ABC Family's The Lying Game begins its pilot with Emma Becker (Alexandra Chando, As the World Turns) falsely accused of a crime. She flees her bad foster home to her recently discovered, separated at birth, twin sister's rich home. Convenient, huh? But the twin, Sutton Mercer (also Chando) has a plan. She convinces Emma to pretend to be Sutton, so Sutton can go and look for their long lost parents. Or so she says. With a title like The Lying Game, it's hard to know when someone is telling the truth and when they are not.
Immediately, Chando's similar look to Nina Dobrev (pictured left) will evoke comparisons to CW's The Vampire Diaries, where Dobrev also plays multiple characters. Not only that, but the fleeing criminal replacing the rich girl who has dark secrets of her own that she doesn't bother to fill in her poor sister about is also an accurate description of the pilot of the CW's Ringer, which premieres next month. Unfortunately for The Lying Game, Dobrev and Ringer's Sarah Michelle Gellar can act circles around Chando. Also, having seen the pilot of Ringer, I can report that both series are written way better than The Lying Game, and have a much higher-caliber supporting cast. So The Lying Game seems doomed to failure.
ABC Family certainly has a niche audience in their evening dramas, and that is teen girls. While The Lying Game fits into that niche, and certainly isn't any worse than other entries, such as Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the CW also plays to the same demographic, and produces series much more worth watching. Thus, The Lying Game will be competing for fans against superior shows. Also, saying this newest ABC Family drama is as good as the other ones at the network is like saying one frozen burrito brand is as good as any other. Not a high recommendation. And the fact that The Lying Game is based on a book does not improve the recommendation. It just makes the book's author look like a copier, too. Though I'm not accusing her of such, as it will depend where the concept goes from here to determine that,