MTV is trying its hardest to breathe new life into its Scream television series, but will it be enough to bring back those premiere ratings?
Scream season 1 gave fans of the franchise some elements of the original slasher but revitalized the story and made it different. It tried to be the best of both worlds by throwing in plenty of references while attempting to be its own entity. It worked better for some (like me) than others.
Season 2 didn’t have quite the same vibe, but it was still a solid show. We knew there was a second killer, but a plethora of red herrings made it impossible to know exactly whodunit. The Halloween Special was, unfortunately, a far cry from what I loved about this series, but it continued the story in a way that made me excited to see what the network would do for season 3.
Unfortunately, I’ll never know what those plans were.
Due to falling ratings, MTV decided to make a fresh start and reboot the series. Enter a new creative team, a new cast, and a new storyline. I’m not exactly pumped for the reboot of the reboot, but MTV is certainly trying its hardest to get fans excited for this show once again.
The makeover begins at the top. Season 2 showrunners Michael Gans and Richard Register (who took over from season 1 showrunners Jill Blotevogel and Jaime Paglia) will be replaced by Brett Matthews. New blood has also been added to the production team, with Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, and Yaneley Arty taking on executive producer roles.
The change in showrunner isn’t too alarming, considering this also happened between season 1 and 2, but with the combination of a change in story, it’ll be interesting to see how much the tone of the show changes. Granted, they’ll still want to honor the source material and please the fans, so I doubt we’ll see too much of a departure.
I’ll admit that Queen Latifah’s name being attached to the project has piqued my interest. She’s got a solid career, both onscreen and off, and I have a feeling her energy will reinvigorate the show. A more diverse production team and cast will surely make this season stand out.
Speaking of the cast, it’s been completely replaced. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we’ve already spent two seasons (and that dreaded Special) with the Lakewood Six. I don’t necessarily want to start from scratch, getting to know and trust new people, but the Scream season 3 cast does look interesting.
RJ Cyler, Jessica Sula, Keke Palmer, Giorgia Whigham, Tyga, C.J. Wallace, and Giullian Yao Gioiello round out our main and recurring characters. These actors are a far cry from our mostly white leads in seasons 1 and 2, and it’s more than a little refreshing.
The diversity doesn’t stop there, however. The characters themselves represent students we’d typically see in high school these days. Deion (Cyler, below) is a star running back with his eyes set on a college football scholarship, Liz (Sula) is both a cheerleader and an honor roll student, and Kym (Palmer) is a rebel with a big heart.
Meanwhile, we’ve also got Beth (Whigham), who seems to be taking on Noah’s role as the resident horror expert (‘grats on flipping the script on that one, MTV). Jamal (Tyga) is Deion’s brother, who might seem tough at first, but it sounds like he and Deion will have a solid relationship. Amir (Wallace) is a big dreamer with strict parents and Manny (Gioiello) is openly gay and incredibly smart.
On paper, these characters not only show the diversity of America, but they actively work to disband the tropes you’d usually find in a show like this. So far it doesn’t sound like season 3 will have the same catty behavior or family drama of the first two seasons, which is a relief both in terms of repetition and stereotypes.
Good character work can’t save a poor script, however, so despite my excitement for this cast’s potential, it’s going to come down to how they’re all handled and who ends up dying when (and how).
But nothing is more obvious to me that MTV is pulling out all the stops to make sure this season lands with fans than the fact that they’re bringing back the original Ghostface mask. In seasons 1 and 2, a modified version of the mask was used in a way that fit the plot of the story. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the same nostalgic love for the originals, but this never bothered me. The mask was creepy and served the same kind of purpose the original did.
There’s something about that original mask that lends itself to the tone of Scream. It’s silly at first — the expressive eyes, the comically large mouth — but the terror it represents soon wipes any smile off your face. Hopefully this is just the first in a long line of homages the series will pay to fans of the original franchise.
Each of these elements on their own do plenty to get me excited for the upcoming third season, but all together they just remind me that this will not be the same show I’ve been watching for two seasons. For some fans, that will be a welcome change. Perhaps MTV has another opportunity to get this series right in the eyes of those who have appreciated the humor and horror of the original. For others, we’ll just have to wait and see if they can improve upon what came before.