So it looks like MTV is turning Wes Craven’s now-classic horror movie Scream into a TV show. It was announced yesterday at the network’s upfront presentation that they’re planning a one-hour pilot. I’ve got a lot of conflicting feelings about this decision, because I think the show could work, but only in the right hands and with the right tone.
I saw Scream for the first time a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a clever examination of horror movie tropes that managed to be both scary and smart, and its self-referential tone didn’t verge into over-the-top parody like the Scary Movie franchise. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I enjoyed Scream because it did something new and interesting with a frequently formulaic genre. So as a fan of the movie, my immediate reaction was, “That’s a great idea!”
But then I thought about it some more. Since the movie has spawned so many sequels already (which I admittedly haven’t seen), is it really necessary to reboot it for TV? Will it do enough differently to surprise us but retain enough of the same tone to appeal to the movie’s fans? That’s a tough balance to achieve, especially on a weekly basis.
MTV News says Dimension Films wants to introduce the show in Summer 2014, and they’re talking to Wes Craven about directing the pilot. That eases my mind, because I think remakes and adaptations are often improved when the original creator has a hand in it. It also means fans of the original can feel less guilty about enjoying the reboot, since it’s been approved and contributed to by the person who originated it. But on the other hand, if the show got more episodes, would Craven keep overseeing it? It’s one thing to start the series with his influence. It’s another to continue it without his oversight.
Still, I like seeing new genres being explored on TV, since there are so many cop dramas and medical shows and sitcoms on every channel. I watched the latest season of American Horror Story, and I enjoyed it, but in a different way than I enjoyed Scream. As you might have noticed from Crushable’s recaps, the show often skipped over being legitimately scary in favor of camp and unintentional (intentional?) hilarity. I think a Scream series, if it were done right, could provide an interesting counterbalance to Horror Story in that it might play with the genre in a more sly way that actually scares people while making them think.
One thing’s certain, though. The show won’t come close to the movie without Drew Barrymore making popcorn before watching “a video.” Ah, the ’90s.