'Twisted' review: High school is brutal

The series premiere of "Twisted" airs on Tuesday,

The series premiere of "Twisted" airs on Tuesday, June 11 at 9 p.m. on ABC Family. The show follows teen Danny Desai as he returns home after five years in juvenile detention. (Credit: ABC Family )

THE SHOW "Twisted"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday night at 9 on ABC Family

WHAT IT'S ABOUT In the quaint town of Green Grove -- not unlike "Pretty Little Liars' " Rosewood -- a brutal murder has been committed, by an 11-year old boy. He apparently strangled his aunt, 'fessed up, and has spent most of his teen life in lockdown. Now, Danny Desai (Avan Jogia) is out of juvenile jail and in high school. He wants to reconnect to his two closest pals -- the ones who first learned of his dastardly act years earlier -- Jo Masterson (Maddie Hasson) and Lacey Porter (Kylie Bunbury) -- but they're wary of him being back in their midst. Danny's good looks and slacker style disarms them -- until a high school student and leader of one of the A-list cliques is murdered. Did Danny kill her? And did why did Danny murder his aunt all those years earlier? The mysteries, and bodies, pile up.


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MY SAY Body found, brutally beaten . . . More bodies expected to accumulate (because, after all, where's the fun in just one body?) . . . Homicidal suspect lurks in quaint leafy village . . . Teen protagonists in grave peril . . . Yes, despite the name, ABC Family is rapidly becoming a dangerous place to star in a show. Its most popular series, "Pretty Little Liars," returns Tuesday night at 8 with new episodes, with its cliques, secrets (and bodies). And this new companion is obviously trying to get in on the action.

"Twisted" -- which previewed back in March -- is so much like "PLL" in spirit, atmosphere and vibe that you could barely separate the two with a knife, preferably a bloody one. What's especially amazing, too, is just how much alike it is to Netflix's "Hemlock Grove" (even to MTV's "Teen Wolf").

In fact, "Twisted's" apparent unwillingness to try anything original or even slightly off-formula will be either its undoing or the beginning of a long and profitable run. Lots of TV shows have done just fine serving warmed-over leftovers, so bon app├ętit -- I guess. What "Twisted" does have in its favor is Jogia -- well-known from Nickelodeon's "Victorious" -- who has that aura of teen appeal so inscrutable to adults but not 15-year-old girls. He's the charismatic bad boy who could be good, but is probably bad anyway -- which makes him irresistible. Go figure.

BOTTOM LINE Thin, flavorless high school gruel, but the lead bad boy is intriguing.

GRADE C+

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