Winner of the week: “Scream Queens”
From the creators of “Glee”, “Scream Queens” at first appeared it would be a rip off of the “Scream” movies, or worse, the “Scream” TV series. Surprisingly, the show successfully merges elements of the “Scream” films with “Mean Girls” and the 1989 dark comedy “Heathers” to emerge as one of the most clever and well-written comedies of the season. That’s right, “Queens” is more comedy than horror and horror fans shouldn’t mind because the show is so darned funny.
Emma Roberts absolutely chews up the scenery as the evil (and not above murder) sorority president who will maim, poison and intimidate to keep her position so he can snag a highly coveted “Good Morning America” internship when she graduates. Jamie Lee Curtis gets the second most juicy role as the predatory Dean Munsch who blackmails male students for sex while doing everything in her power to bury the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority out of spite.
The show is VERY adult, the opposite of politically correct, mean-spirited and completely out of the realm of reality, but it works like gangbusters. The KKT pledges have hilarious nicknames like ‘Deaf Taylor Swift’ and ‘Neckbrace’ and the most memorable murder happens to the much reviled Ariana Grande who elects to text for help instead of calling out verbally while the slasher in the red devil suit is trying to kill her.
The unhip crowd may not get all the jokes and the mainstream viewers may not appreciate the tone, but if the two hour pilot episode is any indication, “Scream Queens” will be the cult hit of the season.
5 out of 5 stars
Loser of the week: “Heroes Reborn”
Talk about a missed opportunity. The reboot of Tim Kring’s hit-or-miss sensation “Heroes” showed no signs that it learned from its previous mistakes. The pilot was slow, the acting poor and old characters either didn’t make appearances this time or were killed off immediately if they did. None of the new super powered characters showed the same spark of charisma as the originals and the motivations of some characters didn’t make any sense – especially the genocidal couple committed to assassinating every ‘Evo’ on the planet.
Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) was both cool and menacing as the deactivated Primatech agent HRG but how the heck did his indestructible daughter Claire die so easily in the terror attack? Why does Hiro’s irritating Manga-wannabe daughter have the nonsensical, needlessly dangerous and fairly useless power to project herself into video games? Why is Mohinder Suresh, the most boring and longwinded character from the last series, now the new big (red herring) villain? Is the goofy Mexican wrestler/Batman ripoff character ‘El Vengador’ really going to be an important part of the overarching storyline? Where is Matt, Micah and Hiro and how long are we going to have to wait for them to show up… and will we even care at all when they do?
I’ll give the show a bit more time to find its legs but so far, it’s not looking good.
2 out of 5 stars
Question mark (?) of the week: “The Muppets”
Censorship watchdogs were boycotting “The Muppets” for what they called ‘perverted humor’ and strangely enough, they were correct about the adult nature of the show. Every other punchline contained sexual innuendo which would probably go over the head of most kids, but it still felt weirdly out of place and inappropriate for a show with fuzzy puppets. Still, the jokes were often funny and the inclusion of Muppets allowed for a healthy amount of slapstick amongst a faux-reality show comedy format like “The Office”.
Kermit and Miss Piggy’s relationship drama was the least interesting storyline of the pilot while Fozzy the Bear trying to gain the approval of his human girlfriend’s racist-against-Muppets father was the strongest plot device. Extra points to the always entertaining Animal who had to turn down an offer to go on tour with the band Imagine Dragons. His reason: “Too many women, too many cities.”
Hard to tell if this show can sustain, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out over the course of a season.
3 out of 5
Shows that were only slightly better than expected: “Limitless” and “Quantico”
Both of these shows delivered stronger than average pilots (particularly “Limitless”), but it is hard to say if they will live up to their promising premises.