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MTV SCREAM TV Series: SKINS Meets AMERICAN HORROR STORY?
MTV announced it’s developing a weekly TV series. No surprise there; the channel is on a role with original episodic programming like Awkward, Skins and Teen Wolf.
Where it gets surprising is the franchise selected to be inflated into a full-length season by MTV: Scream. Ghostface is going to hit the small screen to terrorize hipster youth.
Whether this will take off at a sprint out the gate isn’t in question. MTV has a rock-solid viewership that eats up rehashed ideas by the spoonful. The same old crap shown at a different slant is practically its brand when it comes to drama. The mass manufacture for big premiere ratings – at least until the show has to swim on its own merit – is locked down.
But once Scream loses the water wings of MTV’s marketing squad, its going to need a strong narrative to follow. This isn’t easy in the horror genre, where body count is a necessity.
Shows like Supernatural and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer pull it off by following the Scooby Doo formula: A core group of characters wander down a trail of other people’s corpses, knocking off monsters along the way. The formula doesn’t stand up so well with the themes of Scream – namely, a lone psycho lurking among a cadre of kids.
So what would fit Scream‘s fusion of serial teen drama and serial killing? We know virtually nothing about the production – only that DiGa, a production company powered by a pair of former MTV executives – is running the show. It falls to us to speculate.
Here’s my speculation and MTV’s Scream‘s best bet: Knit together their rip-off of the UK hit Skins, American Horror Story and Ghostface. In other words, use take-no-prisoners approach to horror with an edgy soap opera plot.
The reasons are clear. You can’t go with an entirely original dramatic pace or plot. MTV viewers don’t have the patience or taste. And wrapping a brooding, psycho-thriller atmosphere like The Killing around a teen soap would only smother the vitality of it.
Where American Horror Story succeeded best is where it imitated the attitude of a slasher flick: It cranked the ante against the characters every episode and never shied from slaughter. Audiences stayed on the edge of their seats to see whether the cast was as doomed as they seemed.
It fits Scream perfectly. Pump that kind of peril into a gritty “youth gone wild” soap opera setup like Skins, and MTV could have solid gold. We’d get a cast of flawed but loveable kids to attach to, one of who just happens to be a homicidal criminal. It’s pure noir at its wildest.
Or, you know, they might just do the four movies over again, just with more dialogue and a different cast.