood is paying its dues with scary imagery, terrifying little blonde girls, and plenty of things that go bump in the night. My only issue here is that sometimes the creepiness leans a little too far toward horror, which I'm personally not a fan of, but I think they're still finding the right balance. Overall, the fright factor seems a bit more adult than on PLL, and that allows the show to stand on its own two legs.

4. Occasional appearances/mentions of the irrepressible Ms. Hanna Marin. Thank goodness there was no attempt to move Hot Caleb to Ravenswood with nary a mention of the love of his life. One of my main issues with a Hot Caleb spinoff is that PLL had done such a good job of building up the Haleb dynamic so that it was interesting and enjoyable without the show having to keep breaking them up for drama. Sure, that happened, but only when it really made sense to the plot. The rest of the time, they were an excellent representation of how a strong couple works. To break that apart for the sake of a spinoff felt wrong, but I'm happy to say that the show runners are handling the separation with a lot of respect, keeping Hanna on Hot Caleb's mind and occasionally in his sights. Their deep, complex and passionate relationships seems to be weathering the transition okay. At least for now.

5. Miranda. I know, I know. Not where you thought I'd go with this, right? Yes, Miranda is "the other woman", and part of me hates her for that, but again, this whole situation has been handled fairly well so far (hell, Hanna was even the one to push Hot Caleb toward Miranda in the first place!). Obviously, as a diehard Haleb fan, I do not want to see Hot Caleb and Miranda together, but Miranda as a character on her own? I actually kinda dig her. Aside from Tyler Blackburn, and a few of the adult actors on the show, she's the only other person who's really bringing something to table here. And hey, based on that finale, maybe she'll hook up with Flashback Caleb and leave Hot Caleb for Hanna. That way everyone gets a Caleb and everybody wins! I am on board with this idea.


1. The kids who aren't Hot Caleb or Miranda. I tried to give these guys a chance, but so far, I'm not feeling it. There's a certain spark that's lacking here. A certain dynamic that exists between the Liars that the Ravenswood crew just doesn't have. They aren't as quippy, aren't as fashionable, and aren't as easy to be emotionally invested in. And sorry, Olivia, but you're no Spencer Hastings, so step off with that hair and those clothes. They don't even compare.

Accept no imitations!
2. Remy's sleep issues zzzz...... I just. can't. bring. myself. to. care. If it had been a 1-2 episode arc, sure, that would have been fine, but they drew the whole Remy is having nightmares that may or may not kill her and everyone she loves thing out for waaaay too long. Or maybe it just felt that way because it was boring. Remy is fine enough as a character for the most part, but she can also be kinda bland and cardboardy. I wish she had a bit more spunk, and a little less sleep drama.

3. Rehashing the same issues. I have to admit, I may have some of my facts wrong because I tend to tune out when Olivia, Luke and Remy are on the screen without Hot Caleb or Miranda, but how many times are they going to rehash the fact that Olivia and Luke's mom didn't kill their father? Hasn't she been arrested at least twice at this point? Can we introduce a few more characters and start steering away from trampling already worn-out tropes to death?

4. Luke's kind of an asshole. I have no idea if this will be a super unpopular opinion or not, but Luke can be questionable at times. Maybe he just seems dull in comparison to Hot Caleb and his amazing boyfriending skills, but Luke also seems to fail as a brother and a son on a regular basis. Not only does he suffer from not being able to sit still long enough to listen to reason, but he does things like get jealous over the fact that his twin sister had sex before him (How dare she? She's a girl!) and then tries to leverage that info to re-open a discussion about getting it on with his girlfriend, who, by the sounds of it, has already made it perfectly clear that she doesn't wanna cash in her v-card until after graduation (which seems arbitrary to me, but you gotta respect the gal's decisions).

5. Where is this all going? I understand that the point of a spin-off is to have two successful shows under your brand instead of just one, but seriously, where is this spin-off going to go? The basis for Ravenswood is this old curse, which apparently Hot Caleb is a part of, but correct me if I'm wrong, it didn't seem to have any effect on his life prior to moving to Ravenswood. So by that same token, wouldn't the whole curse thing kinda just go away if everybody affected by it moved out of Ravenswood? I guess I'm just not seeing the longterm plan for this show. I suppose the same could be said for PLL and its mystery-at-large, but PLL has so much more going for it that I don't care if they find stupid ways to drag that story out.


In conclusion, I'm not 100% sure I'm feeling it with Ravenswood, but I'm going to stick around for Hot Caleb and the hope that the show is still working out its kinks. I'm not planning to recap it on a regular basis as I do with PLL (season catch-up recap coming soon!), but I'm sure I will mention it from time to time, especially as it effects our favourite Little Liars.  For now, I'm okay with Hot Caleb and Hanna being apart, but I would be pleased and quite impressed if the shows manage to maintain that cross-show connection without slowly pulling away from it to allow Hot Caleb to be with Miranda and Hanna to be with that guy who I'm pretty sure was on Friday Night Lights or something. Basically, as long as Haleb still have a shot at being endgame, I'll go along for the ride. But I still think Miranda should hook up with Flashback Caleb. He's a ghost and everything! What more could a modern post-mortem girl want? :)