When American Horror Story first premiered it was a mind-bending experience.
Audiences genuinely couldn’t believe what they were seeing on network television. But season one of American Horror Story, now dubbed American Horror Story: Murder House, was just a warmup. In season two, American Horror Story: Asylum, show creator Ryan Murphy made Murder House seem lighthearted by comparison.
Since then, American Horror Story’s writers and directors have pushed the boundaries of the FX network as far as they possibly can. With the upcoming eighth season, titled American Horror Story:Apocalypse premiering next month, and the fan-pleasing announcement of Jessica Lange’s return, as reported by the Inquisitr, yesterday, audiences may need a refresher on exactly how we got to where we are.
Here’s a ranking of every season of American Horror Story thus far.
7. American Horror Story: Hotel(Season 5)
Turns out casting Lady Gaga wasn’t enough to keep this from being American Horror Story’s most critically panned season. It’s a stylish spectacle and really shows off the show’s unique aesthetic, so it gets points for that, but ultimately this season was lackluster. It went a little into “edgy for the sake of edgy” territory, which critics have accused every season of, but here it’s pretty undeniable.
6. American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4)
Freak Show fantastic in concept, but in execution there were just a lot of problems. Particularly, the story itself was lacking, as it took too much time veering into each character’s individual story, while seeming to forget to provide an overall narrative.
Jumping from character to character with so little time to acquaint audiences with each, made it difficult to find any real connection with those potentially-great characters. Mind you, there are a few standout episodes and a lot of great performers, but overall it just doesn’t quite work.
5. American Horror Story: Roanoke (Season 6)
American Horror Story: Roanoke was something of a return to form for the show, insomuch as they kept it a bit simpler than than they did with Freak Show or Asylum.
We have a pretty clear-cut narrative with a couple living in a house, which is not entirely unlike the plot of Murder House. Overall, Roanoke had some fantastic moments and was more good than bad, particularly memorable was the image of teeth raining from the sky, but the final bit where actors of the reality show return to the house with the original inhabitants was a bit too much of a left-turn for a story which didn’t need one. It’s one of the few instances where a horror story should have ended a bit neater.
4. American Horror Story: Cult (Season 7)
Cult is a divisive season. Not the most divisive, but still pretty polarizing. Immediately, conservatives are going to have their problems with the depiction of Trump supporters. Overall, though, the writing, acting, and overall concept of American Horror Story: Cult is phenomenal and more than a worthy entry to the series.
3. American Horror Story: Coven (Season 3)
Coven is almost perfect, with one glaring flaw that enough critics have already commented on, but it probably bares repeating again for those who have forgotten. Why does no-one stay dead in this season? Once people start coming back from the dead over and over, you take away the impact of a death within the series. Aside from that, American Horror Story: Coven is a fantastic ride, with an awesome, largely female cast.
2. American Horror Story: Murder House (Season 1)
Murder House, of course, set the tone for American Horror Story. Viewers were introduced to something different. For better or worse, American Horror Story is ostensibly its own brand of horror, and a successful one at that.
1. American Horror Story: Asylum(Season 2)
Probably the most divisive, but still the most critically lauded as well. American Horror Story: Asylum, depending on your perspective, is either absolutely insane, and game-changing, unlike anything horror fans have ever seen on television, or quite possibly the most disjointed, incoherent television series ever made. Both sides have their point, but in the end, Asylum is extremely effective. Trying to binge-watch American Horror Story: Asylum is a significant endurance test, as the horror is nearly unrelenting all throughout.
In the end, American Horror Story is an awesome series with one major flaw. That flaw is, occasionally, being a little too ambitious with their concepts. But every season thus far had had more than enough reason to warrant at least one watch.