Joseph Dougherty tells TheWrap what to expect on both ABC Family dramas
The characters of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” return on Tuesday to mark another Halloween and to help launch the spinoff, “Ravenswood,” with its own set of mysteries.
“It’s still the season of answers, and the Halloween special kind of kicks that off again and kicks it to a higher gear,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “Ravenswood executive producer Joseph Dougherty told TheWrap.
“PLL” ended its summer season with the reveal that Ezra (Ian Harding), who had a long relationship with Aria (Lucy Hale), is in fact on Team “A” and could be its leader.
TheWrap spoke to Dougherty about what to expect during the “PLL” Halloween special, the series’ second half of Season 4, kicking off “Ravenswood” and possible crossover episodes.
TheWrap: Where do we pick up on “PLL” when it returns for the second half of Season 4?
Joseph Dougherty: There are a lot more things that are discovered and revealed in the second half of the season and those revelations may produce as many questions as answers, but we really want to get to a point, and we will get to a point, since we’re almost done with the episodes for this season, where the fans will get as definitive a set of answers as we can give them on several of the mysteries and events. Season 4 was always about the answers, and solving some mysteries, but that’s just going to reveal new mysteries.
It sounds as if Season 5 is going to be a whole new world for “PLL.”
I think every year we’ve done this show, we’ve tried to find another layer. And that’s how we’re able to keep it as interesting as we have. So, we will roll the dice and shake things up on Season 5.
How does “Ravenswood” play a part on the Halloween special?
A major component of the Halloween episode is the way that Caleb [Tyler Blackburn] and Miranda [Nicole Gale Anderson] meet, which is on the bus that Caleb climbed on board of during the summer finale a couple months back. He meets Miranda there, and they bond over their backgrounds as having both been in the foster care system. And they think their paths are done when they get off that bus but no, they’re going to be intermingled quite extensively from then on.
What drew you guys to make Miranda a strong figure next to Caleb in introducing “Ravenswood”?
I think we wanted to make sure that Tyler, who plays Caleb, had a strong counterpart. And not cynically, we’ve had alot of success with female lead characters and we wanted to make sure we had a strong female presence in the series.
Do fans of Hanna [Ashley Benson] and Caleb’s relationship have anything to worry about?
No, that’s not done with. One of the other things that happens in the Halloween episode is that Miranda meets Hanna, and Hanna kind of understands where Miranda is coming from and the help she needs. She gets the girlfriend’s thumbs up. Hanna cannot believe she is being that good about it, but she does—she says this person needs your help.
Also, Hanna will make an appearance on “Ravenswood’s” fifth episode, correct?
I don’t have details in front of me, but the idea is that she will appear. We’re approaching [crossovers] on a case-by-case basis, because we don’t want it to get gimmicky.
What makes the timing right for a spinoff?
ABC Family wanted to have a show from us on year-round. I didn’t feel there was any reason to say no to a reason like that! We’re really on the top of our game now, we’re buzzing along really nicely and as I said we’re going to hit 95 episodes when we complete this season and we’ll hit 100 episodes in Season 5. And it was time to say ‘OK, fine, we’ve proven something. Let’s see if we can take what we’ve learned and if there’s another show we can do.’
“Ravenswood” has a more supernatural twist than “PLL.” Why did you go in that direction?
Part of it came from the reaction the fans had to earlier Halloween episodes. What became clear to both us and ABC Family is that there was a real hunger on the part of the audience for stories that pushed the boundaries of the supernatural, and were frankly a little more scary. And we’re going to try to feed that beast as best we can by telling more supernatural stories—the kind we couldn’t tell in Rosewood, things might seem a little weird in Rosewood, but it’s not in Ravenswood.
The “Pretty Little Liars” Halloween special airs Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC Family. The premiere episode of “Ravenswood” follows at 9/8c.