Whether you feel that the last two seasons of American Horror Story lived up to the quality of the first two or not, the viewer base of the the FX horror-anthology continues to grow. In fact, last year’s Freak Show stands as both the most watched and critically acclaimed AHS season to date, even if many longtime fans still think the show has passed its prime.
With that recent success in mind, it’s not at all surprising that creator Ryan Murphy might want to expand American Horror Story’s pop-culture footprint. In a recent interview with EW, Murphy revealed he and the AHS creative team are considering producing two seasons of the series in 2016, with one round of episodes possibly airing in the spring prior to the series’ usual October premiere. Of course, fans shouldn’t hold their breath, as Murphy made it clear no final decision has been made on the subject.
In other potentially exciting news, Murphy also hinted that former AHS leading lady Jessica Lange’s departure from the show may not be as permanent as once thought. According to Murphy, Lange wanted to take the season off in order to return to Broadway, and he maintains contact with her about a possible return. The real sticking point seems to be her schedule, but Murphy is perfectly willing to work around that if she’ll allow it.
One of the inspirations behind possibly doing two American Horror Story seasons per year is a recent change in the way AHS is written. According to Murphy, the series is now being alternately written by two different writers’ rooms, with some scribes bouncing back and forth between groups. One wonders whether this change might finally solve a complaint some fans have had since at least Coven (although some argue it goes back to the beginning of the series). That problem is the show’s seeming inability to maintain consistency and to wrap up a storyline in a satisfying way.
One of American Horror Story’s biggest charms (and also its biggest problem) is Murphy and company’s willingness to throw whatever crazy character or sordid scenario they come up with on the show and see what works and what doesn’t. The best example of this is seen in Asylum, which featured skin-wearing serial killer psychiatrists, murderers dressed as Santa Claus, demon-possessed nuns, Nazi mad scientists, and aliens, just to name a few. In that instance, the various elements seemed to work. Unfortunately, as seen in more recent seasons, cramming so many elements into a 13-episode season can lead to endings that felt rushed, and sometimes even downright baffling.
Take Coven, for example. The season as a whole proved to be fairly divisive, but even those who liked it tend to agree that the final few episodes tried to pack way too much plot into a limited time frame. Beloved characters got the axe – in some cases literally – out of nowhere, perhaps most infamously Misty Day, who is presumably still dissecting and resurrecting frogs in hell. Conversely, the fact that Murphy so often brings back previously deceased characters near the end of a season can also feel like a dramatic cheat. It becomes much harder for the viewer to get invested when death is simply a temporary inconvenience for nearly everyone.
If Murphy ends up doing two seasons of American Horror Story per year, yet doesn’t fix the issues so many have with the series’ plot resolutions, it’s just likely to lead to twice the disappointment. That said, with so many new writers involved, the chances for fresh voices to influence the show’s quality have never been higher.
American Horror Story is a series that can be entertaining, and often creates indelible characters and ghoulish delights each season. The question now is whether future seasons of AHS will be able to pull their narratives together in a satisfying manner. After all, two wrongs don’t necessarily make a right.
American Horror Story: Hotel premieres Wednesday, October 7th at 10pm on FX.
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