The FX anthology series American Horror Story has pretty much been a fall #television staple since its premiere in 2011. Co-created by Glee's Ryan Murphy, the show tackled a lot of creepy subjects fueled with taboo subject matter, unforgettable and complex characters, and a solid cast. It quickly managed to crawl its way into our homes.
In the debut installment of #AmericanHorrorStory, we were introduced to a struggling family who went through hell just to stay together and exist. Murder House wasn't always pretty, but the Harmon family valiantly struggled to try and keep their heads above water.
In Asylum, we were introduced to such a sick and twisted view of the old mental health system and religious corruption. The two subjects went hand-in-hand throughout the whole season, and we even saw some supernatural elements come into play. Even though viewers latched onto #MurderHouse, the show took a drastic leap and delivered perhaps the most popular season with #Asylum.
Unfortunately, things didn't stay on the uphill slope. American Horror Story began its rapid downfall when we were brought to New Orleans to visit a longstanding witch coven. Sadly, it's all been downhill from there.
When did 'American Horror Story' start going downhill?
Although Coven is still considered by many fans to be one of the better seasons thus far, there is no denying that Season 3 was when this show began its downfall. Between an abundance of conflicting subplots, useless plot holes, irrelevant characters and a wildly predictable story direction, #Coven seems to be when show creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk got confused on what they wanted American Horror Story to be.
It does appear that in every season since Asylum, something will go wrong — and it usually happens around the halfway point. Starting with Coven, we saw the storyline get jumbled after the mid-season finale, and when the show returned, the direction wasn't even really connected to the events we'd seen in the season up to that point. A similar turn of events happened in Freak Show when we suddenly were thrown into a different direction without Elsa Mars and without a majority of the #freakshow. Hotel was no exception either, as the season never had a real clear direction and wound up introducing an overwhelming amount of characters, subplots and irrelevant episode arcs that did nothing to contribute to the season as a whole.
Basically, it has seemed to be difficult for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk to keep a solid storyline throughout a single season following Asylum. Some could say that even Murder House had some confusion within the plot, but in the end that didn't really hurt it as much as other season themes have been hurt. Some of us believed that Hotel was as bad as things could get, but then we were introduced to Roanoke for Season 6.
What didn't work in 'Roanoke?'
At this point, the more appropriate question we should be asking ourselves is, what did work in Roanoke?
Even I will admit that I was really into #Roanoke as the season began. I felt that the crime story format was something different and refreshing, and it really seemed to be working out for the better. However, just like every season since Coven, we fell into the mid-season trap and everything fell apart from there.
In addition to completely flipping the format upside down, we now were introduced to yet another fake show with new characters and a new timeline, new character backstories that weren't relevant to the plot at all, and a rather drawn out process just to kill all but one character. Not only that, but we were introduced to even more fake shows and irrelevant characters (and actor cameos) before the season ended.
In the end, nothing helped bring Roanoke to a solid conclusion. It all felt like a bunch of random stuff happening for shock value (similar to #Hotel) with no real connection to anything that went down throughout the season. To name just a few of the plot holes and/or misdirection we experienced:
- We were led for over five episodes to believe that Shelby and Matt were the main protagonists of the season, but it turned out Lee was more important for no real reason.
- We had the confirmation that Lady Gaga's character, Scathach, was the original supreme witch, but we never learn or see more about her to properly tie her to Coven or another season.
- We never truly find out who The Butcher really was or if the Roanoke colony was even real.
- What was the point of the abundance of teasers leading up to the season?
- What happened to the Polk twins that Shelby and Matt turned into the police?
- Matt was in love with Scathach and returned to the house just for her, yet he was upset about Shelby having an affair? Come on.
- Speaking of Scathach, how come we didn't see #LadyGaga return as the actor version of herself on the second Roanoke special?
- What was the relevance of the piggy man? Better yet, who exactly was he?
- So, was Lee possessed at some point while in the Roanoke house? Because it sure seemed like it. If so, how was she able to freely return and ultimately take her own life?
- But really, everything that happened throughout the whole season was so Priscilla could have a guardian against the Butcher? Give me a break.
Honestly, the list could go on and on regarding what a mess Roanoke turned out to be. Seeing the trend of how the seasons have continued to go downhill and lose an identity they never fully formed, I don't expect much better from Season 7. I'm actually expecting something worse.
For me personally, I think the time has come for us to say goodbye to American Horror Story. The show started out as a promising anthology series, but it would seem that in the seasons following Coven (where they started trying to tie everything together), the show has just been in a constant state of meltdown. It doesn't seem to show any signs of easing up, either.
If this show continues, we are going to keep seeing more convoluted plots and characters, more irrelevant story directions, and quite simply just seasons that don't seem to make a whole lot of sense. There is such a thing as television shows running for too long, even after they've visibly lost their identity — or never gained an identity to begin with. Unfortunately, American Horror Story is caught in this trap, and I don't see Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk digging themselves out anytime soon. It would be best to just stop while they still can.
I would rather have no more American Horror Story than continue to receive the material we've gotten over the past three years.