Somebody knows what Audrey did last summer, and it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the infamous Lakewood Six. The tagline for the second season of MTV’s guilty-pleasure watch, “Scream: The TV Series” reads: “Trust Nothing. Trust Us,” which teases the reveal of the accomplice behind the murders of the previous season and, consequently, the ultimate focus of the second season. After its first season received divided reception from critics, the MTV reboot was renewed for a second run, despite an overall moderate rating on popular critical sites. Under normal circumstances, the renewal of a critically divided show, such as MTV’s “Scream,” brings the opportunity to draw input from the audience to improve the series. In this case, it could allow deviation from its silver-screen legacy to ensure the survival of another 10-episode run. So far, the series seems to be taking small steps to originality and a step in the right direction as far as the plot is concerned.
The first season of MTV’s “Scream: The TV Series” debuted as a weekly television event based on the premise of Wes Craven’s original “Scream” franchise. But from the beginning, the differences between Craven’s masterpiece and MTV’s reboot soon became apparent in the less-than-convincing performances of the cast. At times, emotions ran dry and the plot resembled that of a daytime soap, carried only by a stellar soundtrack to bait the audience in suspense. If there’s anything a John Williams score has taught us, it’s that music is everything. Notably, the first season was successful due to its notoriety, especially in the nostalgic draw that the revamp offered to devoted fans of the original franchise. So, where does a horror series whose roots are so tightly interwoven in an established plot begin its second season?
The cold open of season two begins with a major sense of déjà vu brought on by a scene strikingly similar to the beginning of “Scream 2,” a fact that can be taken as either a nod to the series’s roots or a continued lack of originality in the renewed season. So far, the only progress made in the way of character development is the ability for the Lakewood Six to finally get along. That doesn’t mean there aren’t cringe-worthy lapses in acting quality, such as Noah’s (John Karna, “Premature”) awkward teenage timing during a makeout session between Emma (Willa Fitzgerald, “Royal Pains”) and Kieran (Amadeus Serafini, “Smoke”), and Audrey’s (Bex Taylor-Klaus, “The Killing”) failed attempts to hide her oh-so-obvious hand in the murders. Last season, Fitzgerald’s performance, following the slaying of her boyfriend Will, (Connor Weil, “McFarland, USA”) peaked, but despite the Freddy Krueger style dreams Emma is experiencing in the second season, her personality has remained platonically flat.
Overall, the premiere episode for the second season of MTV’s “Scream” seems to be taking its first few steps towards originality, found in the deviation between the original, physical thriller franchise and Craven’s psychological thriller “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which personifies in Emma’s haunting dreams and hint at a sinister plot yet to be revealed. However, though it is much too early to tell, if the second season chooses to once again follow the plot of the original “Scream” franchise, then it is unlikely that another 10-episode run will be scheduled ahead of this run’s conclusion. And if history tells us anything, then the killer’s identity will follow the trope of “Scream 2,” in which there are personal relations between Piper Shaw (Amelia Rose Blaire, “Grey’s Anatomy”) and the accomplice. My guess is, unless they change their ways, we’ll see it coming a mile away.