If there was any TV show announcement I faced with glee and fear, it was MTV’s Scream: The TV Series. Wes Craven’s first Scream slashed its way deep into my heart when it came out in December 1996 — I still can’t believe it’s celebrating its 20th birthday this year. But it struck at the right time when horror movies were getting a really bad rap and whatever quality there could be was sorely lacking. Then along came the Craven/Kevin Williamson team up that reinvigorated the genre and gave filmmakers a whole new template to work with. Granted, Williamson’s own were the best, but had it not been for Scream, we never would have had I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, Valentine, nor Scream 2 or 3.
So, how was MTV going to capture that lightning in a bottle again in Scream: The TV Series — especially so far after its expiration date? Not even Scream 4 could relaunch the series the way the Weinsteins (Harvey and Bob) hoped back in 2011. Imagine my surprise when MTV posted the opening scene where young high schooler Nina (Bella Thorne) is our first victim in an amazing update of the Drew Barrymore opening. From there, the mystery gets deeper as the teens and citizens of Lakewood fall into a mystery involving cyberbullying and the possible return of the infamous deformed killer thought dead for years.
Who is stalking poor innocent Emma (Willa Fitzgerald)? The red herrings pile up as fast as the body count. Could it be the jilted filmmaker Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus)? Resident serial killer/horror movie expert Noah (John Karna)? The football jocks Jake (Tom Maden) or Will (Connor Weil) — who also happens to be Emma’s ex? Or how Kieran (Amadeus Serafini) is the son of Sheriff Clark Hudson (Jason Wiles) and the new kid in town? And Sheriff Clark who just happens to have on again/off again relationship with Emma’s mother Maggie (Tracy Middendorf) — who seems to harboring a dark secret? It could also be the blasted nosy podcaster Piper Shaw (Amelia Rose Blaire) investigating the murders Serial-style. Or it could be the creep English teacher Seth Branson (Bobby Campo) who is wooing Emma’s best friend Brooke (Carlson Young).
All bets are off for the poor town of Lakewood as the masked killer stalks his prey with his trusty voice changer and menacing texts.
Scream: The TV Series – Season One doesn’t come jam packed with special features, but they do get you excited for season two’s premiere coming up on May 30. Here’s what we do get: first is the obligatory “Gag Reel” (2:52) showing the cast having a lot of fun on set. Next is a collection of “Deleted Scenes” from various episodes: Episode 5: “Plan B” (0:53); Episode 6: “Brooke Investigates the Freezer” (1:35) and “Shooting Range” (1:05); Episode 8: “Maggie & Sheriff Hudson Make Up” (0:35); and Episode 9: “Noah at Work” (0:20), “Piper and Emma Take a Ride” (0:22), and “Brooke Makes Up Her Mind” (0:43). All of them are so short they could have been left in, but absolutely none of them add anything to the bulk of the show. A promotional gallery breaks down all the characters with the cast: “The Fool” (0:35), “The Sex Object” (0:47), “The Innocent” (0:40), “The Scholar” (0:42), “The Jock” (0:38), “The Loner” (0:39), “Killer Predictions” (1:29), “Am I Next?” (1:10), and finally, “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Killer Party’” (1:46) which is the original promo spot for season one.
MTV really did manage to find a way to take the Scream template and stretch it out over the course of 10 episodes. I just hope they’ve managed to do even better with season two. The mystery was engaging enough to keep the convoluted plotting moving along and the cast is clearly having a blast — even if some of them may not be the best actors. But c’mon, this is a horror show on MTV, how good did we expect the acting to be, right? Thankfully, the three standouts are our main characters — Emma, Noah, and Audrey — Emma makes for the quintessential final girl, while both Audrey and Noah make fantastic replacements for movies’ dearly departed Randy.
Considering they didn’t know if there was going to be a second season, the finale provides enough closure that, had this been a standalone, it would have served as a great addition to the Scream legacy. With the passing of Craven last August who was serving as an executive producer, maybe they could find a way to bring in the original creator: Kevin Williamson. They managed to get Ti West to direct an episode, why not the man who started it all? Fingers crossed that season two can live up to season one, MTV delivered a killer first season and May 30 can’t get here soon enough!