MTV’s Scream TV series premiered tonight, and although it took the story in a different direction, it still paid homage to the original films.
The show opens on two girls kissing in a car. They’re being recorded, and the video goes up on what essentially equates to YouTube, where the two get cyber bullied after the video starts going viral.
Nina, your typical mean girl, heads home after her boyfriend, Tyler, drops her off at her house. Someone sends her a video of her getting changed, followed by messages from Tyler. “Sage is a trained attack Pomeranian, and she will gut you on demand,” she yells out.
After a few minutes, she squares her shoulders and hops in the hot tub, calling out for Tyler to join her. He does, in a sense, when his head is tossed into the water with her. She runs screaming back inside, but the doors are locked. She’s attacked, her throat is slashed, and she’s shoved into the pool.
The next morning, Will and Emma are kissing between studying for their calculus quiz. He’s a basketball player, and he doesn’t understand why he needs math to get into college on a basketball scholarship. Emma pushes him to study, making him feel guilty about cutting out on her last night. He claims his phone died and he had no way to let her know, but it’s obvious Emma has her doubts.
After Will leaves, Emma’s mom joins her daughter at the table, and we learn she’s the coroner and tends to work closely with the town’s sheriff. Emma thinks they should get together, but her mom brushes her off.
One of the girls from the video, Audrey, shows up to school. She’s trying to ignore all the whispers, but it’s hard when the whole school is talking about her. Noah, her best friend, shows up to offer moral support, but at the moment there isn’t a whole lot he can do.
The new characters keep coming, and we’re next introduced to Kieran Wilcox, who’s a new student at the school. He’s handsome, mysterious, and intelligent, which means he’s probably too good to be true. Keep your distance, just in case.
In English, the class talks about the Gothic genre. In true Scream fashion, the show lampshades its own narrative. Noah says, “You can’t do a slasher movie as a TV series.” He explains that the typical plot line for a slasher film is too fast-paced for a series. But if Scream is aware of this as a problem, it makes us even more excited to see how they get around it.
All of this is interspersed with Nina’s mother finding her body. Back at school, our central characters are sent for grief counseling. One of them wonders if Brandon James is back, but Emma immediately shoots that down, saying, “Brandon James is dead,” before stalking off. Her father had been one of the surviving victims of the serial killer’s attacks.
Noah is obsessed with serial killers, and Brandon James is his favorite, so he informs the rest of them of the murderer’s backstory. It tuns out that James killed a bunch of students 20 years ago. He had a physical disfigurement and a crush on a girl named Daisy. When she broke his heart, he went on a killing spree, and it was only when she brought him out of hiding that he was taken down.
The big twist? Daisy is none other than Emma’s mom.
Tyler is still missing, but that won’t stop his friends from throwing a party as a vigil for Nina. Will continues to be sketchy and Emma continues to have her doubts. She invites Audrey to the party as a peace offering.
Speaking of Will, he finds Jake and tells him to get rid of the files on his computer. Jake gives him the runaround, telling him his fingerprints are everywhere too, and we just get the feeling these two are up to no good, despite Will’s mostly good-guy attitude.
It seems as if no one is quite off the hook, either, as we learn Mr. Branson and Brooke have a fling that he’d like to end, though she’s pretty good at convincing him otherwise.
Before Emma leaves for the party, she gets a package addressed to Daisy. She has no idea who that is and her mom isn’t spilling the beans. Mrs. Duvall opens the letter attached, which reads, “Emma looks just like you at that age,” and when she opens the package, there’s a bloody heart inside.
At the party, Audrey shows up and Emma tries to get to know her again, considering they haven’t been friends for quite a while. Audrey seems receptive, at least, and the two begin to bond once more. Riley and Noah also begin to bond, and it turns out she’s much smarter than she lets on.
But there is trouble in paradise as the truth finally comes out. Will slept with Nina while he and Emma were on a break, and she walks off, hurt and betrayed. With a dire warning from Noah that they’re safe as long as they’re together, Brooke goes into the garage all by herself (certainly channeling Rose McGowan’s character from the original film) to kick out anyone who shouldn’t be in there. Although she finds no one, Will locates her and threateningly tells her, “If you ever get between Em and me like that again, I will break you.”
Emma finds Kieran, who was hiding out in a greenhouse away from Brooke. Emma learns that his mom and stepdad died six weeks ago, and that he’s moved to their town to start living with his real dad.
The two begin to kiss, but it’s interrupted by Noah waking up on a dock in the middle of the lake in only his boxers. He was the first to fall asleep, so this was his punishment. He decides to swim back, but halfway there he’s pulled under. Kieran saves him and Emma find fishing line wrapped around Noah’s foot, although Noah swears something was actually pulling him under.
Kieran drops Emma off, and she learns that the sheriff is Kieran’s dad — making the situation even more awkward than it already is. Meanwhile, Audrey’s maybe-more-than-a-friend, Rachel, laments her looks, but Audrey kisses her, and we see a masked figure watching them from the lawn.
Riley wants Noah to finish his story about Brandon James, and he perfectly sums up the objective of the show: Flesh out the characters, make us fall in love with them, and then when they’re killed off one by one, it’ll hurt even more. Sounds like a slasher TV show is well within the realm of possibility, no?
As the episode comes to a close, we learn that Nina was filming Audrey and Rachel, but Emma was also in the parking lot. Emma tries to apologize, but Audrey walks away from her. On her way home, Emma gets a call from an unknown number. He says, “I’m the one that’s going to lift the mask,” and it’s obvious they want to show the world Emma isn’t as good as she pretends to be.
It turns out quite a few of the characters are hiding something. Audrey has a picture of Brandon James on her board, while Jake still has video files of Nina dancing around her room, and Noah literally has blood on his hands.