Skyler Samuels

Hello, kitty!

ABC Family let its cat-powered new teen drama out of the bag last night and from the fun, fast-paced pilot, we're inclined to say that Pretty Little Liars (which kicked off its second season in killer style an hour earlier) has quite the fitting companion piece. It's not PLL-level addictive yet, but it's far from a runt.

Starring the immensely charismatic Skyler Samuels, Nine Lives of Chloe King tells the tail, er, tale of a quirky teen who gets more than a cake for her 16th birthday: She also learns that she's descended from an ancient race of cat people known as the Mai... and that they are being hunted by something far scarier than dogs. Imagine Buffy with claws.

Watercooler was on set recently and got a chance to chat with Samuels, who previously tangled with the otherworldly on ABC's short-lived The Gates. "Chloe's very much an individual, and she's just trying to figure out life to begin with," she explained between takes of a third-episode scene that will turn the plot on its ear. "Then this whole supernatural factor comes in and she's like, 'Oh, great, one more thing I need to deal with!'"

While the actress says the show will veer from the Alloy Entertainment book series it's based upon — "the basic idea is there, but I think the books are much more focused on the [Mai] mythology, where we have added the fun love triangles and the action" — producer Dan Berenden promises a level of sassiness that sets Chloe apart from other Alloy-inspired young adult shows. "On one level, it's a great teen drama with a love triangle and the angst, but we also have a humor element that you might not see on a Gossip Girl or Vampire Diaries," says Berendsen. "And at the same time, we're promising a certain amount of action each week."

Sounds like the purr-fect summer escape to us. How about you? Did you check out Nine Lives?

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