As viewers were captivated by the beautifully tragic telling of the Harmon family’s experience in the “Murder House” on FX’s American Horror Story, all eyes are on creator Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk as their televisual noir enters into its second season.

With over 3.8 million viewers tuning in to the American Horror Story season one finale, the proverbial book has been closed on Ben (Dylan McDermott), Vivien (Connie Britton), Violet (Taissa Farmiga), Tate (Evan Peters), and Constance (Jessica Lange). The house, both literally and figuratively, is gone – along with majority of the first season cast.

By deciding to make American Horror Story an anthology series from the beginning, it was always Murphy and Falchuk’s ambitious plans to change the narrative focus, location and cast with each season.  The only element that will tie the seasons together with be theme of an “American horror” story.

So what awaits fans when American Horror Story season 2 premieres?

Here’s what we know:

The Hints:

Contained within the penultimate episode of season one, entitled “Birth,” are hints that not only reveal the location of American Horror Story season 2, but also what the story will be about.

Taunting fans to find his masterfully placed clues, Murphy says, “Go through it frame by frame. I planted it in there. I will never reveal it.”

If you feel up to the challenge, you can watch “Birth” in its entirety below (US residents only):


The Cast:

As previously stated, almost all of the cast of American Horror Story will be replaced for the second season. While Murphy revealed that they’re still negotiating with a handful of original cast members to return as different characters, he also stated that they’re currently meeting with new actors for the majority of the roles.

Taissa Farmiga Dylan McDermott American Horror Story Birth American Horror Story Season 2 Details Revealed: What Happens Next

Unfortunately, Murphy acknowledges that it’s highly unlikely for the two main actors to return, though he holds out hope:

“I will say that Connie and Dylan will not be playing the leads of the show in the second season. We’d love for them to come back and do something, maybe a smaller role or a cameo.”

While fans of the series may be upset that Britton and McDermott are being replaced, Murphy explained that this was the reason why they were able to cast them in the first place:

“There are a lot of actors who have their own careers and don’t want to make a five-year commitment. This gives people who haven’t done TV before an opportunity. Our shooting schedule is like three or four months every season, so it’s like committing to a film really. I get a lot of calls from film actors who want to dabble in TV but don’t know how to do it. Being on a series where all of the characters’ stories are done after a season is a way in for them. That’s been the plan from the beginning with this show.”

more about American Horror Story season 2

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The Theme:

The first season of American Horror Story dealt with the theme of infidelity in marriage, coupled with the trappings of a haunted house. Heading into the second season, Murphy has stated that the “California house approachis over.

Electing to change and evolve the series from season to season, Murphy and the rest of the series writers are looking at topical themes effecting society – along with locations “filled with demons and ghosts.”

Dylan McDermott and Evan Peters American Horror Story Smoldering Children American Horror Story Season 2 Details Revealed: What Happens Next

While Murphy has yet to reveal what, exactly, the theme will be for next season, he did give an example of some stories that would fit within the “American horror” genre:

“There are serial killing stories, prison stories or true crime stories. Each year of the show is designed to be a little miniseries unto itself. The only thing we’re not open to doing is a season on vampires.”

Of course, since Murphy decided to mention these specific story ideas, one could argue that it’s highly unlikely to see them make their way into season 2 – if for no other reason than to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

That being said, it is nice to hear that Murphy won’t be pulling a Twilight or True Blood with his critically acclaimed cable darling.

AHS Season 2 and beyond:

Even though Murphy was responsible for the most groundbreaking television series of 2011, he still acknowledges that such an overt transition from season to season might anger some of the series’ many fans, who are looking for a more specific viewing experience than the thematic anthology that Murphy intends on presenting.

Rubber Man American Horror Story FX American Horror Story Season 2 Details Revealed: What Happens Next

Letting fans know that they’re not the only ones who enjoyed watching the Harmon family, Murphy says:

“We too loved those characters and will mourn them and miss them. But the aspects of the show that people love, including the mystery and love story, will be there, albeit with new actors and characters. But you know, this has always been the plan from day one. We just weren’t interested in doing another season with those people trapped in the house…I’ve always wanted to do a kind of Mercury Theater approach, with a (rotating cast) and each year do kind of like a little novella.”

But what about American Horror Story season 3 and beyond?

Despite not officially announcing anything beyond season 2, FX president John Landgraf stated that he intends on American Horror Story becoming “a Halloween tradition for people who love the genre.”

Like Frank Darabont with The Walking Dead, Murphy and Falchuk have found a way to elevate an abused genre into must-see, groundbreaking television. And for all intents and purposes, it appears that American Horror Story will continue to be a staple for fall television.

American Horror Story season 2 premieres September/October 2012

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Source: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly