Will Ryan Murphy’s ‘Scream Queens’ Measure Up to ‘AHS’?
Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Ryan Murphy’s career as a showrunner has been nothing short of diverse. He first burst onto the scene as the writer and creator of the plastic surgery-centric drama Nip/Tuck, working his way through eight largely successful seasons. But his real fame came in 2009, when Glee first hit the airwaves with its vast array of pop music covers and teen high school drama. Two years later, American Horror Story came to life, spawning a similarly successful show in yet another genre. His next venture though, may be his most bold undertaking yet in Scream Queens, starring AHS mainstay Emma Roberts along with Glee star Lea Michele. The series will attempt to tread in the comedy/horror genre, borrowing elements from the patently gruesome American Horror Story while still trying to remain light-hearted and funny. It’ll be a tough line to walk, and represents some uncharted territory for Murphy in terms of tone. But that’s never stopped him from crossing into all manner of genres before, so perhaps this is the next logical step for a creative mind who never likes to stay in one place for long. In terms of the structure, Scream Queens will mimic AHS as an anthology series, bringing back the same core group of actors each season for a brand new story. The first season is set to take place on a college campus in the midst of a mysterious murder spree, with the initial teaser hinting at some sort of monster/demon as the culprit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ_AIyP67eY What this series will run up against early on: American Horror Story. How do you top a horror anthology that defined the genre on TV as we know it? Even though AHS has seen its fair share of creative issues, there’s no denying its mass appeal. With that, it’s become the one series that all future Ryan Murphy shows will be measured against, especially given the structural similarities with this newest project. For Scream Queens to succeed, there’s plenty it can learn from its predecessor’s achievements as well as its mistakes. First and foremost, this new show will have to lean heavily on the wide cast of characters that’s come to define AHS, while still not ranging out too far. Later seasons of American Horror Story have started to see trouble when too many characters and plotlines were introduced into the equation, confusing audiences and making it more of a slog than anything. Scream Queens may find itself greatly hindered though, thanks to its home network of FOX, rather than the edgier, more R-Rated FX. The horror elements will be greatly limited in terms of what’s allowed to be shown, making the comedy all that more important. Over his career, Ryan Murphy has managed to be a creative chameleon of sorts, but this latest project will push that ability further than it’s ever gone before. It certainly won’t be easy to play off of the decidedly serious nature of his last horror venture, and then follow that up by also making it equal parts terrifying and hilarious. We’ll have to trust in his abilities, and let the rest work itself out. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest More From Entertainment Cheat Sheet: