By DYLAN GOWAN.

 

The Scream franchise is one of the most revered of all horror series.

A couple of months ago I wrote about my experience watching the films for the first time and how great I found them to be, even though I’m not a huge horror fan.

It just so happened that at the same time over in the States, MTV had started showing a new TV series based on the beloved franchise, with all new characters and the original Ghostface mask nowhere to be seen.

And that series is now available for us to see, thanks to Netflix.

Simply titled Scream, the new series is so familiar, yet so different.

The ten-episode first season follows Emma Duval, the series’ Sidney Prescot. She is a popular high school student who finds herself – as well as her friends and family – in danger, when a masked assailant starts to call, text, and IM.

But for some reason the assailant never gets round to Snapchatting.

It sounds like it could be really lame, just an attempt to cash in on a franchise that should be left as it is. But the thing is, the show is actually pretty good.

The decision to steer clear of the film’s universe and instead introduce us to a whole lot of new characters really pays off. After all, I think the idea of someone coming after Sidney Prescot again has done its dash.

Having said that, you will definitely see parallels between some of the characters in the show and the movies, but it’s cool to see some fresh blood injected into the series. Willa Fitzgerald as Emma, Bex Taylor-Klaus (who you might recognise from Arrow) as Audrey Jensen, and John Karna as Noah Foster not only play the best characters, they also give the best performances.

One major change is Ghostface. No longer the bumbling psychopath with the elongated mouth, the TV series’ Ghostface is far more sinister, with a new mask to match.

But one thing hasn’t changed: the show is as self-aware as the movies. Noah, who sits in for Jamie Kennedy’s Randy, is the series’ go-to for meta-quips. Including a little spiel about how a slasher TV series couldn’t possibly be adapted to television.

Obviously he was wrong.

Even though the whole thing is stretched over ten episodes, Scream is still able to build and hold onto its dramatic tension. A slasher TV series shouldn’t work in theory, but it does.

The soapy element of the show no doubt aides its ability to keep our attention and that tension building. If you’re a fan of Revenge, you may find Scream to be quite similar, in terms of tone and story. It makes sense, since two of the writers/developers worked on the recently wrapped-up primetime soap.

On the down side, sometimes the acting and writing gets a bit too soapy and clichéd. But it still works. Soap operas don’t go on forever because no one watches them.

And of course, it wouldn’t be Scream if there weren’t a few good scares. Plus, you’ll constantly be kept guessing, just like with the movies.

So if you’re looking for a little bit of a horror/thriller with some soapy teenage drama thrown in, bingeing Scream might be a great way to spend your weekend.

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