Scream: The TV Series - The Complete First Season
Starring: Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Carlson Young, John Karna, Tracy Middendorf, Amadeus Serafini, Jason Wiles, Tom Maden & Amelia Rose Blaire
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Set in the town of Lakewood, Scream: The TV Series centers on a damaging YouTube video gone viral and a group of teenagers who find themselves targeted by a masked killer in its wake. Reminiscent of a decades old tragedy, the current wave of murders may connect to Lakewood’s dark past of death.
Although sharing the same name as Wes Craven’s (who returns as co-executive producer with Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson) seminal franchise, Scream: The TV Series bears no connection to its predecessors while adhering to their basic formula. Following the upload of a cyber-bullying YouTube video, high school hottie Nina Patterson (Bella Thorne, The DUFF) finds herself victim to a knife-wielding masked murderer catapulting the town of Lakewood into a frightened panic. With no suspect in custody, popular girl next door Emma Duvall (Fitzgerald) becomes the prime target of the killer while her fellow classmates including, former best friend Audrey Jensen (Taylor-Klaus), fanatical movie geek Noah Foster (Karna), the attractively spoiled Brooke Maddox (Young) and others find themselves stalked by the unknown killer. Struggling to stay alive, Emma is simultaneously coping with the break-up of her boyfriend Will Belmont (Weil) and the arrival of new student Kieran Wilcox (Serafini) who quickly develops an attraction towards the fragile teen. Using modern technology to its advantage, Scream: The TV Series incorporates texting and Facebook into the fold alongside the killer’s chilling phone calls and physical confrontations best associated with the popular film series. Meanwhile, Craven alumni Tracy Middendorf (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) appears as Emma’s mother who along with many of the town’s adult figures are harboring a secret to Lakewood’s tragic history that eerily links to its current crop of victims. As media attention circulates, red herrings are introduced and trust is severely tested as those closest to Emma fall victim to the killer’s blade during 10 thrilling episodes to discover who is responsible and who will survive.
Broadcast on the anything but musical MTV Network whose priorities have shifted to mindless reality programs would understandably leave many curious watchers timid of its handling of an episodic slasher. Astonishingly, Scream: The TV Series exceeds expectations, crafting a well-plotted debut season filled with likable characters layered with emotion and the self-referential humor fans have come to expect. Furthermore, suspense and bloodshed are never spared allowing the series to fully embrace two of the genre’s most valued components. With episodes helmed by such notable talents as Tim Hunter (River’s Edge), Brian Dannelly (Saved!), Rodman Flender (Idle Hands) and Ti West (The House of the Devil), Scream: The TV Series seamlessly taps into the cornerstones that made Craven’s original masterpiece so refreshing with its modern take greatly appealing to a new generation deeply ingrained in the pitfalls of social media. Easily one of television’s great surprises of last year, Scream: The TV Series is a rollercoaster ride of mystery and scares that lives up to its iconic name.
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Scream: The TV Series in anamorphic widescreen, sporting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. While skin tones are naturally pleasing and colors are appropriately conveyed, black levels appear decently with occasional hints of crush. Although presentation is satisfactory, a noticeable sharpness is lacking that could have been easily remedied and far more appreciated on a Blu-ray release. Equipped with Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, audio is strong with clear dialogue levels and suspenseful queues where screams and atmosphere always hit their mark. Unfortunately light, special features include, a Gag Reel (2:52), Deleted Scenes (5:33) and a Promotional Gallery (8:26).
Unexpectedly smart and hip, Scream: The TV Series carries the torch of Craven and Williamson’s original quadrilogy while maintaining a solid sense of humor, ample bloodshed and a dizzyingly fun maze of mystery that will keep viewers guessing who until its finale. Although disappointing in its lack of a Blu-ray release and scarce supplements, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s home video release of MTV’s debut season still gets the job done. With its anticipated followup season focused on last year’s survivors nearing, Scream: The TV Series - The Complete First Season is massively entertaining and ranks as one of today’s better film franchises reinterpreted for the small screen.
Available May 10th from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Scream: The TV Series - The Complete First Season can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.