Scream Queens (2015 TV series)

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This article is about the Fox horror/ black comedy series. It is not to be confused with Scream Queens (2008 TV series).
Scream Queens
Scream Queens, title art.jpg
Season one title card; season two title card features silver-colored title.
Genre
Created by
Starring
Theme music composer
  • Mac Quayle
  • Heather Heywood
  • Alexis Martin Woodall
Opening theme "You Belong to Me" by Heather Heywood
Composer(s) Mac Quayle
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 23 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Ian Brennan
  • Brad Falchuk
  • Ryan Murphy
  • Alexis Martin Woodall
  • Dante Di Loreto
Producer(s)
  • Barry M. Berg
  • Robert M. Williams Jr.
Location(s)
Cinematography
Editor(s)
Running time 42–44 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Original release September 22, 2015 (2015-09-22) – present
External links
Website

Scream Queens is an American comedy horror television series created for Fox by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan and produced by Murphy, Falchuk, Brennan, and Alexis Martin Woodall. The series premiered on September 22, 2015. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Ryan Murphy Productions, Brad Falchuck Teley-vision, and Prospect Films. The first season takes place at the fictional Wallace University, being produced in New Orleans, Louisiana. One of the sororities, Kappa Kappa Tau, becomes plagued by a serial killer, who uses the university's Red Devil mascot as a disguise.[2]

On January 15, 2016, Fox renewed the series for a second season,[3] which premiered on September 20, 2016.[4] Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, Billie Lourd, Lea Michele, Jamie Lee Curtis, Niecy Nash, Glen Powell, Keke Palmer, and Oliver Hudson reprise their roles while John Stamos, Taylor Lautner, James Earl and Kirstie Alley were added to the cast, and the season is set in a hospital, being produced in Los Angeles, California.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

The first season focuses on the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority at Wallace University, led by Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and her fellow Chanels #3 (Billie Lourd) and #5 (Abigail Breslin), that is threatened by Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis). Events reignite a 20-year-old murder mystery, with the reemergence of the serial killer dressed as the Red Devil mascot, who begins targeting the sorority members.[7]

The second season shows Cathy Munsch having started a hospital after leaving the university business. She has taken an acquitted Chanel, Libby, and Sadie under her wing after the real Red Devil killer came clean. While handling different medical cases, Cathy and the Chanels end up encountering a new serial killer called the Green Meanie.[8]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

  • Niecy Nash as Denise Hemphill (special guest)
  • Ariana Grande as Sonya Herfmann / Chanel #2 (special guest season 1)
  • Nick Jonas as Boone Clemens (special guest season 1)
  • Breezy Eslin as Jennifer (season 1)
  • Jeanna Han as Sam (season 1)
  • Evan Paley as Caulfield Mount Herman (season 1)
  • Aaron Rhodes as Rodger (season 1)
  • Austin Rhodes as Dodger (season 1)
  • Jan Hoag as Ms. Agatha Bean (season 1)
  • Jim Klock as Detective Chisolm (season 1)
  • Trilby Glover as Jane Hollis (season 2)
  • Jerry O'Connell as Dr. Mike (season 2)
  • Laura Bell Bundy as Nurse Thomas (season 2)
  • Andy Erikson as Marguerite Honeywell / Chanel #7 (season 2)
  • Riley McKenna Weinstein as Daria Janssen / Chanel #8 (season 2)

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 September 22, 2015 (2015-09-22) December 8, 2015 (2015-12-08)
2 10 September 20, 2016 (2016-09-20) December 20, 2016 (2016-12-20)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Brad and Ian and I, all three of us, were always obsessed with the '80s/early '90s slasher genre that was always about young people and always about coming of age. So we loved that and we decided to sort of be inspired by that idea. That was sort of the impetus of it.

—Co-creator Ryan Murphy on the inception of the series.[7]

On October 20, 2014, Fox Broadcasting Company announced that it had ordered a 15-episode season of Scream Queens (including a second season in the original contract) , created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan who also co-created Glee, which was later reduced to 13 episodes. The series will be executive produced by Murphy, Falchuk, Brennan, and Dante Di Loreto.[9] The series premiered in September 2015.[10] Murphy has stated that every episode a cast member will be killed off, saying, "It's very much like Ten Little Indians. There's a real tune-in factor because it's like, Who's going to be picked off this week? And also who is the killer? Every episode, you get clues as to who the killer is going to be and then all of these clues accumulate." The series will not be completely anthological in nature with Murphy stating, "Whoever survives—and there will be people who will survive—they will go on next season to a new location and a new terror. Unlike [Murphy and Falchuk's other like series] American Horror Story, which completely reboots, this has some of the continuity in that some of the characters and some of the relationships continue into a new world." The first season's killer will not be revealed until the final episode.[7] Murphy has announced that the second season will feature three Halloween episodes.[11]

Falchuk shared insight on the decision making of who the killer(s) would be, saying, "We decided right at the beginning. We talked through what is it — Who is the killer? What is it? — so we would always know going forward. In that process, we've had moments where we're like, 'What if instead of this person, it's this person?' Then we talk it through, and we've always come back to our original plan." Further elaborating on the nature of a whodunit narrative Falchuk stated, "We're very careful to have somebody go through the script all the time and try to understand who was attacked, when they were attacked, why they were attacked, and if it's possible that we are eliminating anyone as a suspect by doing this. The answer always has to be no, because we know how fans are. They make big charts about who the killer is, and then someone figures it out. I think there's great fun in the whodunnit, but it's also, somebody's going to figure it out. By the end of episode one, somebody's going to figure it out, because that's what people do. I don't think it'll take anything away from anything."[12]

Falchuk talked at length about the decision making processes as to who will die in each episode, "It's harder casting and directing actors you know you're going to have to kill off. Once you get on the set and you're working with them, they're sometimes so great that it's challenging." The creator continued, "...when we got to know the actress who played Deaf Taylor Swift, she was so funny that we got together and said, 'Is there a way we can not kill her and maybe kill someone else?' And it's like no, we love everybody, and it also sort of fit with the story, so we had to go forward with it." Speaking to the tricky horror/comedy nature of the show, Falchuk stated, "The way you find the balance is understanding that, when you're missing some ingredients, certain ingredients are super strong, and the flavor is so strong that if you use too much, it ruins the whole soup. Horror is something that is a really strong flavor, so just little drops of it is the best recipe." The series is a commentary on "youth culture and college culture", with characters like Dean Munsch and Wes Gardner providing the adult commentary. "He's connected in a way that it's harder for him to be objective about, because his daughter, Grace, is there. Then you have the dean, and she lives having seen this culture develop over the course of her years as an educator, and she's reacting to it."[12]

In September 2015, it was revealed that scream queen Heather Langenkamp is behind the special effects for the series.[13]

Casting[edit]

"It's Mean Girls meets Friday the 13th. I think it's laugh-out-loud funny, it's edge-of-your-seat scary and everyone is wearing Chanel. What other reasons do you need [to watch]?"

—Lead actress Emma Roberts on the series[14]

Season 1[edit]

In December 2014, it was reported that Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis would be featured as series regulars.[15] In January 2015, Lea Michele, Joe Manganiello, Keke Palmer, and Abigail Breslin joined the series' main cast, as well as actress/singer Ariana Grande in a recurring capacity.[16] Later that month, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Nick Jonas would recur throughout the first season.[17] In February 2015, newcomer Billie Lourd and Skyler Samuels joined the series' main cast.[18][19] Later in the month, Niecy Nash joined the recurring cast as Denise, a kick-butt security guard;[20] and British actor Lucien Laviscount, Diego Boneta and Glen Powell were confirmed as regulars.[21][22] In March, Nasim Pedrad was cast as a series regular.[23] On March 13, 2015, previously cast Manganiello was forced to depart the series, due to publicity obligations for his film Magic Mike XXL. Oliver Hudson was hired as his replacement.[24] On June 24, 2015, it was announced that Charisma Carpenter and Roger Bart would portray Chanel #2's (Grande) parents.[25] In August 2015, Philip Casnoff was cast as Cathy's (Curtis) husband.[26][27] In September 2015, Murphy announced, through his Twitter feed, that Patrick Schwarzenegger had joined the cast.[28] He will portray Chad's (Powell) younger brother, Thad.[29] Chad's older brother, Brad, will be played by Chad Michael Murray;[30] while Alan Thicke and Julia Duffy have been cast as Mr. and Mrs. Radwell.[31]

Season 2[edit]

John Stamos, Taylor Lautner and Colton Haynes have joined the upcoming second season.[32] On July 28, 2016, it was announced that Jerry O'Connell and Laura Bell Bundy will have recurring roles.[33]

Scream Queens cast at 2015 Comic Con.
L–R: Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Skyler Samuels, Keke Palmer, Abigail Breslin, Billie Lourd
Scream Queens cast at 2016 Paleyfest.
L–R : Brad Falchuk, Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Niecy Nash, Keke Palmer, Abigail Breslin, Billie Lourd

Filming[edit]

Ryan and Brad and Ian are geniuses, and they get it right. They get it right as a duo, and they get it right as a trio. So I trust Ryan with my life — literally, my career, my life, whatever the f— [sic] he wants me to do. You want me to wear a neck brace and talk about how I love having sex with dead bodies? I'm all yours.

—Co-star Lea Michele on working with the series' creators.[34]

Season 1[edit]

The series began principal photography on March 12, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana.[35][36] Exterior campus scenes were shot at Tulane University. The show completed filming of the pilot episode in April 2015, with filming for the remaining first season installments commencing in early June 2015.[37] Murphy, Brennan, and Falchuk were said to be the first season's sole directors;[38] however, this was later proven not to be the case.

Curtis filmed an intricate homage to her mother's, Janet Leigh, classic shower scene in Psycho. Falchuk spoke about being hesitant to include the scene, "I thought, 'Can I do this? Do I need to ask her?' So then I wrote it and then got a text from her very quickly after she read the script. Her text was, 'We need to do this shot-for-shot.' Then, typical Jamie Lee, she started sending me all the websites and Tumblrs that have each shot laid out and storyboarded." Curtis bought out a greeting card company that had the image of her mother screaming, and placed one near the monitor. She viewed the Psycho scene several times between takes, matching the smallest details, such as which hand reaches for the bar of soap, and twitches of the eye. "It's a big deal and I don't take it lightly," Falchuk concluded, "...that she went for it like that was very moving for me."[39]

Season 2[edit]

The second season sees production move from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Los Angeles, California; after scoring a significant tax credit. Principal photography commenced in July 2016.[40]

Main title sequence[edit]

The title sequence for the series features Roberts, Michele, Samuels, Palmer, Boneta, Powell, Breslin, and Lourd in an homage to 80s horror flicks. An original song, "You Belong to Me" is performed by singer Heather Heywood, which was written by show composer Mac Quayle, Heywood and executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall.[41] The title sequence only appeared in the fifth episode "Pumpkin Patch", though it was trimmed down to under a minute due to time constraints.

Marketing[edit]

On February 13, 2015, Fox released the first teaser trailer for the series on YouTube.[42] Another teaser followed on March 13, featuring Roberts,[43] and another aired during the first season finale of Empire, featuring Palmer.[44] On April 9, 2015, another teaser was released featuring Roberts, and once again on April 27.[45][46] Later that month, Entertainment Weekly released a series of exclusive posters.[10] Exclusive poster art was found at Six Flags locations throughout the summer.[47] On May 19, 2015, the first full-length trailer was released. On July 1, 2015, cast portraits were released.[48]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Season Time slot (ET) # Ep. Premiered Ended TV
season
Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
1 Tuesday 9:00 p.m. 13
September 22, 2015
4.04[49]
December 8, 2015
2.53[50] 2015–16 #103[51] 4.72[51]
2 10
September 20, 2016
2.17[52]
December 20, 2016
1.37[53] 2016–17 TBA TBA

Critical response[edit]

The first season of Scream Queens received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 69%, based on 68 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts, Scream Queens fails to satisfy."[54] On Metacritic, the season was given a score of 59 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[55] Nonetheless, IGN reviewer Terri Schwartz gave a very positive review of the two-hour premiere, giving it a 9.7 out of 10 and saying "Ryan Murphy has worked his TV magic again with a killer start to Scream Queens. From the acting to the costuming to the writing, everything about this concept and execution works. Scream Queens is as funny and self-aware as it needs to be to not bore audiences, but also offers up enough mystery and intrigue to keep even the biggest skeptic entertained."[56] The Telegraph also gave a positive review, awarding the show four stars out of five. They commented that the show pummels "the viewer into submission with sheer, rictus-grinning relentlessness" and praised it for being "shiny, gory and whip-smart."[57]

The second season received better reviews from critics, with some considering it a significant improvement over the previous season. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 83% approval rating with an average rating of 7.12/10 based on 6 reviews.[58] Orly Greenberg, from the Observer, gave a mixed to positive review. She acknowledged the improvement of the script, noting that "the writing truly does seem better," and commented on the absurdism which she felt is the core of the show, stating "Maybe the trick to Scream Queens is to not take it too seriously." She also remarked the participation of John Stamos as a positive addition to the cast. Nonetheless, she saw problems in the cast performance and the overall execution, stating "season two feels just slightly stronger than the previous semi–disaster of a season last year [although] the show still feels like some wonderful, gigantic catastrophe, make no mistake. Its tone is scattered [and] its acting is inconsistent at best."[59]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2015 Critics' Choice Television Awards Most Exciting New Series Scream Queens Won
2016 Dorian Awards[60] Campy TV Show of the Year Nominated
People's Choice Awards[61] Favorite New TV Comedy Won
Favorite Actress in New TV Series Emma Roberts Nominated
Lea Michele Nominated
Jamie Lee Curtis Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[62] Best Actress – TV Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Satellite Awards[63] Best Actress – TV Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[64] Best TV Supporting Actress Nominated
Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards[65] TV Mini-Series (MOW) – Best Contemporary Make-up Eryn Krueger Mekash, Kelley Mitchell, Melissa Buell Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Show: Comedy Scream Queens Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Comedy Emma Roberts Nominated
Lea Michele Nominated
Choice TV: Villain Nominated
2017 Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards[66] Television and New Media Series - Best Contemporary Hair Styling Crystal Cook, Anna Quinn, Ai Nakata Nominated

Broadcast[edit]

The series had its world premiere at the 2015 Comic-Con in July.[67] In late August, free screenings of the pilot along with two other new Fox pilots were held in select cities.[68] In the United States, it premiered on Fox on September 22, 2015.[38][69] In Canada, Scream Queens airs simultaneously with the U.S.[citation needed] On October 26, 2015, the series premiered E4 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. After the season two hiatus the show on return to E4 moved to a late night timeslot airing Thursdays at Midnight.[70] In Australia, the series debuted on Ten on September 23, 2015, before moving to its sister channel, Eleven, with episode two on the same day.[71]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]