Full disclosure: I was a big fan of the first couple of seasons of Glee. I didn’t dig the musical series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan so much for its sweet surface, but rather the snarky and subversive streak that was just underneath. With the upcoming satirical Scream Queens, as my video review above says, that streak has ripped through to the surface as a mean and murderous piece of work — and I mean that all in the best ways.
An unabashed homage to slasher B-movies with a deeper bent, Fox’s sorority-set horror-comedy anthology that premieres September 22 is led by the battling Emma Roberts and original scream queen herself Jamie Lee Curtis. The American Horror Story alum plays Chanel Oberlin, the rich, pretty, aspiring TV anchor and face-burning evil head of the elite Kappa Kappa Tau sorority. As a series of murders plague the campus and KKT, Oberlin finds her carefully constructed universe threatened by Curtis’ Dean Cathy Munsch.
To say more is to give away the fun, but add to that topical mix a 20-year-old bloodbath mystery and fast-paced, pop-culture-zinging scripts and you’ve got our attention, Mr. Murphy – he directs the first part of the two-hour pilot, with Falchuk helming the second part. Then bring everything to a boil with Abigail Breslin, in her first TV series regular role; Ariana Grande; CrazySexyCool actress Keke Palmer; Glee‘s Lea Michele, in a neck brace; Nick Jonas; Rock Of Ages’ Diego Boneta; and another AHS regular, Skyler Samuels, who plays Grace, a sweet smart girl who pledges Kappa because her dead mother was a member and wants to make the sorority empowering.
There are smart shout-outs to Diane Sawyer (who knew?), Jeb Bush and the 2016 White House race, Taylor Swift (who really should make a cameo), Faces Of Death, Michael Bay, and Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. While witty, that wrapping also serves to betray that Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan actually are interested in handling some serious topics of wealth, race and gender in contemporary America – and doing it well.
So check out my video review of Scream Queens. Will you be howling on September 22?