October 04, 2012 9:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'Pretty Dirty Secrets': Inside the Web Series That Keeps the Rosewood Mystery Alive
In Rosewood, Halloween is the scariest time of year.
While Pretty Little Liars has been off the air, weekly installments of web series Pretty Dirty Secrets have offered clues to the forthcoming holiday episode and the second half of the third season. The two-minute episodes thus far have introduced a pivotal new character (Halloween store clerk Shana, played by Aeriel Miranda), unknown callers and shady encounters with the likes of Lucas (Brendan Robinson), Garrett (Yani Gellman) and Noel (Brant Daugherty).
Originally born out of an idea from ABC Family, Pretty Little Liars recruited the help of web series guru Kim Turrisi (Venice) and Kyle Bown to continue to the "A" mystery. "It was a natural fit and a no-brainer," Turrisi told The Hollywood Reporter, crediting the show's executive producer Marlene King for reaching out.
Even though Pretty Dirty Secrets serves more than one function than the typical web-only project (it also has to follow the show's established mythology without straying too far), Turrisi said that she did not face any particular challenges or obstacles -- attributing a lot of that to the world that was already created. Instead, she viewed it as another opportunity for more story to be extrapolated by the show's "social media-savvy fans," Turrisi said.
When asked if there were specifics that had to be included because it served as supplemental content to an existing property, Turrisi noted that the Pretty Little Liars team was open. "There were things we came up with that would give viewers clues into what was coming up next," she said.
In fact, the biggest challenge wasn't the content within the short webisodes, but rather the visual look and feel of them. "Their main concern was they wanted Pretty Dirty Secrets to look like Pretty Little Liars and we wanted it to be an organic 'spinoff,' if you will," said Turrisi, who geeked out over working with "A." "We used the Pretty Little Liars crew [to shoot it] so there was no mistaking that the Halloween store was in Rosewood."
The introduction of Shana plays a key part in the eight-episode web series, and because access to the Pretty Little Liars cast was limited (only supporting players are featured in the web series), Shana's addition afforded an opportunity to expand a world viewers would otherwise be unable to delve into.
"We loved the exploration of the Jason-Cece relationship and layering in the Lucas-Garrett-Noel dynamic, but we needed a person that was there that could be another [pivot point]," she said. "We thought it would be fun to test out something new and when we met Aeriel, we thought, 'This is someone who could be dropped right into Rosewood' and not know exactly what she's all about."
In the sixth installment, when viewers saw Shana's texts and calls on her phone -- including one from a blocked number that simply says "We have to talk!" -- and photos of the Liars' Halloween costumes, speculation rose that "A" could have been communicating with her.
Watch the latest episode of Pretty Dirty Secrets:
Pretty Dirty Secrets runs new webisodes every Tuesday. Pretty Little Liars' Halloween special, featuring Adam Lambert, premieres Oct. 23 on ABC Family.