Exploding onto the scene in 2011, Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story is one of the most popular shows on cable, with each new season setting ratings records. The most recent season - entitled American Horror Story: Coven - divided both fans and critics, with some believing it to be the most entertaining batch of episodes yet, and others considering it the worst season to date. Either way, the ratings were through the roof, and there's no reason to believe that will change for this fall's American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Information about the 1950s era, carnival-set Freak Show has been steadily making its way to the web over the last few months. Oscar and Emmy-winner Jessica Lange will once again return to star, Coven favorites Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett will return, and new additions like Michael Chiklis will be thrown into American Horror Story's unpredictable world. In addition to that, the core cast of seasons 2 and 3 will be back as well, including Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave).
Paulson had a limited role during AHS' inaugural season, but many would argue that she stole the show in both the Asylum and Coven seasons. Her work as repeatedly victimized reporter Lana Winters during Asylum received high marks from critics, and even Coven's detractors have had few bad things to say about Paulson's turn as conflicted but kind witch Cordelia Foxx.
Recently, Paulson took to Twitter to announce what character she'll be playing in Freak Show - or, rather, which characters:
— Sarah Paulson (@MsSarahPaulson) June 12, 2014
That's right, Paulson will be acting for two this year, and not in the sense that she's going to get pregnant by a serial killer again. Although really, this is American Horror Story, so that might very well happen too. It's impossible to predict what will emerge from that writers' room.
The included photo featuring Paulson with two heads definitely raises some questions. Will Bette and Dot be two different people, or might they be two split personalities living in the same body? Then again, this is set at an old-time carnival freak show, so maybe the picture is meant to be taken literally, and Bette and Dot will be conjoined twins? The possibilities abound.
Freak Show seems to be shaping up well so far, and the suggestions of a killer clown being included will certainly tickle the dark hearts of the horror inclined. The setting is likely to be ripe with intriguing side characters and environments, but the real thing that will make or break this newest season of American Horror Story is the writing.
Many fans felt that Coven's plots were all over the place, and made little sense, which is saying something when you consider that neither Murder House or Asylum were exactly known for extensive continuity. Some also felt Murphy used the show to express his political viewpoints too often, but to be fair, Murphy has always been upfront about his politics.
Will Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and the rest of the creative staff take the many criticisms of Coven to heart, or will Freak Show continue to divide the AHS fanbase? We'll all find out in a few short months.
American Horror Story: Freak Show is expected to debut this fall, but has no current premiere date.
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