June 19, 2013



TWISTED:  Tuesday 9PM on ABCFamily

A lot can happen between the creation of a TV pilot and the production of regular episodes: writer/producers may be hired or fired, audience focus groups weigh in, networks and studios (which may have had their own turnover) give plenty of notes, helpful and otherwise, and critics start to rear their ugly heads. Tone, pace, casting, and even story can change. Here at THE SKED, we’re going to look past the pilots and present reviews of the first regular season episodes as well.

Previously… on TWISTED:  Danny Desai (Avan Jogia) served 5 years in jail after (as far as we know) strangling his aunt to death as an 11-year old.  Now he’s out, and his one-time best pals Jo (Madelaine Hasson) and Lacey (Kylie Bunbury) have–a little uneasily–resumed their friendships with him.  But his nickname at school is “Socio,” and there’s already a new dead body in town, her necklace (which had once belonged to Danny’s aunt) secretly in Danny’s possession, leaving suspicion aimed firmly in his direction.

Episode 2:  Nothing in the second hour of Twisted, written by series creator Adam Milch and directed by Executive Producer Gavin Polone, inspired much confidence that the show knows where it’s going.  It’s already something of a tonal mess, as this week’s episode introduced an abrupt, and somewhat off-putting, note of broad satire, as the high school attended by the latest victim and the rest of the show’s teens brought in a grief counselor who made the one on NBC’s canceled comedy Go On seem like an expert.  This blended badly with the very earnest soap that occupies the rest of the show.

Another potential problem is that Twisted is so concerned with holding onto all of its narrative cards that very little really happened in the episode–not a good sign for the first post-pilot hour.  We learned nothing about either murder that we didn’t already know, and instead the bulk of the hour was concerned with the relationship between Danny and Jo, and among their parents.  Danny’s mother Karen (Denise Richards, whose current look fits this character), despairing the fact that Jo’s father, town sheriff Kyle (a dogged Sam Robards), already believes Danny guilty of the new murder, tried unsuccessfully to gain some sympathy from Jo’s mother Tess (Kimberly Quinn), while Jo suggested a dinner for the two moms.  When Kyle invited himself along, skirting rules of search and seizure with some unauthorized snooping in Danny’s bedroom, a blow-out was sure to follow, and did.  But nobody revealed anything, either in terms of character or plot, so we just had a bunch of not particularly appealing people yelling and sniping at each other.  Meanwhile, Lacey brooded about her friend’s death and didn’t volunteer her alibi for Danny (which isn’t much of an alibi, anyway, since while she was physically with Danny, she was purportedly sleeping while the murder would have been committed).

With so little going on in the way of content, shortcomings in the dialogue and some of the performances were more glaring than they should have been, suggesting further difficulties for the show could be in store.  Twisted did fairly well in the ratings last night, rising from its sort-of-premiere the week before–but that “premiere” had previously aired several months ago, and Twisted still lost almost half its big Pretty Little Liars lead-in.  It needs to stabilize quickly, both in quality and in viewership.  The show should figure out its tone and start telling its story, because going around in circles isn’t the right direction.

ORIGINAL VERDICT:  If Nothing Else Is On…

PILOT + 1: Maybe Not

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."