Which Season of ‘Anerican Horror Story’ Is the Best?

Anthology shows have finally found their way back to TV and streaming, even though they’re still a small niche. American Horror Story is arguably the most successful of these types, even if not all seasons have been winners in the eyes of fans.

Now in its ninth season, many media analysts are starting to look back at the best seasons of the show and which ones made the most impact. There seems to be agreement it hasn’t necessarily aged well, even if it’s mostly maintained its repertory of actors all along.

What’s considered best from the series will probably be more subjective than usual since what scares people is always different based on the individual. At least it’s widely accepted the show has never failed to take some exciting creative risks over the years.

Have more recent seasons really been the weakest?

American Horror Story cast
American Horror Story cast | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

If going by a recent Vulture countdown of best AHS seasons, the first three seasons (containing all of the original cast members) had the highest quality of writing. Not that even this last season’s arc wasn’t creative in its approach.

Every season managed to create high concepts that took place in the strangest possible places, with the most interesting situations, and even different time periods. Those early days, though, really set a precedent for what the show wanted to do.

There is one surprise on the Vulture list. One recent season made their Top Three. It’s a good idea to consult with other sources, however, to gain a sense of what the best seasons of AHS are.

Not all fans agree on what the best season is, but there’s a growing consensus among media analysts on what #1 should be.

Season 7 managed to make Vulture’s Top 3

Some sites usually cite a jumble of the first three seasons first in their Top Three list. Vulture deviated from this and noted Season 7 (Cult) at #3, something offering some validity.

Considering S7 didn’t have anything to do with supernatural elements, it somehow became even creepier using the 2016 Presidential election as the setup. All of the strange people involved–including Charles Manson of all people–just gave it a haunting edge arguably making it closer to our reality than anyone was willing to admit.

Other sites (like Screen Rant) mark this one lower because they thought it was too political. One thing they can’t argue is it gave Sarah Paulson more to do than ever in playing multiple roles.

It’s a tossup with Season 2

Many analysts think Season Two was the greatest of all, but there’s still wide differences of opinion. One can argue it’s the most fully realized season of American Horror Story in their storylines.

Called Asylum, this opened the doors to the show going retro and looking back to different time periods. Asylum took place in the 1960s inside a mental institution, something mirroring One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in more than one way.

As Collider notes, the second season explored horror of the mind, outside of series regular Jessica Lange creeping everyone out with her “Name Game” song.

If one has to find a weakness to this season, it’s the alien abductions, proving AHS has to throw in everything, sometimes to its own detriment.

Season 1 seems to be the most loved

Arguments are still occurring on whether Season 1 or 2 should be at the top for best season. Anyone citing the first season has a lot of good evidence to back up any claims. While that season set up the entire structure of the series, Murder House was a standard haunted house tale with some dark twists.

Adding to the fact the main character was a psychiatrist being driven mad by the ghosts haunting his family’s house, it told audiences to expect a lot of psychological elements in future years.

Indeed they have while still experimenting on sometimes crazy levels. Now with the show renewed for three more seasons, it’s going to be interesting to see where the show goes with the original cast reportedly returning one more time.