'Scream' Revives Slashers


By Molly Freeman

Photo courtesy of Miguel Castaneda.

In recent years, television has seen an unprecedented level of success with genre series. Shows like Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Orphan Black, and Supernatural have proved genre TV–series falling into specific genres that generally do not appeal to a wide audience–can be both critically and financially successful.

As such, television networks have pushed to include more sci-fi, fantasy, comic book, and horror series. While the big four networks–ABC, Fox, NBC, and CBS–largely tend toward more realistic and wide-reaching shows, The CW’s lineup is almost exclusively genre television.

However, even these major networks have been dipping their toes into genre TV: ABC has the Marvel Comics-based Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and fairytale-inspired Once Upon a Time; NBC features the legend-based procedural Grimm and the upcoming super-powered drama Heroes Reborn; CBS will premiere the sci-fi show Limitless and the comic book-based Supergirl this fall; and Fox has perhaps the most genre shows with Sleepy Hollow and Gotham as well as upcoming series Minority Report and Scream Queens.

If Limitless and Minority Report sound familiar, that’s because they are. Both series were developed as extensions of movies with the same name. Bradley Cooper executive produced and starred in the 2011 film Limitless, which deals with a drug that allows the taker to use 100 percent of their brain. The series will pick up where the movie left off and feature Cooper reprising his role from the film; he will also executive produce it.

Similarly, the Minority Report television series will pick up 10 years after the 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg. The show will continue the idea of police teaming up with a person with pre-cognition to prevent crime before it happens.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hogan.

Sci-fi movies aren’t the only genre finding new life on television, though. Prior to the debut of Limitless and Minority Report, MTV will premiere a semi-remake of the classic ’90s horror movie Scream. However, rather than continue the story of the 1996 movie (which had three sequels), the show will adapt and update the original plotline.

Pulling from the current digital culture, Scream’s plot will be kicked off by a YouTube video that goes viral, negatively impacting one of the main characters, and serve as the “catalyst for a murder that opens up a window to [the] town’s troubled past.” Additionally, the first trailer for the series, which premieres at the end of June, emphasizes the key role technology will play on the show.

MTV’s Scream may not interest every fan who grew up watching Wes Craven’s original film with all its meta references to slasher flicks of the ’80s and quoting Jamie Kennedy’s spiel on how to survive a horror movie. However, the adapted TV series does have some things going for it.

In the past, the network has been successful in adapting movies to series, such as its hit supernatural drama Teen Wolf. Based on the 1980s teen comedy, showrunner Jeff Davis created an updated and darker version of the story about a high school athlete who gets bitten by a werewolf. Although Teen Wolf’s success won’t necessarily translate to similar popularity for Scream, it does prove MTV is capable of creating a show based on a film that resonates with its audience.

Additionally, the network has brought on a behind the scenes team that should be able to make Scream a series that is both fun and exciting for MTV’s audience (which is younger than those who grew up with the original film) while staying true to the Craven’s flick. Craven himself was the network’s first choice to direct the pilot, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from doing so. However, he is still an executive producer of the show.

Photo courtesy of Paul Stevenson.

As for the series’ showrunner, MTV tapped Jill E. Blotevogel, who worked on the short-lived Pretty Little Liars spinoff Ravenswood as well as the limited 2009 series Harper’s Island. This second writing credit should be of serious interest to horror fans because the show was a television version of a slasher flick–essentially what Scream itself is attempting to achieve.

All that being said, the Scream series will, of course, still be aimed at MTV’s younger demographic. So, as is apparent in the show’s trailer, Scream will also feature relationship drama in between bloody murders as well as a soundtrack pulling from all the new and up-and-coming artists on the network’s slate.

While the technology-heavy plot, new soundtrack, and teenaged drama could potentially hugely detract from the meta horror narrative of Scream, it’s also possible MTV could have another hit on its hands.

At this point, it’s difficult to say, but the simple fact that Scream is a remake of a horror classic shouldn’t be enough to completely write off the freshman series. Scream could very well be a killer slasher story.