American Horror Story – Ryan Murphy’s ingenious anthology that has gone on to spawn several other shows of a parallel format – boasts an impressive ensemble, and a rightfully earned devout fan following.
From Murder House to Coven, Ryan Murphy has produced some of the most captivating and eerily satisfying stories of the 21st century; however, not every season has been a smash hit. While you can never get enough of Jessica Lange as The Supreme in Coven, the same cannot be said about all the villains that seemed to emerge spontaneously in Freak Show.
While most of Ryan Murphy’s work has been impeccable, and we cannot deny his creativity, this list will highlight the American Horror Story seasons that left something to be desired.
‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ (Season 6)
Lady Gaga’s return to the screen in Roanoke, after her stint in Hotel, may have been quite a treat; however, not even Gaga’s turn as a powerful witch and seductress could save this season from its misguided intentions.
The show-within-a-show premise, while feeling just a tad bit derivative, also catalyzed confusion. Once the show placed the actors and the real people the actors were portraying back in the house together, it began to feel like the creators were searching for something to augment a story that simply had nothing left to offer. While receiving a rather high critics score, audiences gave the show a 55% on rotten tomatoes.
Pleasing the critics is excellent; however, the average viewer constitutes a higher percentage of the viewership. Thus, this season should be considered one of Murphy’s less successful AHS ventures.
‘American Horror Story: Cult’ (Season 7)
American Horror Story: Cult gets so wrapped up in its political agenda that it fails to produce a cohesive narrative, as plot holes surface throughout the entirety of the season.
While it is the responsibility of those who work in entertainment to reflect contemporary society and comment on political culture, the strength of the narrative and the depth of character exploration should have been paramount, and it was not.
Though we can all appreciate the fact that Ryan Murphy eschews subtlety in favor of blatant outcry, we do expect him to bring more to the table than he did with Cult. He took true-life fears currently abound and hyperbolized them (maybe a little) for entertainment; while clever and impactful, the season lacked depth.
The over-the-top creepiness was enough to satisfy devout AHS fans; however, those who pick and choose which seasons to watch (based on the first few episodes) did not stick around for the finale.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ (Season 4)
While placing Freak Show on this list will indubitably inspire controversy, the decision feels appropriate; however, Freak Show had more potential than the above two seasons. It just failed to rise to its own occasion.
Paulson was once again on display, and viewers got to watch this gifted actress wear two hats (literally and figuratively), which contributed to the show’s overall success. However, the show gets a bit lost in the middle and throws way too many characters at you, as a different villain took to the screen every episode.
And don’t forget the musical numbers. While this is currently a major trend (one that every time you think is fading rears its head), AHS doesn’t elicit the need for a musical number, so putting them in was a misstep.
If you’re one of the many who feels that Hotel should replace one of the other seasons on this list, remember that Hotel gave us Lady Gaga and Matt Bomer in bed together. Enough said.