'Scream' S1E1: Pilot

★ ★ ½

First off: A shoutout to the new mask — which is the scariest thing of all time.

Scream, the show not the movie, is a lot like Fargo, the show not the movie, in many ways. Both series take heavy inspiration from their parent series, but what Fargo did that Scream hasn’t done so far is be original. Unlike Hannibal, Bates Motel, or American Horror Story (all of which get referenced in a very meta teacher-student moment), Scream isn’t an adaptation, continuation, or anthology. What Scream is trying to do is be an entirely new beast for a contemporary audience. But… I have a feeling that that audience may just want to stick with the movies instead.

Scream opens with Bella Thorne, playing Nina, the girl — if you have seen, any of the trailers or teasers — you know is dead upon arrival. The opening scene is an homage to Drew Barrymore’s in the original Scream movie, and it updates it with contemporary technology. Although there’s no menacing call (don’t worry, it’s not gone for good), Nina is texted (from her dead boyfriend’s number) pictures of her from behind. There are some pretty funny moments, like having trouble unlocking an iPhone with wet hands, or Siri misunderstanding "9-1-1" for "Pottery Barn".

Scream S1

Then we’re introduced to the characters we’re supposed to "love" — a group that follows their horror clichés so closely that they are vapid and idiotic, with — Brooke the worst of all. The parallels to the original become obvious very quickly: Emma is Sydney; Will is Billy; Jake is Stu; Noah is Randy; and Brooke is Tatum. What worked in the Scream movie doesn’t apply to the show. The characters’ personalities are so overdone that it’s hard to take any of them seriously as teenagers, let alone people. Even the "new" characters, Kieran (the troubled bad boy), Audrey (a victim of cyber-bullying) and Riley (the Scream version of Mona from Pretty Little Liars) are all just as one-dimensional.

Regardless, the most enjoyable one to watch is Noah, the film geek, and reincarnation of the movie’s Randy. Noah is given all of the classic self-aware lines that come with the Scream franchise… Although most of them are spent explaining the issues that people in charge of the show have with making a slasher television series. His ending segment, however, boasted the point of this type of series: you’re supposed to care about what happens to these people before they get murdered. Noah’s correct on that count, because the whodunit portions of the show are still the best part (besides the mask, because holy cow, that thing is terrifying).

The saddest part is that while the first eight minutes of the pilot are enjoyable, the rest of the pilot declines into a tensionless mess. You’ll roll your eyes at how empty-headed Brooke is, how quickly things get hot between Emma and Kieran, or at all of the fake-out scares. Additionally, the entire Daisy story comes off as very silly and, again, cliché. There’s a difference between commenting on a film remake (like Nightmare on Elm Street, which is so similar to this it hurts) and simply coming off as blandly unoriginal.

With all of that said, I’m still going to be watching this to find out whodunit because who knows, they might surprise us.

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