Martin Carr reviews the seventh episode of Scream: The TV Series…
When a twist makes you swear out loud, then someone, somewhere, did something right. Especially if that curveball is proper ‘Heath Robinson’. If I’ve lost you just Google the reference. Name checking The Expendables, Maze Runner and Shawshank in the space of five minutes may sound like a needless name dropping exercise. But you soon learn that everything in Scream: The TV Series has relevance.
There are three elements which it shares with these films. Incarceration, mercenary bonding combined with a cat and mouse structure. That you can still enjoy things without being clued up on these, is a mark of what makes Scream: The TV Series so appealing. A cause which is helped immensely by characters which grow on you.
From Fitzgerald’s Emma through to Young’s Brooke, there is a real sense of investment in them from a writing perspective. Even those who ended up under the butcher knife early on, garnered enough screen time for their absence to be felt. Meaning that when others join the core group of Noah, Audrey and Emma things remain unchanged.
Much the same way that Williamson and Craven employed specific genre methods to get a certain response. So it is that these writers have proven equally adept at planting sympathy and seeds of doubt. In the best examples of this genre there can never be one without the other. Whether it’s the addition of Tom Maddox’s Jake, or Amadeus Serafini’s Kieran, audiences are kept guessing. A feeling which is compounded by limiting them to one location. A decision which brings its own set of dangers, even if these have more to do with the pitfalls of writing.
In my experience the best screenplays whether television or cinema has to pass one test. And the rules are as follows. One location, core protagonists and nothing to do. Scream: The TV Series tests this theory out to a degree, by employing circumstance to strip away their desire to escape. This method and its success, can be determined by how much cut scenes feel like an intrusion. On this basis in my opinion these guys have hit the mark. Not only do other situations feel superfluous, but there is a real sense of tension generated between key cast members which adds gravitas.
As I said at the bottom of a recent review. Scream: The TV Series is not reinventing the wheel, merely putting some new cards between the spokes. With a twenty-first century paint job and some social media widgets, we now have something of interest. Both cool, contemporary with one killer of a twist in the tail. On this evidence I would be surprised if a renewal wasn’t already assured.