Scream: The Series pilot episode sees Aubrey, a high school student, caught on camera making out with another girl. The video evidence immediately goes viral. Shortly thereafter, Nina, one of her classmates is brutally murdered. Her fellow students react to Nina’s death in a variety of ways and eventually throw a party in her honor. The students of Lakewood High quickly discover that the carnage has just begun!
As has been the tradition with the Scream franchise, the pilot episode of the series makes use of the latest technology. Also in the tradition of the film franchise, the series is very self referential. Within the first fifteen minutes of the pilot, a Randy type makes the proclamation, “You can’t do a slasher film as a TV series.” and then goes on a diatribe about exactly why it would never work. That amused me but the overtly meta nature of the show did wear a little thin in the party scene which was a little too similar to the party sequence in the original Scream film.The connection to the Scream franchise (so far) seems superficial at best. The killer doesn’t appear to have any connection to the films. Lakewood, the town in which the show is set doesn’t appear to have any connection to Woodsboro. And the characters have seemingly no connection to any of the players from the film franchise. I wouldn’t say that has derailed my enjoyment of the series but it does make me wonder: ‘Why even call your program Scream if it has nothing to do with Scream?’ In fact, thus far, the television show appears to be set in an entirely different, and unrelated universe. The show does feel like a Scream movie in some ways but its dramatically different in others. We will see in the forthcoming episodes if any connection is revealed.
The characters are somewhat vapid but a couple of them appear to have a modicum of depth and that will, perhaps, be fleshed out in coming episodes. Or perhaps not. Time will tell. I would be at a loss to tell you the names of any of the characters without looking them up. Granted, this is our first introduction to them but after spending the better part of an hour in their company, I expected that I might be slightly more familiar with at least a handful of them. Nonetheless, all of the stereotypes are present: The jock, the bitch, the artistic loner, the good girl. And as I mentioned before, none of them are particularly well-developed but we do still have nine episodes to get to know them.
My other complaint about the leads is that in addition to being shallow, they are a little bit too witty and well-spoken to be high school students and that can be a tad grating at times. It had me asking myself: ‘Who talks like that?’ But, fortunately, the ‘witty banter’ is not so egregious as to render the series unwatchable. In fact, I kind of got used to it towards the end of the premiere episode.
In spite of somewhat depth free characters, the performances are not bad. All of the leads deliver at least passable performances. Also, director Jamie Travis (For a Good Time, Call) shows promise at the helm in the series’ debut episode. He has done a fairly effective job setting the tone and preparing the audience for what’s to come in the next nine episodes.
You are probably wondering if the show maintains the franchise’s flare for the ultraviolet. Well, in terms of carnage, the show really does not hold back much. And that was nice to see. I assume many potential fans were wondering if the concept would be watered down for TV and the short answer is that the violence has not been tamed for television. In addition to onscreen bloodshed, there is also a bit of exposed flesh. So, for the most part, MTV isn’t letting the confines of being on television get in its way.
It’s still anybody’s guess where the show will go from here but I can say that my curiosity it piqued. I am interested to see what happens next and I hope that the bar set by Jamie Travis is maintained or raised by the directors that have taken on the upcoming episodes.
The jury is still out on the series at large but if the pilot is any indication of what’s to come, I would recommend giving this one a chance. Stay tuned to the site in the coming weeks for recaps of the show the day after they air! You can see Scream: The TV Series on MTV Tuesday Nights at 10 PM.