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American Horror Story

February 13, 2014

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I am obsessed with American Horror Story. I kind of always thought I would be when I first heard about it. But I didn’t have cable, and when it started, I wasn’t following TV so much. So, like most shows that I didn’t start watching when it began, I resigned myself to waiting until it was all over before watching it.

But then a friend showed me the promos for the third season, Coven. As someone who has always been intrigued and fascinated by witchcraft, and knowing that the third season didn’t tie into the first two, and having cable for the first time in many years, I decided to watch the show.

I was instantly hooked. I knew as soon as I finished the third season, I’d dive into Netflix and devour the first two.  It took me less than three days to watch seasons 1 and 2.

Not only is the show well written, but as an actor, talk about an amazing job: every season, you get to come back to the same show, but play someone completely different than last time.  As I understand it, True Detective on HBO is doing the same thing now, and it’s a trend that I hope continues. What fun it must be to know that you have a job lined up where you get to do something completely new every year! In a profession where you make your job decisions based largely on character, this is a dream job.

Since each season is a different setting with different characters, it’s easy to compare and say that one season is better than another. I think each season is the best, but for different reasons.

Season 1: Haunted House

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This season is the best because it is the most focused. The premise is that if you die in the house, you stay there as a ghost forever. I counted up to 23 before losing track. And since the ghosts can’t leave, and the ghosts are the scary part, most of the action takes place in the house, leaving little time for events to take place outside the house. No plot point is left untied up, and the action sweeps toward a natural conclusion. Also, Dylan McDermott running around without clothes is just a general reason to celebrate.

Season 2: Asylum

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This season is the best because it is the most compelling. As soon as Lily Rabe‘s Sister Mary Eunice became possessed, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. Combine that with Zachary Quinto‘s homicidal maniac Dr. Thredson in the 1960s and Dylan McDermott carrying on Thredson’s work in the present, I binged so hard on this season, not being able to do anything else until I knew the final outcome. Yes, there were some extraneous plots that we could have done without (Nazis, aliens, and the like), but overall, I thought this season was hardest to stop watching.

Season 3: Coven

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This season is the best because it’s the coolest.  From Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy)’s epic one liners, to Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison (Emma Roberts) bitching at each other over Kyle (Evan Peters), to any scene with Angela Bassett in it, I loved tuning in every week to see what these witch bitches would do to each other. Storywise, this is probably the weakest of the three, but it was definitely the campiest as well, and for that, I can’t fault it.

Only five actors have been on all three seasons: Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe, and Jessica Lange. While Frances Conroy always plays one of the most interesting characters each season, Jessica Lange rules the show. Every season, she gets better and better and when she is on screen, you’d better be watching, because she is one of the most talented actresses I’ve ever seen.  Whether watching her descend into madness or succumb to a fatal disease, she is simply the best. She deserves all the awards.

American Horror Story returns for season four, set in a circus. Predictions: Jessica Lange as fortuneteller, Denis O’Hare as ringmaster.

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