Ten years after the first episode of Warner Brothers’ hit show, Pretty Little Liars first aired, leading pan-regional Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming platform, Viu, has produced and released the very first Asian remake of the series.
Viu’s adaptation of Pretty Little Liars is set in Bali, Indonesia and is directed by Indonesia’s Emil Heradi. The adaptation features a talented cast of young actors including Malaysian sweetheart Eyka Farhana, Yuki Kato, Anya Geraldine, Valerie Thomas and Shindy Huang.
The series follows the story of five best friends who drift apart after the mysterious disappearance of their top girl, Alissa (Kato). Aria (Huang), Ema (Farhana), Hanna (Geraldine) and Sabrina (Thomas) reunite almost a year after Alissa’s disappearance when they all begin to receive messages from a stalker who calls themselves ‘A’.
‘A’ seems to know things about them that they’ve only ever told Alissa. Together again, they are determined to find out who the elusive ‘A’ is before their skeletons tumble out of the closet. While the main plot doesn’t stray too far from the widely acclaimed American series, Viu has found their own way to cater to our local Asian audience. Here are the five ways they’ve done it…
Location, Location, Location
Fans of the American show will know Rosewood, Pennsylvania, where the American series is set. Located on the colder side of America, this suburbia features characters living in lavish estates but also smaller apartments and its climate sets the mood of the show: understated, dark and mysterious. But where the Southeast Asian climate lacks those things, the latest Viu Original makes up for it by being bold and dangerous like the summer heat. You’re guaranteed to enjoy the affluent beach town of Amerta, Bali – where Pretty Little Liars takes place – with its brighter, tropical weather which offers stunning locations from beach clubs to luxury villas to trendy cafes.
Yes, blazers are cool but they won’t keep you cool in the year-long Indonesian summer. Fashion plays a major influence on both versions of the series. Viu Original’s Pretty Little Liars is trading autumnal prints, layering upon layering and cool jewel toned colours with sleeveless tops, tunics, flowy skirts and denim shorts. Wardrobe essentials to beating the tropical weather! Even the boys of the Viu Original series have upgraded their closet to mandarin collars and floral shirts – not dissimilar to something you’d see in any urban city in Southeast Asia. No need for a winter closet here!
While the American show was written only in English, the Viu Original will feature dialogue in not one, but three different languages – Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia and English. Don’t worry if you can’t speak or understand all three though, subtitles will be provided! Southeast Asia is a true melting pot of cultures that have adopted elements and learnings from far and wide, to cultivate the rich culture that it has today. Most of us can all be found guilty of using words in at least two or three different languages in one sentence.
Celebration of Diversity
Pretty Little Liars originally caters to a Western audience following a Eurocentric narrative but Viu’s adaptation, due to its rich multicultural history, has a bit more flexibility in exploring identity regarding ethnicity. It underlies the entire show in even the smallest of details. You’ll smile as you recognize Ema’s mother, a Malaysian living in Amerta, wearing a traditional baju kurung and cooking nasi kandar but you’ll feel your emotional heartstrings pulled watching Ema struggle with her faith as she tries to balance having fun with her friends and pleasing her conservative parents.
You’re guaranteed to get your fix of local culture from cool girl, Aria (and Eric). Aria, who is deeply passionate about English Literature on the American show, is now a Bahasa Indonesia Literature student who quotes poems in her mother tongue from memory and spends her free time visiting local exhibitions and independent films with her mother. This subtle difference, while staying true to the original character, allows the show to play around and showcase the local arts and culture scene.
Excited to check out all these little secrets we’ve just shared? Well, all 10 episodes of Pretty Little Liars are available on Viu now. You can stream this teen drama mystery thriller series across various Viu platforms including the mobile app, mobile browser, desktop, Android TV and selected LG TVs. Also available in Bahasa Malaysia and English subtitles for all Viu-ers to enjoy.