‘American Horror Story: Circus’? Well, Clowns ARE Pretty Scary…

With the third season of ‘American Horror Story’ now in the books, speculation has turned to the topic of Season Four. One early and quite ridiculous rumor was that the newest chapter in ‘American Horror Story’ would revolve around a circus; thankfully creator Ryan Murphy has quashed that silliness. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Murphy gave some hints on next season, and thankfully, none of them involved big floppy shoes. The next installment will occur mainly in the 1950s, will take place in either New Orleans or Santa Fe, and will continue to have the same twisted black humor that fans of the series have come to love. Stevie Nicks, anyone?

Most notably, Murphy confirmed that Jessica Lange will return to the series next year. Sadly, next season will be Lange’s last with ‘American Horror Story’. It is diffcult to imagine another actress filling Lange’s high heeled stiletto pumps; it is her versatility that has allowed the show to take such diverse paths each season. Lange has been the core of each season of ‘American Horror Story’, playing a crazed neighbor, the nun that ran the Asylum, and the Supreme Ruler of the Coven. While that may indeed SOUND like a circus, ‘American Horror Story’ is a well written, well acted drama, something that FX is now becoming known for. The difference between American Horror Story and previous FX dramas such as ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy’ is that each season of AHS is complete within itself.

The first season of ‘American Horror Story’ focused on a good old fashioned haunted house, but offered more twists and turns on that theme than a haunted roller coaster. ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ featured a demonic possession, a Nazi doctor in hiding, an alcoholic lounge singer turned nun and a lobotomy. And aliens…can’t forget about the aliens. ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ was obviously about witches, but these weren’t your ordinary broom riding witches. We saw Angela Bassett as a voodoo priestess, a Frankenstein frat boy, and Stephen King’s favorite leading lady, Kathy Bates. While there were cast members that moved from season to season, the characters they played were never even close to the one from the prior season. Each season of ‘American Horror Story’ is truly a complete story…no cliff hangers, no wondering; each is a neatly tied, albeit twisted package.

This is a trend that HBO is following with it’s newest drama, ‘True Detective’. After only one season, Matthew McConaughey has announced that he will not be returning to ‘True Detective‘, saying that Season One was “finite”. McConaughey made the announcement fresh off his Best Actor Oscar win, and while he did not elaborate, speculation is that his reasons for leaving are similar to Lange’s reason for exiting ‘American Horror Story’. Lange has said that the series is an extremely time consuming commitment, and that she wants time for other projects. If her turn on ‘American Horror Story’ is any indication, those other projects will be anything but boring.