“American Horror Story.” Everyone, horror fanatics and otherwise, have been buzzing about the newest installment of Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy’s annual horror anthology series. From speculations about the show’s direction to nods of approval and kudos to the very talented cast, it seems as though everyone has something to say.
This season of “American Horror Story” opened with a huge bang, garnering enough viewers to make it the third most watched premiere in FX’s history. A lot of the success is credited to the mystery surrounding the theme of the show; however, based on numbers, it appears there’s no sign of “AHS: Roanoke” losing steam any time soon.
In an interview with Variety, Sarah Paulson (Shelby on “AHS: Roanoke” among several others) promised that there are big things to come this season that should thrill and satiate the legions of devoted fans and keep those ratings as sky high as they have become known to be.
“I know something and I can’t tell you! I have to tease you like that, because you’re going to go ‘What?!’ It’s not necessarily connected, but something’s happening. Something’s happening that people are going to go nuts for. They’re going to go nutty bobo nut town. I haven’t shot it yet, but it’s something that will be part of this season. “
“American Horror Story” is one of those pop cultural phenomenons that only come around the bend every so often. While voracious fandom is nothing new, “American Horror Story” has grown to boast a (heavily divided) fan base of almost “Star Wars-ian” proportions. A simple Google search of “American Horror Story Discussion” brings up thousands of hits. People discussing plot points, character development, speculations, criticisms (lots of those), and general inquiries about the show and its trajectory everywhere and venturing into one of these petri dishes of pop culture can be quite overwhelming. However, if that’s not a sign of success, I don’t know what is; Nielson numbers and FX ratings be damned.
Television is revolutionizing itself; becoming a legitimate contender to its big screen counterpart and it’s largely thanks to television like “American Horror Story.”
When “American Horror Story” began back in 2011, it did so to little fanfare. Aside from the return of veteran actress Jessica Lange, the “little show that could” didn’t have much to ride on. Thankfully, due to the public’s need/want for a horror anthology series and the spectacular presentation of it all (along with some fantastic, fantastic acting) it gained the traction it needed to become the entity we know and love today.
That said, “American Horror Story” changed television forever. Sure, blockbuster network TV is nothing new. Before “AHS”, “The Walking Dead” had its groundbreaking premiere, “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” were staples, and HBO had been providing award-winning content for decades. However, even with all that in place, “American Horror Story” managed to change the game.
By providing us with a story that, season to season, has little to no obvious connection with each other (other than its recurring cast of actors) “American Horror Story” has created its own unique brand of storytelling that now finds itself mimicked in shows like “True Detective” and “Fargo.” Each of them creating its own sense of cause and effect; these characters and their actions exist solely in their own, isolated universe with only the thinnest of threads connecting them to the “outside world.” Acting as sort of a “visual novel,” the stories bend and weave as they see fit, recognizing each other without directly interfering.
Speculation says that, supposedly, all of that dodging and weaving will come to an end this season. “American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare” allegedly aims to finally connect the threads between seasons, connecting everything into one coherent universe.
Part of me wonders whether or not that would be a loss.
“American Horror Story” has managed to create a new brand of episodic storytelling in its isolationist approach. I, for one, kind of like the idea that these things exist solely in their own bubbles; impacting only the direct world around them.
While the impact of “AHS” isn’t likely to go away, nor the legions of fans surrounding it, I fear that maybe some of the magic will be lost depending on how things unfold.
Regardless, one this is for certain – “American Horror Story” isn’t going anywhere and there are big things coming. And entertainment as a whole has become a whole lot better thanks to “the little show that could.”
“American Horror Story” airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX. Stay tuned to Terror Time for all the juicy, gruesome gossip as this season progresses.
Follow and insult Ian Donegan on Twitter @ianjdonegan.