Scream Queens was one of fall's most anticipated new shows and with good reason. With reknowned creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan at the helm of the project, the agreed consensus was that Scream Queens was set to be a ratings hit. The series takes place at Wallace University, focusing mainly on the sorority Kappa Kappa Tau as the campus is rocked by a series of murders. The Chanel's - led by Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts, American Horror Story: Coven, American Horror Story: Freak Show) are vivacious, full of life and off the wall. The show is spilling with recognisable actors, many of whom Murphy has worked with before. Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Dean Cathy Munsch, who attempts to disrupt all activity at Kappa due to her belief that sororities are evil. Munsch decides that everyone who wants to become a pledge of Kappa may do so, much to Chanel's horror. The comedy is witty, the screams are glass-shattering, the killings are brutal. Scream Queens has it all. Unfortunately the promised success never came to fruition. The pilot premiered to a mere 4.4 million viewers, and let's just say that things haven't got any better as the weeks have went on. With all of the hype, the star-studded cast and the reknowned creators, I guess the question here is why didn't the show take off?
To be truthfully honest, Scream Queens can be a little self indulgent. There are scenes and storylines reminsicent of earlier seasons of Glee and even hints of American Horror Story. Jamie Lee Curtis' character is literally a re-hash of Glee nemisis Sue Sylvester and Emma Robert's character Chanel shares many traits with her American Horror Story: Coven character Madison Montgomery. The premiere episode did feel a little slow for my liking, however it was enough to keep me interested. The second and third helpings have been much better, with the show becoming one of my absolute favourites. In terms of comedy and scene stealing, two characters come to mind: Hester Ulrich/Chanel #6 (played magnificently by the star of Glee Lea Michele) and Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash). Denise Hemphill literally has me in stitches every time she is on screen - my favourite scene thus far is when she accuses Zayday of being the killer. Lea Michele's Hester is hilarious - being a huge fan of Michele and of her Glee character Rachel Berry, I was curious to see how she would handle playing a completely different character. She doesn't disappoint and her scenes with the Chanels are hilarious.
According to several sources, Scream Queens is doing extremely well digitally - with the latest episodes constantly topping the iTunes download chart. The episodes are also rebroadcast during the week on FOX and have proven quite popular on the FOX NOW catch-up service. Murphy has said that he is not worried and that overnight ratings were "like reporting on a football game after the first quarter". Murphy also noted on Twitter that the full 7 day ratings for Scream Queens "grew 82 % AND is Fox's #2 show after EMPIRE". This is a huge achievement as Empire is arguably the biggest show on TV, so the fact that Scream Queens ranks just behind it on FOX is quite remarkable. Another point of interest is that #ScreamQueens also trends on Twitter every week: It is a social media success. It is obvious that we are living in a new era of TV, where shows are not necessarily watched live, but downloaded or streamed after the original broadcast.
This is hard one to call. Looking at the ratings, Scream Queens could be a flop but it makes up for all of it's ratings failures in digital downloads and streaming. So now that we are moving in to an era where we can literally watch anything at the click of a button - the main question here is can Scream Queens survive on its digital success alone? Only time will tell.