RogerBW's Blog

Scream Queens season 2 18 July 2017

2016, 10 episodes. Horror comedy by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan: the survivors of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house massacre are now running a hospital, but they haven't got away from masked killers.

It's a bit of a leap, but really anything would have been: the season one story was over and done with, and the only way to retain the cast is with a huge narrative wrench. Nobody really seems to fit into their new roles (ex-Dean Cathy Munsch as the head of the hospital, the others starting off as nursing assistants) and there's a whole new level of suspension of disbelief required as ongoing shenanigans (and at least one murder per episode) are completely unremarked by the outside world.

Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) is clearly the star this timeā€¦ and that's a flaw, because last time she had straight men to play off and observe her awfulness, and now she doesn't. It's an easy mistake to make, taking the popular but simplistic character and putting them at centre stage, like making a Pirates of the Caribbean film that's about Jack Sparrow rather than using him for comic commentary. Dr Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is blatantly down in the mud playing the hormonal power games of the Chanels rather than even trying to appear to be on a higher plane. Grace Gardner is gone, and while Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer) does her best to fill the "sensible person" slot she's sidelined by the narrative and largely missing from later episodes.

For me this season never felt grounded: in this fantasy-hospital, anything could happen, so there was no challenge to solve the mystery or dramatic tension as to how someone might get out of a bad situation. The show crossed the line between absurdism and nonsense.

"Why are you trying to bring logic into this conversation? You do realise we are insane people, right?"

Maybe it's just that production moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles; a move like that always changes the flavour of a show, presumably as all the non-"name" production staff are recruited anew rather than relocated, though the three original writers continued to produce all the scripts.

Reviews were more positive than for the first season, but ratings were down by half and the show was not renewed.

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