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SCREAM the TV Series! Don't watch it!

Scream the TV Series.  What a shitfest!  And although I know why I decided to give the series a shot in the first place, I don’t know why I stuck through it all!

Scream follows a bunch of white teenagers in the town of Lakewood as they explore and investigate the brutal murders of one of their friends, a popular and promiscuous girl from their highschool.  The murder sparks memories of the town’s sordid past, that of a previous murder spree conducted by a masked serial killer.  The killings and the style just seem too similar.  As the investigation continues, so does the body count.  Everyone from the jocks, the lesbian, the English teacher and the mayor (to name a few), are all suspects.  And behind one or more of those faces is the masked Lakewood killer.

Scream the TV Series is the television successor to the slasher film series by the late Wes Craven.  Although the two share the same name and general plot structure (i.e. of a whodunit?), the soul and the spirit of what made the movies work did not carry over.  I should note that the original Scream movie holds a special place in my heart, which is why I even decided to give the series a shot in the first place.  I attribute it with fueling (or refueling) my love for horror back when I was a teenager in the mid to late 90s.  I loved the premise, the witty dialogue, the characters and the mask!  The film was fresh and FUN as a satire on the slasher genre; a genre that all but disappeared during that period.

So unlike the movies, the TV show’s story was boring, the characters uninteresting and the mask looked like shit!  Yeah, they changed the mask!  Although in hindsight, I’m glad they changed the mask only so that it’s less tied with the movies.

See!  They changed the mask!

But back to the true gripes.  These are some of the worst characters I’ve seen in a TV show.  There is just about zero characters that you’re cheering for.  Even the main protagonist is despicable!  I think that’s the main reason why the show doesn’t work.  If you can’t get behind any of the characters, why would you care that someone is killing them all off?  Why would you care about any of the history?  The script can be cringe-worthy too.  There is Noah, who plays the geek-centric meta character, similar to Jamie Kennedy’s character from the films, with some of the worst lines and such forced name dropping of pop culture references.  However, every one in ten times, he does strike gold, such as when they are being stalked by the killer and decide to split up: “I did not agree to split up.  I am not retiring in 3 days.  I will NOT be back”.  Clearly, he understands horror tropes.  I think of the whole batch, the only redeeming character is Audrey, the outted lesbian character.  It’s very clear that she’s the best actress on the show, and although script is weak, she does the best with what she’s given.  She seems less bland than every other character.

Oh I should also point out the diversity of its cast!  There is none!  It’s a town full of white folks.  Actually, they had one asian person as part of the teenage troupe… but guess who gets killed early on?  That said, I can’t knock the show for the lack of diversity.  I mean, if they’re going to mock horror movies, then this is apropos.  Typically slasher movies of yore were only filled with Caucasian casts, so if the show did this intentionally to pay homage to its forefathers, then I get it… (except, I just don’t think the show was that smart to do that!)

The structure of the story itself follows closely to the movie – specifically, the whodunit structure.  Characters would disappear at opportune times, only to reappear and provide a weak excuse.  Other characters would say something offkey, with a dramatic music beat to suggest some evil intention.  There are a lot of dramatic pauses and a lot of looking out blankly into the distance.  All are really obvious red herrings though, weak attempts to throw off who the killer is.  It’s a tricky game to play actually.  Since the movies already chose certain archetypes to be the killers, the show has the unenviable task of trying to pick someone new.  If it’s the boyfriend and his psychotic buddy or the boyfriend’s mother and an attention seeking friend, it’d be too obvious.  But maybe they went the obvious route!  I’m not trying to spoil anything!  But I will say when the killer(s) is/are revealed, it was a huge letdown.  In fact I was like, “huh?  Who is that?  Oh.”.  Overall, the series just lacked the overall tension that existed especially in the first movie.  I still remember the very first time I watched it, how tense I felt because I didn’t know who Sidney Prescott could trust.  They just all seemed so believable!  Who was the damn killer!!!

2015!  Diversity!

In the season finale, they tease the direction of the forthcoming season.  They present the idea that an accomplice killer may still be on the loose.  If this is so, this is a complete departure from the Scream series.  With each film, you never knew going in who the killer(s) were.  If what they’re teasing is true, it would be the first time that they broke this tradition in the series.  However, as the whole show itself is full of red herrings, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just another swerve for the audience.

The show airs and is produced by MTV.  So every time there’s a musical number, there will be a pop-up at the bottom of the screen informing you of the artist and the single.  Apart from that, there’s no real MTVness to the show. 

And on that note, for a show that’s on cable and aimed at teens, it doesn’t do too bad in terms of blood and gore factor.  You never see full blown violence like in Walking Dead or any number of HBO shows, but they show you enough such that your imagination can take you the rest of the way.  The kills aren’t the most inventive but then again, the kills were never the reason why I liked the Scream movies in the first place.  It was always based on story and mystery, never the ingenuity of the kills.

Strangely enough, in a few weeks, Fox is releasing their own slasher homage TV series called Scream Queens.  It’s a show by Ryan Murphy.  Draw your own conclusions.  Although I don’t think it will be a deep show, I think it will be all sorts of fun and acceptable for what it is.  Just watching the trailer shows that it’s a bit more self-awareness and overall fun!

That said, don’t watch this show.  Don’t buy it’s DVDs or Blu-Rays.  It’s not worth your time.  If you’ve never seen them, you’re better off watching Scream 1 and 2… (3 and 4 weren’t that great).  Until next time, later geeks!

(Which one looks more fun to you?)


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