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TV Series Review

MTV must hope that the picturesque town of Lakewood has an inexhaustible supply of pretty teens. Otherwise, Scream might murder itself right out of existence.

Such are the perils of creating a series predicated on a fright-flick-loving, trope-defying serial killer with a yen for offing adolescents. Don't the folks at MTV know that the country's population is aging? That while modern, socially conscious-teens may indeed hug the occasional tree, they don't grow on them?

If this was a movie (like the self-aware Scream series the television show is obviously based on), the killer could kill a few folks and call it a night. After all, movies only need to kil— uh, occupy the space of a couple of hours. But when you have to fill a weekly time slot and pretty much sequester your murders to young, attractive denizens of the local high school (and a sheriff or two), you're really working in a dwindling market. And when half of the teens still living are also suspected of doing the killing … well, let's just say that if families are thinking of moving into Lakewood, they'll probably be thinking pretty hard about homeschooling.

But You Can Make a Killing in Real Estate …

Lakewood didn't always have such (ahem) a killer reputation. Once upon a time, its resident teenagers only had the standard worries of any youth on an MTV show: how to fit in, how to sneak out of the house, how much sex to have, etc.

Ghostface changed all that. Soon, teens were dropping like Japanese interest rates in the 1990s, and only a motley band of Breakfast Club-like misfits stood in the way of the killer's nefarious spree. Ghostface was unmasked at the end of Season One and revealed to be Piper Shaw, host of a morbidly popular podcast. She did not live to see Season Two.

But even though Piper paid hers, there's still plenty to worry about in Lakewood. There are accomplices to catch. Dreams to interpret. Disemboweled bodies to bury—corpses that seem to be accumulating at a surprising rate, considering the killer was caught and cursorily killed. There's apparently a copycat on the loose. Or, perhaps, copycats. And no teen living in Lakewood can feel safe.

Well, unless they're shy and deemed by their peers to be unattractive. In that case, they're totally fine.

A Torturous Show … In More Ways Than One

MTV series are not exactly known for their narrative depth. Many are super-problematic even without a serial killer on the loose.

For the typical MTV telegenic teen, priorities tend to be friends, sex and parties, though not necessarily in that order. Many teens drink without even giving it much thought. A few dabble in more illicit substances. Nearly all seem to be sexually active (and someone is likely involved in a same-sex relationship). Typically in this world, parents orbit their children's lives like distant satellites—ineffectual and outmoded oldsters who stopped being relevant in their children's lives after the family's first carpool to high school. The rare "good" parent, in MTV's eyes, is one who doesn't interfere much, but may arch an eyebrow of concern if a kid comes home with a heroin needle still sticking out of his or her arm.

Scream has all those characteristic problems—plus, of course, the blood ladled all over the place just for good measure.

Of interest is the fact that I watched Scream right before I went to the screening of a horror flick featuring a bloody demon nun. It gave me an unusual opportunity to weigh the gore quotient on two different screens. And you know what? It wasn't even a contest. Scream was much, much, much worse than the R-rated pic—sporting all the restraint of a caffeine-addled hyena in a chicken coop. I saw five times more blood on a show that was half as long.

So, thanks, MTV. Thanks ever so much for creating this kind of entertainment for our children. It's a truly remarkable achievement for a show to have so much blood and so little brain.

Positive Elements

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Sexual Content

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Drug and Alcohol Content

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Episode Reviews

Scream: May 30, 2016



Readability Age Range



Willa Fitzgerald as Emma Duval; Bex Taylor-Klaus as Audrey Jensen; John Karna as Noah Foster; Carlson Young as Brooke Maddox; Tracy Middendorf as Maggie Duval; Amadeus Serafini as Kieran Wilcox; Kiana Ledé as Zoe Vaughn; Mike Vaughn as Killer; Santiago Segura as Gustavo Acosta; Tom Maden as Jake Fitzgerald; Amelia Rose Blaire as Piper Shaw






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On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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