February 12, 2014

THE SKED Midseason Premiere Review: “Twisted”


TWISTED:  Tuesday 9PM on ABCFamily

TWISTED finally uncorked some revelations to kick off the back half of its first season, and it was about time.  The show’s summer episodes had spent far too long dithering around the same mysteries without any solution, coasting on its luck at having Pretty Little Liars as a lead-in.  (Think of it as The Millers of ABCFamily.)  Change was needed, and during the hiatus, new showrunning Executive Producer Charles Pratt, Jr, a veteran of The Lying Game and daytime soap operas like General Hospital, was brought in to steer the ship.

Pratt’s initial hour, which he wrote and which was directed by Gavin Polone, left plenty of room for additional twists, but it did seem to clear up some of the fundamental plot points.  We now know that Danny Desai (Avon Jogia) was never guilty of the murder of his aunt for which he spent 5 years in juvenile custody, but took the blame to protect his father Vikram (T.J. Ramini), who appears to have committed the crime himself, and who lied to Danny about what kind of penalty he could expect.  Vikram, who faked his own death while Danny was away, may also have killed Regina Crane, the high school student who was blackmailing him, after Danny’s return from juvie, and been framing Danny for that murder too, although that’s less certain.  And now that all this is out in the (more or less) open, Vikram may really be dead, although he took one of those long falls off a cliff into nothingness that almost guarantees a body won’t be found and his status will be kept ambiguous.

Danny may well still be in trouble with the police, unable to provide hard evidence of his innocence, but nevertheless, the dynamic of Twisted will change, which should be a good thing.  Although the show periodically tried to raise suspense about whether Danny was a sociopathic killer or not, it was never remotely convincing that he was, so that trope can go away.  Pratt has added a new mystery about a shadowy figure seen just after Vikram took his plunge, and he’s introduced a new student at the high school who will undoubtedly be less innocent than he appears, and a former employee of Vikram’s who’s also an ex-lover of Danny’s mother Karen (Denise Richards).

Pratt’s taken some steps in the right direction–the pace of his premiere is quicker than past episodes have been as well–but that’s not to say that Twisted has suddenly been transformed into quality television.  The acting is of variable quality, and the dialogue hasn’t gained any finesse.  Narratively, the show is still littered with passive-aggressive not-quite-romances, with amateur detectives Lacey (Kylie Bunbury) and Jo (Maddie Hasson) both practically fingering their corsets at any sign of interest from their childhood pal Danny, and nerdy Rico (Ashton Moio) pining after Jo; just about all of them got to display some prize petulance in the episode.  Meanwhile, Jo’s mother Tess (Kimberly Quinn), who may have been the show’s most interesting character in the early episodes, had little to do, although that may have been a function of the night’s reveals requiring that much of the time be spent with the other characters.

Twisted is no more than a moderately diverting soapy time-waster, but perhaps now it’ll be a less dull one.  Pratt at least seems to be willing to move the stories forward, which is a relief.  Still, the show would have to improve significantly if it’s to suggest that it could have much of a life without its strong lead-in.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."