Scream Queens Tuesdays, 9 p.m. (premieres September 22, 8 p.m.), Fox.
Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror Story fame (along with his co-creators on those shows, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan) brings the worst qualities of both shows to the abysmal Scream Queens, an alleged horror-comedy that’s horrifying in all the wrong ways. Like Horror Story, Scream Queens is an anthology of sorts, although some of its characters are meant to continue on to new stories and settings in future seasons (if they survive). The first season is set at a college sorority house, where a mysterious killer is picking off students and staff members one by one.
As on Horror Story, the creators are constantly trying to escalate the shock value, and coherent storytelling and recognizable characters are the first things to be sacrificed. Despite its superficial homages to horror classics, Scream Queens is completely clueless about what’s actually scary, and its comedy is ugly and mean-spirited, full of hateful stereotypes and casual misogyny. Murphy is great at attracting a talented cast (which here includes Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis and Abigail Breslin, among others) and then saddling them with obnoxious characters and ridiculous dialogue. The creators seem determined to make the show as tasteless, garish and insulting as possible. In that sense, they succeed.