Troian Bellisario returns to the even smaller screen with Season 2 of her web series, "Lauren," debuting on the WIGS YouTube channel with the first four of 12 new episodes on Friday.
She plays the title character, a third generation soldier who deals with the fallout of reporting a rape at the hands of her superior officers. At the end of Season 1, Lauren tries to put the incident behind her. But, that's clearly not the end of the story.
"She has a lot that she has to deal with, because her assailants got away with it," Bellisario told TheWrap. "They're not being punished, they're not being exposed for their crimes. Instead, they're still serving right along with her. So, she has a lot to deal with in terms of what her life is going to be from this moment on."
Bellisario shot Season 2 during her hiatus from ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," in which she plays whip-smart Spencer, over about 18 days in January.
"We were actually going to go right from 'PLL' into 'Lauren,' which I am very happy that we did not do," she explained. "But it was literally kind of a back-to-back thing. I think we wrapped 'PLL' right after Thanksgiving and then I went on a vacation over New Year's and I got back and jumped right into 'Lauren.' So, there was time enough to reset and to make it Lauren's story and not just carry over feelings from Spencer."
TheWrap spoke to Bellisario about the experience of working on the web series and the reaction it has been getting from viewers.
TheWrap: What's it's been like working with WIGS and this web series world? Troian Bellisario: You know, when I first started working on a web series, I was thinking that the production value would be much less or that there would be certain things that we wouldn't be able to get because we were restricted by the medium. But, it was amazing. It was rather like working on a feature film set. There was so much beautiful attention to detail.
"PLL" is one of the top shows on social media. Have you seen that translate to "Lauren"? I was a little bit nervous about what the "PLL" fans would think, because it was such a departure from my character on the show. [But], they trended world wide a hash tag that was "#ProudofTroian" on the day that we released the first season. Yeah, they could not have been more supportive. And they just get so excited and so looking forward to this next installment, which I really can't wait to share with them, so they've been wonderful.
What has been the reaction from service people? It's been absolutely incredible. I could not be more thrilled with their reception of it. These are the people, these are the stories you're telling and Lauren is not based on any one woman. There's a line Lauren says, "I did right." You want to do right as an artist by the people whose stories you're representing and the overwhelming response that we got from veterans, from women, from men, from members of the armed forces who have written in to say thank you for telling this story, thank you for getting it right, for representing exactly what it felt like. I couldn't have been more excited or proud.
Watch the first four episodes of "Lauren" Season 2 on WIGS now.
Below, watch the "Lauren" Season 2 trailer.