TV Review: American Horror Story (FX)


There has never been anything like this show on television – every cult horror classic film all rolled into a one-hour television series stretched out over a several episodes. If you loved the twisted writing of LOST, you will be waiting for Wednesday nights with just as much anticipation.

Television dramas need the audience to feel connected to the characters while developing a weekly repertoire that draws them back. An audience will become invested in the storyline, needing to intake every tidbit they can consume from each of their favorite characters. AMERICAN HORROR STORY has put a new spin on typical television writing by opening the door to arm length character development.

This style keeps the viewer intrigued by purposefully putting a wall up between the audience and the characters while using a hook line reel. Its like playing chicken as a kid, riding your bicycle downhill against traffic and due to the youthful heart of invisibility, you begin to peddle faster. Who will swerve first? The speed forces your skin back from your face when out of nowhere a car backs out of their driveway crunching the bike under the back wheels. Your body begins tumbling in the air with no grasp on where gravity will drop you.

The sensation of flipping through the air equals the writing of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. The audience will be drawn into the story, yet never really grasping what decade they are viewing. The mental stability of some of the characters will be as off balance as the writing will keep the audience. It is the intrigue that will put this show on the map. Only FX and cable would have the gonads to step into a slim genre of shows who have attempted to bring out a new style to television.

Vampires are in but have been so glorified that the genre has been extremely watered down. For everyone who loves the vampire craze, this will not be a show for you. HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, GRINDERHOUSE and PULP FICTION are all feature films that are the basic foundation for the style of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. They have laid the groundwork and established an audience, but will those people be satisfied with the weekly installments?

FX, in conjunction with the twisted writing by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, along with the added writers should push the limits of television as we know it now. Murphy and Falchuk, also the creators, will tap into an audience waiting in the wings for something refreshing.

Dr. Benjamin Harmon (Dylan McDermott) is a practicing psychiatrist whose patients become entangled in his family life. Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) has drifted from her husband due to his previous infidelities. Moving to a new city gives hope for a fresh start.

Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga) is Ben and Vivien’s hard nosed spoiled daughter who quickly becomes attached to one of her dad’s patients. Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) is one boy no one would want their daughter to date, let alone be friends with. He is a patient of Ben’s who is drawn to Violet with feelings of protection.

Constance (Jessica Lange) is the strange new neighbor who has a twisted way with neighborly jesters. She can be cruel to her daughter, but that will not stop her from terrorizing anyone who may feel entitled to do the same. Addy (Jamie Brewer) is the down-syndrome daughter of Constance who does not understand her boundaries when it comes to the neighbor’s house.

Moira O’Hara (Frances Conroy) is a housekeeper who shows up and continues her job in the Harmon house with few questions asked. Everyone views Moira as an older woman except for Ben who sees her as a young, sexy, and attractive woman (Alex Breckenridge).

The lives of Moira, Tate and Constance have a connection to the house that Ben and Vivien have purchased. The show switches from the killings that have taken place in the house years earlier, the only question is what is real and what is fantasy or dreams. Some things or nothing can be real… what will your perception be?