The series from Murphy, the man best known for inflicting "Glee" on the free world, is truly a unique happening in the world of modern TV. Rather than struggle to tell an ongoing story that follows the same set of characters season after season, "American Horror Story" is an anthology, which means that each season is its own self-contained story with a beginning, middle and end. Only the actors are the same. The result is an expertly crafted tale that, in addition to being pants-soilingly terrifying, also delivers some of the most satisfying moments on television.
The plots will never tax your brain or your patience; each story is told in a straightforward manner that zips quickly from scene to scene. Each season crams in about thirty story arcs, so there's always something to tickle your fancy, whether your horror tastes run towards the supernatural, the macabre, the interstellar, or anywhere in between. The show is easy to dive into, but twisty and disturbingly fascinating.
Fair warning to new viewers: if someone describes the specifics of the plot and it sounds dumb, you're not alone. I mean, in our jaded society, who's afraid of a guy who calls himself "Bloody Face"? Super subtle, there, guy. The twist is, by the end of the season, you'll find yourself actually terrified of the man.
Ok, pulpy horror is all well and good (heck, Quentin Tarantino's made an entire career out of it), but what about the more discerning viewers looking for some credibility in their drama? If you can get past the gore and the violence, then the acting and writing will be more than enough to satisfy you.
With few exceptions, you won't find better written characters on any other show on television. The cast is also perhaps the best ensemble on TV. All those Emmy nods aren't for nothing. Speaking of the talent, this season looks to be bigger and better than ever before. In addition to the series regulars like Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, the awesome Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe and Evan Peters, the third season of "AHS" is adding dramatic heavyweights Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett and "Precious" herself, Gabourey Sidibe.
We can't tell you what's in store for the third season of "American Horror Story". All we know is that it's called "Coven", it's got witches (duh) and the cast is jaw-dropping. Honestly, though, if all you're expecting is to get scared, I can't imagine a more convincing teaser than, "Kathy Bates is about to play a serial killer."
Just mull that one over while you wait.