MTV’s crack at converting the Scream movie franchise into a weekly show premiered last night. It was so wrong, I can’t think of a thing it did right. Aside from the motormouth genius (the show’s de facto narrator) and the lesbian, the characters are indistinct, poorly acted, and their lines are mumbled at least half the time. The back story that emerges when the current rash of murders breaks out (a guy with Proteus syndrome went on a rampage 20 years ago in the town in which the show is set), is some straight-to-VHS Friday the 13th knock-off crap. The updated killer’s mask looks melted and his distorted phone voice is too high to be scary.

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Needs more texture.

Worst of all is the attempt to replicate the movie franchise’s trademark know-it-all smugness, which only makes the show look dumber as a result. Take the first meta conversation about horror on TV in which the aforementioned motormouth Noah (John Karna) babbles about why a slasher could never work as a show:

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“Slasher movies burn bright and fast,” explains Noah. “TV needs to stretch things out.” Thing is, he wasn’t wrong, so there’s absolutely no irony to this monologue. The show did stretch things out via one death, a few near misses, and lots of flavorless mumbling serving as padding. I think Noah’s words are supposed to be cleverly disproven by the show, but they ultimately just articulate a key reason to avoid Scream: The TV Series.

Even worse is Noah’s speech toward the end of the episode about audience connection:

You gotta remember that the whodunit may not be as important in our story…You need to figure that it’s a horror story, that someone might die at every turn. You have to care if the smokin’ hot lit teacher seems a little too interested in his female students. You have to care if the team wins the big game. You have to care if the smart, pretty girl forgives the dumb jock.

The girl he’s talking to then says, “Sounds like Friday Night Lights.” Noah responds, “Exactly. You root for them, you love them, so when they are brutally murdered, it hurts.” Except no we don’t care or love them. Not yet, and if the series continues at this rate, not ever.

Maybe most detrimental was that a series of anti-smoking commercials that aired during the premiere were way scarier than anything on the actual show:

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But whatever, I’ll probably keep watching Scream. That says more about how starved for slasher horror I am than the show’s quality, trust me.