Martin Carr reviews the fifth episode of Scream: The TV Series season 2…
With the manky corpse of Jake making an unannounced appearance last episode recalling Carrie amongst other things, Scream goes for another thematic chestnut this week. Take everyone new, everyone old, lock them in one building and see what happens. As it turns out there is a touch more tension, no bloodletting beyond the occasional crossed word and a minor girl on girl tussle. Beyond the multiple accusations, powder keg atmosphere and usual teenage finger pointing, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is another exercise in character development.
This is feeling more and more to me like Neighbours. That Australian soap opera which may still be running on Channel Five which gave us Jason Donovan, Alan Dale, Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce. For film fans Alan Dale is the one you want to Google because everybody knows Pearce and his character acting chops. My reason for the comparison is purely because these shows share a defining trait; you can dip in and out and not feel out of touch with anything.
Scream has worked out that its popularity is best maintained by the little and often adage. Show your audience a certain percentage of agonised relationship issues, times that by a few tense parental exchanges and finish off with moments of claret spillage for maximum retention. Now the writers may argue that there is more work going into Scream than just calculated amounts of drama, action and down time, but I would beg to differ.
Screenwriter, London lass and all round BAFTA award winner Tess Morris lives and dies by the three act separation principles. Screenwriting is all about discipline, perimeters and flashes of creativity. For her there is something almost scientific about writing anything, which can be backed up by Aaron Sorkin who researches the hell out of something before starting with a blank page. What I am trying to say in a rather long winded way is that Scream has struck the balance.
By lifting from here and slotting in there, these writers are giving us the right amount of necessary factors to keep our interest. Everyone is likeable without being annoying while none are transparent enough to be forgettable. Whatever your thoughts beyond that Scream has turned into the television equivalent of popcorn cinema, which incidentally was always its aim. I know that there are detractors, naysayers and those who plain don’t like the genre, but for them there are no words of appeasement. Taste is not something you can change in a person especially through analytical brow beating, but I think it fair to say episode five maintains expectations. However anyone with a hankering for teen angst and ritual slaughter could do worse.