“American Horror Story” (31 Nightmares #19)

31 Nightmares, Horror, TV

“American Horror Story,” from the beginning was clearly a special show, with also having a big influence on the horror genre and anthology format.Promos first started popping up, on FX, for AHS’s first season in summer 2011, with the show set to premiere on Oct. 5, 2011. Like season 6’s promos, the first promos were vague regarding the story, but they were actually pretty scary and effective.

Since then, AHS story, has had its major ups and downs. Murder House (season 1) showed the best of what AHS has had to offer. The style was scary and sexy, but also fun, without going overboard where the show easily could’ve. Most of the characters were very flawed but still enduring.

With how Murder House ended, I was really curious to see where season 2 will go. Obviously, the show ended up going the anthology route, which was a smart move for multiple reasons. This allowed American Horror Story to keep it’s unique style but also tell a completely new story. A lot of the same actors returned too, which helps create a unique ambiance about all the seasons.

Quality-wise, Asylum (season 2) was pretty consistent with Murder House. Asylum could go a little off the rails, story-wise, but the writers still kept themselves in check. Overall, Murder House is still the better season. That being said, there are things that Asylum did better than Murder House.

With Asylum the viewership kept growing and growing from Murder House, which led to an, unfortunately, disappointing season 3 (Coven). Coven started out great and was still mostly entertaining throughout, but the quality really started to slip here.

(Beginning of spoilers for “American Horror Story: Coven.”)

Multiple main characters were killed, then brought back, and even killed again in some cases. This happening so frequently really took a lot of the tension away. The most annoying of those instances being Jessica Lange. As great as of an actress as she is, Coven is where her characters really started to take over the show. Her character “dying” in the penultimate episode of Coven was so refreshing and unexpected, which made her coming back that much worse, and dying for real, so much worse.

Coven’s happy ending is also where I have to disagree with a lot of people. What’s wrong with that? So many horror movies have endings where the audience, for example, finds out the killer is still out there. There can be nothing wrong with that, but that type of ending can also feel tacked on just because it’s a horror movie, or it’s setting up a sequel. Coven’s ending was a nice change of pace.

(End of spoilers for “American Horror Story: Coven”)

AHS’s downward spiral only continued with “Freakshow” (season 4) and “Hotel” (season 5). “Hotel’s” worse, but both seasons are awful. The writers seemed like they either just gave up trying or had no idea what they were do. The style and visuals, more for “Hotel,” were still arresting, but the storylines were just so random and hastily thrown together.

Thankfully, after “Hotel’s” overall reception, the writers and producers reevaluated the show. This is an instance of when listening to the fans is actually a good thing. AHS was brought back to basics, with the season 6’s theme being kept under wraps.

From all this came AHS’ return to form, “Roanoke.” As a watcher of AHS, since the beginning, this was beautiful to witness. Never did I expect the show to get back on track as well as I did. The signature style was still there but presented in a new and exciting way, with not going too over the top. While there have been instances of that this season, it’s been kept to a minimum. The cast has also been used really effectively too. Some returning actors have surprising ┬ásmaller, but still effective, roles. None of them feel like their characters were written just to certain actors on the show.

Similar to “The Walking Dead,” even non horror fans watch “AHS.” The show also helped revitalize interest in the anthology format. I just hope “AHS” can keep up being consistently good, so it’ll deserved the credit people give it.

 

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