Martin Carr reviews the second episode of Scream: The TV Series…
It is now officially time for the gloves to come off. Scream: The TV Series rolls into episode two with mild invention and solid character development. Lifting dialogue from the film canon as a tagline and name dropping Manhunter references, this series is being coy in its self-awareness. Rather than being 90210 or The OC with added carnage, a unisex triumvirate of actors are moving front and centre giving audiences someone to invest in.
Willa Fitzgerald’s central protagonist Emma works hard with minimal material, whilst being ably supported by Bex-Taylor Klaus as Audrey Jensen. Beyond these two is movie trivia guru geek and orator of slasher convention Noah Foster. Fulfilling Scream conventions, by being both nerdy and vaguely suspect, John Karna adds elitism to that persona. Which has the potential to make him annoying, yet Karna walks the line with care allowing a modicum of vulnerability to creep in. While Taylor Klaus, a veteran of Netflix original The Killing, throws in elements of Alan Ball’s American Beauty upping the ante further.
Using her digital hand-held as affectation, Taylor Klaus is clearly channelling Wes Bentley’s Ricky Fitz. Perpetual observer and recorder rather than participant, she represents a neat allegory for today’s social media savvy. Where the lesbianism both undermines and empowers, making Audrey a social pariah and cyberspace symbol of personal choice. Whereas Ricky Fitz’s family dynamic, which is defined by emotional repression, makes his detachment a consciously decisive mirror image of her own. It is comforting to know that our technology maybe more sophisticated, but people still fall back on the same social assumptions. A subtext Taylor Klaus no doubt picked up on when she decided to take the role. An understanding which this reviewer suspects may have been missing when Willa Fitzgerald made her choice. Not that the performance is bad, just that Taylor Klaus is better.
There is a back story which is suitably minded for emotional resonance, but whether this translates into anything with depth is up for debate. There is a lot of unnecessary window dressing in Scream: The TV Series which requires more development. I am not being purposely vague or arrogantly cryptic, but two and half good performances do not make a show. What this desperately needs to do is add scope.
Now I know we are only into episode two, but that just leaves us eight more. Giving the producers just over five hours to get that second season greenlit. In order to achieve longevity those smaller roles need expansion and Fitzgerald needs to convince. Beyond that John Karna needs to man up and produce Taylor Klaus levels of performance. Only then will we have a ratings winner.