Another October, another world of horror for the twisted genius of Ryan Murphy to explore on FX. So how was the premiere of this year’s witch-themed American Horror Story? Here are the particulars.
What I liked:
- The backdrop. Steeped in rich, strange history and riddled with voodoo, New Orleans is the perfect city for Coven. It has such personality that it could be a character all on its own. I’m excited to see how Murphy’s going to utilize it.
- The return of some season one favorites. Both Taissa Farmiga (who played Violet in season one) and Jaime Brewer (Addie) sat out of Asylum, but they’re back, front and center for Coven. It’s a warm and fuzzy Murder House reunion…
- All the powers. We’ve got a telekinetic, a clairvoyant, a human voodoo doll (the coolest and weirdest power, I think), and a girl who…erm…has intimacy issues. Plus the apparently limitless powers of the Supreme Witch. Very cool stuff.
- The intensity. It kicks off with a series of WTF moments and continues to shock throughout the hour. If every episode is as crazy as this one, it’s gonna be a good season, y’all.
- THE WOMEN. I’ve admired Ryan Murphy’s fierce female characters since season one, but this season…I’m already blown away. Baffled teen witch Zoe? Awesome. Snarky movie star Madison? Awesome. Youth-obsessed Supreme Witch Fiona? Awesome. FREAKING KATHY BATES AS MURDEROUS MADAME LALAURIE? Brain explodes. So much epic potential it’s ridiculous.
What I didn’t like:
- I realize much of American Horror Story is over the top, but with such big characters and such a crazy start, it very well could go too far. I trust Ryan Murphy’s good judgment, but it could be a balancing act this season to keep it all out of the realm of ridiculous.
- Having a series where each season is self-contained can be tricky. You see actors together and you can’t help remembering their previous characters. There is a moment in the premiere when Farmiga’s Zoe meets Evans Peters’ Kyle, and I could almost hear fans screaming the names of season one lovers Violet and Tate. Instances like these may or may not be a bad thing, but it definitely sets up an expectation and/or panging hope.
- This is a superficial comment, but I’m saying it anyway: I MISS KIT’S HAIR. Evan Peters is back to blond, but he looks much better rocking Asylum’s bronze locks. Ladies, AMIRIGHT?
The Potential: Oh, it’s there. I mean, in case you couldn’t already tell from my hefty likes and minimal dislikes. I feel like as far as AHS premieres go, this could be the best one yet. I remember season one’s premiere as trying so hard to push the limits that it was almost off-putting, while season two simply baffled me with the many bizarre subject matters it felt the need to shove into the first hour. But Coven has a nice balance—shocking and somewhat over the top, yes, but also taking its time to introduce a complex, fascinating world of witches. Needless to say, I’m psyched to see what weirdness awaits us in New Orleans.
My Grade: A