If you haven’t watched Scream Queens yet and were wondering if you should check the series out, I’ll provide my thoughts on season one in the most spoiler free way possible while addressing whether or not I would recommend it. I wrote about who the intended audience for the series likely was back at the beginning of the season (here) and my assessment of that has changed some since then, especially in light of the finale. This was a series that forgot that it was supposed to be a horror show at times, as it became a goofy comedy with too many voice overs and character actions that didn’t always make sense.
The finale was incredibly disappointing as it abandoned the horror tropes it was utilizing rather effectively in earlier episodes. Slashers typically have a lull in the action around the middle of the story as they build towards a big finale, but this show didn’t follow that template with a finale that was quite the dud. The show also seemed to be a bit too in love with its lead characters to let any of them die. That can be forgivable if the characters at least seem to be in danger and there is some tension, but this show doesn’t even achieve that.
To be fair, there was a bit of entertainment to be found in the series but the ending so thoroughly dropped the ball that it would make me much less likely to recommend anyone watch the series from beginning to end. A scene with chainsaws being utilized as the weapon of choice from an early season episode remains one of my favorite television moments of the year, but even that can’t make up for the later episodes’ missteps. If the show had maintained the zany atmosphere of the early season episodes and made it seem that any of the main characters were ever in danger, my opinion would likely be different. The show referenced a number of classic or less than mainstream horror movies and worked those elements into the episodes earlier in the season and later abandoned that technique to the show’s detriment. What’s the fun of a slasher show if it isn’t much of a slasher?
The show promised that there would be at least one death in each episode and while that may have technically been true, some of the deaths were of characters that were so unimportant their demise made absolutely no impact. In one episode the character that dies shows up literally seconds before getting killed, never to be seen again. Aside from the lack of thrilling kills and the show abandoning its horror influences later on, it also seemed to be padded out with a bit too much filler content. There are a few episodes where not much happens and the finale lands with a thud leaving the characters and comedy to be the elements that you really need to connect with to enjoy the overall season. While some of the characters are entertaining to watch, the humor alone isn’t enough to recommend the show.
I started out enjoying this series quite a bit and looking forward to each new episode. The cinematography and music were consistently entertaining and seeing Jamie Lee Curtis back in a horror project was a bonus as well. The mid season clunkers made me start to question the direction of the show, and the finale made me almost angry with its fumbling of the story’s potential. If the season had been finished out with a satisfying finale, I would feel much more confident recommending the show to someone. After the finale however, I can’t really recommend anyone search out this show to watch in its entirety. That seems to be a similar statement to what many have said about each season of American Horror Story (also created by Ryan Murphy) as they usually lost momentum as they approached their finales. At this point, I had fun watching a few episodes but don’t know that I would even watch the second season if it gets the green light. Comparing it to MTV’s recent Scream series, I think that Scream Queens is ultimately a more entertaining show with better acting but its ending leaves so much to be desired that both shows are not something I would recommend most horror buffs check out.