On Tuesday, MTV will premiere its highly anticipated adaptation of the Scream franchise. An idea that had many wondering, ‘How can that work as a TV show,’ has finally made it to the small screen. But creator Jill Blotevogel will tell you “it was a challenge.”
Stuck in development for over a year, the longtime TV producer behind ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars spin-off, Ravenswood, and Harper’s Island on CBS, had to pull the series -- at that point with a killer ghost machine built around social media and technology -- back to the core of the franchise’s success. “It had gone far from what really made Scream Scream, which is the masked killer, the meta humor, the teenage cast that you have to fall in love with,” Blotevogel says of taking the best elements from the film and putting them into the show.
It is original series, but the Scream DNA is all there -- a more faithful adaptation than MTV’s other TV series, Teen Wolf, which only shares the original film’s name and existence of a teenage werewolf.
In a conversation with Out, Blotevogel broke down TK things you need to know about the series sure to add a touch of fright and humor to the summer:
1. Scream will have more in common with Friday Night Lights than it will with any iteration of American Horror Story or FOX’s upcoming Scream Queens. Because this is a series and not a film, the story has to be spread out, but the audience also has to fall in love with the characters. “You just have to assume Sydney is good friends with Tatum,” Blotevogel says, referencing the 1996 slasher’s core friendship. “You have to let the teen drama be as strong as the horror element and the suspense element.”
2. There will be a larger mystery than any of the film’s stories. “We have to let our characters pick away at the mystery,” the creator says of the storyline that will not only include the mystery of the killer, but also a larger arc about that will delve into the secrets of the small town of Lakewood.
3. The show will play out over multiple seasons. This is not an anthology series like American Horror Story or True Detective with a new cast, new setting, and new murder mystery. And it also hopes to avoid the pitfalls of Pretty Little Liars thanks to its 10-episode seasons. There will be a lot less filler and (hopefully) a lot more action.
4. People will die -- just not every episode. It’s a slasher series; it’s still Scream, and Blotevogel says that while each episode will not feature a murder, characters will meet their end. “There’s a higher expectation for that,” she says, knowing that it’s also about making sure fans care about who dies as well.
5. Unlike Scream 4, the show will adapt to modern technology and social media. One of the film series' flaws was its inability to make ghostface a modern killer of victims with access to Facebook and Twitter. The show will play on new social mediums, such as YouTube and Snapchat, and how it serves as a tool for teens to bully and attack each other, but also how it informs the killer. “[The show] is much more in tune with the technology of today, the way that social media makes kids vulnerable without even realizing it,” Blotevogel says. The show is very much a warning about “checking in.” (The most obvious example of that is Bella Thorne’s death in the series’ opening sequence.)
6. The show is not re-writing the rules, but its beholden to them. A character may say, “I’ll be right back,” but it’s largely a wink rather than an omen. Blotevogel explains that it’s more fun to reference to them rather than re-write them or have to follow them explicitly.
7. The concept started with a story about a girl being outed, but it’s not what the show’s mystery is about. In fact, Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and Emma’s (Willa Fitzgerald) will serve as the series’ emotional spine. But it’s more about the drifting apart of two friends and how they can come back together in the midst of this crisis rather than who’s gay and who’s not.
8. And the show will take advantage of its good looking cast. Just like MTV’s Awkward or Teen Wolf, expect plenty of skin from the show’s hot (male) stars. “Things are going to go down,” the creator says. “We’ll have some of that.” That being sex appeal.
Scream premieres Tuesday, June 30 at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.