Well, this is not entirely a review, but my general thoughts on American Horror Story: Hotel and what I think about the series (and the spin-off) as well.
So, I binge watched the entirety of American Horror Story last summer and I was so glad that I did. Here are my brief thoughts on each season:
*Note: All of the titles are bold, so if you just want to skip to my thoughts on Hotel, it will be easier
American Horror Story [Murder House]: Probably my favorite season of the four that have aired so far. I think the concept of one location and essentially one plot with all the subplots interconnected definitely made this the most cohesive of all of the seasons. I loved all of the casting. I think for the overall series, this season had some of the best scenes, one of my favorite being the “I want to be a pretty girl” scene with Jessica Lange & Jamie Brewer. I think the other great success of this season was the believable aspect of it. While not everyone believes in the supernatural, I think this season had just enough of it that made it horror. I think what scares and creeps people out the most is the feeling of “this could actually happen” and while I didn’t find this season scary, I think it tapped into that fine line.
American Horror Story – Asylum: Where the last season tread closer to reality, this season went further into the realm of supernatural and definitely tapped into more fears of the viewers. From possession to aliens to experiments gone awry, there is definitely something scary here for everyone (even if it is that dreadful song playing on repeat). While they may have gone overboard of plots, ideas, and supernatural elements, this season had several gems. I was ecstatic that Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto had much larger roles and I think they both did a fantastic job with this season. However, my favorite scene from this season, hands down, was “The Name Game”.
American Horror Story – Coven: Now, a lot of people I talk to do not like this season and say that it is campy. While it may not really be scary or “horror” inspired, I think it was a fun break from all of the other seasons. I felt like this season got more on track with a cohesive plot, but the progression did not seem as fluid as the first season. I felt like the first three quarters of the show was all “Who’s the next supreme?” and the last quarter was actually spent trying to figure it out. I was sad to hear that Lily Rabe originally wanted to leave the show after this season, because I felt like her character arc and ending in this season was one my favorites she had in the series. Since I’ve been picking favorite scenes for the other seasons, my favorite scene in Coven is with Angela Bassett and Jessica Lange, when they try to convince the devil to take their deal.
Side note: I love covers of songs, and I loved the “House of the Rising Sun” cover by Lauren O’Connell.
American Horror Story – Freak Show: Oh, how I hoped I would have loved this season. When I watch this season again, and I can watch it all at once, I might like it more, but of the four so far, I thought this was one of my least favorite season. I was incredibly happy that all of the sideshow performers in this season (other than the recurring actors and actresses) were authentically who they were playing. I feel some of the characters didn’t get as much airtime as the others, which I find kind of sad, because you would catch glimpses of them but not really know their story. I think the downfall of this season came to two things: no progression and not utilizing elements to their fullest. I’ve talked to several people and a lot of us agree, we have no clue what the plot progression was supposed to be. Sure Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) wants to become famous, but that plot line isn’t enough to motivate an entire season. As I mentioned before, I did not like how little they used certain elements. For example, Ima Wiggles pretty much was used for one or two scenes and was not seen again much until the finale. If they would have utilized Twisty more, this season could have taken an entirely different turn, but I did love his back story and it allowed Dandy (Finn Wittrock) to take center stage and do more (which was some phenomenal acting). Despite all the rough parts of this season, I did love the cast and side show performers, and it gave me one of my favorite episodes of the entire series, “Orphans”. From beginning to end I loved the tale of Pepper’s back story and I think this episode jump started the series to have a stronger ending.
American Horror Story – Hotel: So, I have seen a few things about the upcoming season and here are the rumors/things I know:
– Lady Gaga has been confirmed to join the cast
– Jessica Lange will be playing an older Lady Gaga in the first and last episode
– The main setting will be present day with flash backs to the 70’s/80’s
– I saw a list of descriptions for the characters and it appears that Lady Gaga will be the lead, but also the descriptions of the other roles available made it seem like a few new cast members might join the show
– Sarah Paulson may not return for this season
– A slew of the series regulars should be returning but more than likely not everyone will be confirmed until closer to the airing.
So, I clearly don’t know too much more than anyone else. I know the biggest debate that people are facing is whether Lady Gaga will be good or not. I haven’t seen her in the few movies she has a theatre background, so I think viewers don’t have much to worry about. I personally am hoping that this upcoming season will strip away a lot of what it has done in the past and is going to go back to how it was in the first season.
Either way, American Crime Story is set to come out either later this year or next year, and it will be interesting to see how similar the two shows will be and if that show will share the same success as its companion series. So far the actors I know that I have seen cast are Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, and John Travolta. Most of them I have not seen act in a while, so it’ll be refreshing to see them on the screen once again. Only time will tell how will go.