Has American Horror Story Gone Stale?
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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
A teenage girl sits down on her couch at 10 p.m. on Wednesday after completing her daily mountain of homework. She flips to the FX channel and sits back, mentally preparing herself to be scared out of her mind for the next hour.
Sound familiar? Then you must be a fan of American Horror Story.
American Horror Story, a hit television show on FX, is now starting its fifth season of frights. The show has a structure that is quite unusual. Instead of following the same characters between seasons, each season begins with an entirely new setting and plot. The cast members stay the same, but they play different characters.
Past season settings include an insane asylum in the 1960s and a witches’ coven in present-day New Orleans. So, the question is, now that there have been five different horrific tales, are the writers of American Horror Story starting to run out of ideas?
The answer is most certainly a no. Although the show has had its ups and downs (let’s be honest, freak show wasn’t very freaky), the change of script every year gives the writers a chance to take into account the reactions from the previous seasons.
AHS stays fresh with the additions of big-name guest stars to each season. In season four, just when everyone was about to give up on that plot, the producers threw Neil Patrick Harris, who portrayed a mentally ill ventriloquist, into the show. This season has been hyped up by the addition of well-known music artist Lady Gaga, who portrays Elizabeth “The Countess,” a vampire who lives in the hotel. AHS has also discovered many virtually unknown actors and actresses and has helped to launch their careers. These up-and-comers include Evan Peters and Finn Wittrock.
Additionally, there is absolutely no other show like it on the air. Other television channels have tried to latch on to the public’s recent obsession with horror, but have failed. The new show Scream Queens’ blatantly obvious use of excessive fake blood, along with its stereotypical, sorority murder plot is boring and cliché. Sorority Row did it better. American Horror Story, on the other hand, has stellar special effects and acting, which have landed it 18 Primetime Emmy Nominations and four wins.
There is so much to look forward to this year with the setting of a Los Angeles hotel. The show is returning to present day and is also incorporating a new type of monster: the vampire. Much blood is to be expected. Unlike normal shows that often drag on and on after they reveal the villain, (yes Pretty Little Liars, I’m talking to you), American Horror Story can do the big reveal and then do it all over again in a new season
Sadly, Freakshow’s slow plot last year has made the ratings drop this season. Premiere viewers have continued to climb since the beginning, except for this last premiere, which dropped from 6.13 million to 5.81 million viewers. Critics argue that this could be a downward spiral for the television show. However, we must learn to forgive Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the creators of the show, because we all make mistakes. Their fault lies in revealing and killing the villain, “Twisty the Clown,” too early in the season. They should have kept the clown around until the end, for he was certainly the scariest part of the show.
Another argument for why American Horror Story is dying out is that it will run out of typical plots soon. However, the show’s writers have shown us just how creative they can be through twisted and wacky plots. I don’t think that ideas will be a problem. Additionally, there are many potentially spooky time periods that have not been covered such as The Great Depression and Victorian England. With thousands of years of human history to cover, the writers’ fountain of ideas will never run dry.
So yes, maybe Freak Show wasn’t freaky enough and Coven just reminded you of Mean Girls with a dash of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but hey, at least there’s always a completely new plot for next season.