Freeform's newest series Famous in Love premiered last week (just as Pretty Little Liars is coming to a close) in what appears to be a shameless attempt to wriggle its way into the PLL fans' hearts. Famous in Love is another teen mystery drama thriller with all the fashion, flare, and drama that everyone loves and is complete with the twists, turns, and tragic backstories that are the backbone of the Freeform network. No judgment here though--it's a formula that works and if it ain't broke don't fix it! If you love watching beautiful and melodramatic young people get involved in scandalous love triangles and go to glamorous parties while you're at home in your sweatpants polishing off a sleeve of Oreos, you're not alone. Teen TV shows are incredibly popular so don't be too hard on yourself. The drama free life is great but everyone needs a little excitement in their lives--that's what TV is for. Here are the 15 things that you should know about Famous in Love:
15 It's based on a book
Famous in Love is an adaptation of the YA book series written by Rebecca Serle including Famous in Love and Truly, Madly, Famously. The book follows Paige Townsen, a young college student who gets the chance to star in a major Hollywood movie after giving an amazing audition. Anyone in Hollywood will tell you that the likelihood of this overnight success is not only low but nearly impossible but why ruin the illusion? Not only is the series based on a book but the actual movie that Paige is starring in is based on a book as well. The book is called Locked and it's a real book that was written by Rebecca Serle (under the name Parker Witter). Locked is supposed to be a very big deal in the world of Famous in Love and, in the cinematic adaption, Paige lands the part of the heroine, August. The "meta-ness" of this concept may be a little hard to fathom. What's even harder to fathom is that Locked is only 85 pages long and, in the real world, it doesn't appear to be the literary phenomenon that it is portrayed as in the show.
14 The entire season is available to stream online
With the ushering out of Freeform's biggest show, it looks like it's time to change the status quo because they are officially trying to get into the steaming game. All ten episodes of Famous in Love were available to stream on the Freeform app and Hulu immediately after the first episode aired. This is probably their best shot to get viewers hooked since it's almost impossible to gain a following for a TV show if it's not available to binge. Most viewers aren't interested in tuning in each week for a new episode and they would much rather wait for the entire season to be available to stream on Netflix than start watching from the beginning. This new streaming tactic is also being used by Showtime, CBS, and NBC in order to promote their new programming this spring. It's hard to say at this point if it will catch on but it's unlikely that anyone is going to get hit up to "Freeform and chill" any time soon but time will tell.
13 Disney-alum Bella Thorne plays Paige, a girl who becomes famous overnight
Bella Thorne is in the same Disney graduating class as actresses such as Zendaya, Zoey Deutch, and Debby Ryan all of which have yet to make their marks on Hollywood like Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus have before them. Freeform is the perfect jumping off point for a former Disney actress and it's a route that many have taken to varying success. Thorne plays Paige, the down-to-earth college girl who is totally not into the celebrity lifestyle and she's just, you know, you're average gal. Super relatable, right? Well, yeah, if you're young, gorgeous, and can out-perform Meryl Streep. However, Paige is a bookworm at heart and, please suspend your disbelief, she feels more comfortable studying for her college economic courses than being in front of a camera. Paige has some stiff competition but she beats out the other girls for the part. When Paige walks the red carpet for the first time, she isn't thinking about her photo on the cover of magazines or her name in flashing lights. She is, of course, thinking about her homework. So relatable right?
12 There's a love triangle
What teen mystery drama thriller would be complete without a good, old-fashioned love triangle? The second episode is actually titled "A Star is Torn" which is very fitting. She has two roommates, one named Cassie and the other is Jake, an aspiring screenwriter and director who has major feelings for Paige. Paige also has a thing with Rainer, her costar who plays one of the two love interests in the movie. She totally falls for him and the two share a steamy onscreen kiss which makes it seem that there might be something between them. The best part of the love triangle is being able to root for your favorite boy like in The Hunger Games or Twilight. Things, however, get a little complicated. Jordan plays August's other love interest in the film and we found out that he is sleeping with Rainer's mom. Also Rainer's ex-girlfriend Tangey Turner hooked up with Jordan behind his back and now they have beef. It's more of a love quadrangle (or maybe even a love octagon) than a love triangle but hey, that's Hollywood.
11 It’s not just a romance, there’s also a mystery
...Well, kind of. As if all of this beef wasn't enough, there was also supposed to be a big mystery at the centre of it all. During the pre-show campaigns, the mysterious disappearance of Tangey was heavily promoted as a major part of the series but it turns out that it was scrapped. This makes sense because there is so much going on in the show that, if another huge narrative arc appeared in the story, it would be too much for the audience to keep up with. Tangey is still an important character in the series, however. She's a famous pop star who, as stated above, was romantically involved with Rainer and Jordan which caused major tension between them. Tangey has a controlling "momager" (think Kris Jenner) who was furious when Tangey decided to perform a country song. But honestly, can you blame her? So now the real mystery is...will Tangey ever perform a country song again?
10 It features a character who swings both ways
Alexis is sort of the bada$$ Hollywood diva who doesn't like competition. When Paige lands the lead in Locked, she quickly becomes her nemesis. Alexis manages to get the role of August's sister Maggie in the movie so she's always on set to cause more drama. There's even a point where she demands Paige take off her dress so she can wear it instead of her. Also, Alexis appears to be the token LGBTQ character for the series. We have yet to see if she will have a true romantic arc with a woman in the future but as of right now, we know she has two blonde ex-girlfriends who both cause a bit of drama for the actress. Also, Bella Thorne has been very vocal about her own preference recently after coming out as bi this past year. As far as representation goes, it's definitely a step in the right direction.
9 It’s described as a mix between “Gossip Girl and Entourage"
Charlie DePew who plays Jake described Famous in Love as a mix between Gossip Girl and Entourage which pretty much hits the nail on the head. Like Gossip Girl, it has all of the drama, pettiness, fashion, glitz, and glamour but with one major difference--it's set in Hollywood. And, like Entourage, it's about a bunch of Hollywood big shots and ultra-famous movie stars played by actors you've probably never heard of. However, people are always interested in watching movies and TV shows about the glamour of Hollywood that also reveals the dark underbelly hiding just beneath the shiny surface. For the past hundred years, audiences have enjoyed the tales of the Hollywood elite slowly destroying themselves with their own depravity fueled by immoral desires. Whether it's the story of Jean Harlow, Carol Lombard, Veronica Lake, Peg Entwistle, or Marilyn Monroe, the story of a woman destroyed by success and fame (or lack thereof) in Hollywood never fails to capture the imagination.
8 There's A LOT of drama
There are probably more feuds and scandals going on in this show alone than there is in all of Hollywood. It is honestly hard to keep up because there are so many characters and there is so much going on between them. First, there's a nasty feud between Nina (Rainer's mom) and a celebrity gossip blogger, a shameful secret that Cassie keeps hidden from her friends, Nina has never told Rainer who his father is, and Paige’s professor refuses to give her an extension on her college paper. Talk about drama! But that's just the tip of the iceberg for Famous in Love. A big part of the season's arc is Jordan's relationship with Nina which is very strange since Jordan and Rainer are ex-best friends. Also, Nina is a real piece of work. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and there's backstabbing, relationships, scandals--and it's only ten episodes long!
7 It has the same executive producer as Pretty Little Liars
I. Marlene King is the executive producer and show runner of Pretty Little Liars...and its spinoff Ravenswood which was canceled after one season. King is really solidifying herself as the matriarch and patron saint of teen drama and she definitely has a signature style. Now that PLL is coming to a close and the spinoff totally bombed, she's set her sights on an entirely new story with all new characters...with all the same drama. It's not exactly the same as PLL but it definitely has the same feel to it but with a lot less mystery and fewer cliffhangers. Still, it's about attractive young people getting into trouble, dealing with heartbreak, and occasionally getting involved with a murder. To create the similar atmosphere, King used some of the same directors of PLL for episodes of Famous in Love. It also helps that the cast is made up of a lot of girls with a lot of glam.
6 Bella Thorne is a lot like Paige IRL
If there is one thing that Bella Thorne is known for, it's her love life. She has previously been linked to British actor Gregg Sulkin which ended after a year. Then she enraged the Teen Wolf fandom after hooking up with Tyler Posey. She also dated Charlie Puth for a second before briefly getting involved with NBA's Chandler Parsons. She also made headlines for smooching her brother's ex-girlfriend (also named Bella) and coming out as bi in the same day. Her love life has been on blast for the past few years now so playing a character whose love life is all over the tabloids can't be much of a stretch for her. Bella is also a bit of a lovable mess with an affinity for bright lipstick of any color and the fact that she Snapchatted her colonoscopy (yes, that really happened). These shenanigans are reminiscent of Paige who is just scrambling to keep her life together as she is propelled into superstardom.
5 This is Bella Thorne’s first lead in a TV series since Shake it Up
Besides sharing videos of her bikini waxes and sexting Tyler Posey on Twitter, Bella Thorne has been up to a lot. She played one of Bill Paxton's nine children on Big Love before she got her first big role in Disney's Shake It Up which aired from 2010 to 2013. She and her costar Zendaya played two aspiring dancers who land roles as dancers on the a TV show. Zendaya has since graduated from Disney child star to the Internet's resident "woke bae" and is also starring in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Besides playing the mean girl in The Duff, Thorne has acted in a lot of low-budget teen movies including a film called Shovel Buddies which you've probably never heard of. She is, however, starring in an upcoming Nicholas Sparks-esque film called Midnight Sun alongside Patrick Schwarzenegger and that's just the beginning for her career. She is only nineteen, after all.
4 There’s a lot of Hollywood glamour
The two greatest aspects of teen TV shows whether it's Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars is, of course, the drama and the fashion. Let's be honest, the best part about going out with your friends is when you get ready together and try on outfits like your own personal fashion show. The over-the-top outfits on Famous in Love are similar to PLL because PLL costume designer, Cameron Dale, has also been hard at work on the set of Famous in Love. Let's face it, we all love to see the Pinterest-worthy outfits worn by the beautiful stars and then we try to recreate the look at home with little success. Still, it's fun to watch and drool over the expensive styles. What makes Famous in Love so great in this respect is that they're all huge stars in Hollywood which means red carpets, award shows, and swanky after-parties. That means TONS of glam.
3 It’s campy, melodramatic, and fun
Sure the dialogue isn't Oscar-worthy and the plots and subplots resemble those in any given soap opera but it's all in good fun. PLL isn't getting any awards anytime soon either but it's incredibly popular and it's fun to to talk about with your gal pals. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the world of high-fashion, sexy movie stars, petty feuds, and campiness galore. It's the sort of show that you can watch with your girlfriends and laugh at the ridiculous plots or binge-watch by yourself because you just HAVE to see if Paige ends up with Jake or Rainer. Famous in Love is perfect for a good laugh, over-the-top fashion, and serious drama. Living in LA consists of getting stuck in traffic jams, never finding parking, and getting your screenplay rejected for the fifteenth time. Needless to say, it isn't as glamorous as they make it look on TV but it sure is fun to pretend like it is.
2 There’s a BIG cliffhanger
Not to spoil the ending or anything but it is safe to say that not everyone makes it out of the season alive. Surprisingly, that's not even the real cliffhanger of the season. By the end of the season, there is major beef between Nina and Jordan as she threatens to go public with their secret relationship, Paige is head-over-heels for Rainer, and Tangey is desperately trying to get her career back on track. There's tons of drama that goes down in the final episode and you will just have to watch it to finally understand the ins and outs of it but it is definitely suspenseful. All of the angst, drama, feuds, love triangles, and power struggles culminate in the season finale and it will definitely leave you anxiously anticipating a second season. So we know that someone ends up shot at the end of the season but the big question/cliffhanger is: who pulled the trigger?
1 Season 2 has not been confirmed yet
Surprisingly, it has still not been announced whether or not Famous in Love will be renewed for a second season. So will it come back next year? It may be too soon to tell. However, with all of the hype and promo surrounding the new Freeform show, it seems unlikely that it didn't premiere with enough to success to warrant a second season. Plus, the whole streaming strategy may really pay off for Freeform since it is so much more accessible and convenient to binge a show than to tune in every week for a new episode. Honestly, the show was designed to be binged because it isn't really exciting enough to bring viewers back week after week. Freeform has already reported that millions of viewers tuned in to watch the entire season over the past week. If that's the case then Famous in Love fans need not worry. A second season is probably just around the corner.