Deadline is reporting that the upcoming third season of MTV’s low-rated horror series Scream will feature a series reboot. Rather than continuing with the storylines and characters established during the show’s first two seasons (and subsequent Halloween special), season three of Scream is said to feature new cast and new storylines.
It’s as yet unclear how much a presence the events and characters of seasons one and two will have in season three, given that Scream still doesn’t have a showrunner for its upcoming third season. It’s also to be determined whether the third season will have any basis in the events and characters of season one and two or whether this will be an entirely new cast in an entirely new location with zero connection to Lakewood and the Brandon James mystery.
The move is fairly unusual for a show that opted away from becoming an anthology and embraced the serialized storyline that began in season one. The closest analog in recent memory is The Killing, which used one investigation to frame its first two seasons before rebooting a chunk of its supporting cast for its third season. However, that show still had its main two characters carry over and still had the procedural structure to make moving on from the case that dominated seasons one and two more natural than what Scream is doing.
The serialized nature of Scream makes me think that the reboot won’t have any real impact on the show’s low ratings. Especially in this day and age, it’s very difficult to get people to come back to a show they dropped or sample a show deep in its run, so the only real (but still quite long) shot this reboot could have is if the show manages to lure a fairly big name or two to join the cast. Were the anthological DNA baked into its identity from the beginning (a’la American Horror Story, Fargo, etc.), a complete creative reboot might not be fatal, but it’s asking quite a bit for a third-season serialized show to find new viewers while alienating those who watched the first two seasons. If the choice were between a complete reboot and giving the show a six-episode swan song, the latter might’ve been the way to go.
Scream is included on a MTV scripted slate that includes The Shannara Chronicles, Teen Wolf, and Sweet/Vicious.