Ryan Murphy (Glee, Scream Queens, etc) and FX’s fan-favorite series “American Horror Story” (AHS) reigned over late-night cable TV for ten years. Horror had not been brought to television in that way before the first season premiered in 2011. The raunchy, edgy and terrifying show began with a cult following but spread to an audience in later seasons. Characters became iconic Halloween costumes, cast members took on comic con and fan panels and having show-based merchandise sold out at places like Hot Topic came from the show’s success.
Part of the show’s appeal not only came from the star-studded cast, including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Emma Roberts and more, but from the way each season was a completely new beast. The show kept the core cast but had a completely new plot, story, setting and characters each season. From The Murder House to Asylums, Covens, Freak Shows and more, AHS tried any angle it could to prey on the fears of its viewers.
But like most things, AHS slowly began to lose its appeal and uniqueness. Depending on who you ask, by the eighth season, AHS began to fall flat and lost the edge it had eight years prior. Perhaps the show continued striving to keep its edge, but audiences were used to it and searched for other things elsewhere. The American Horror franchise needed to do something to keep the edge alive and exciting for its usual and new audiences — thus, “American Horror Stories” was created.
Debuting on Hulu last year, this new series took the original idea of AHS but made each story an episode. Each episode is its own horror story, having some classic AHS alums return and bringing in new blood. This year the stories are back and streaming on Hulu.
So far, seven out of eight episodes have been released. Much like its predecessor, “American Horror Stories” releases weekly on Thursday nights, but only on Hulu instead of the FX channel AHS used to call home. With the popularity of streaming, this seems like the perfect move for the franchise to have it on Hulu. You can come and go as you please while getting a complete story in 45 minutes.
While the overall production value seems lower than what could be seen for AHS, the stories will take you on a hair-raising journey. In some ways, the series feels more like “Black Mirror” in its form as each episode seems to have more social and political and even sci-fi elements — which is more so reminiscent of “Black Mirror” than AHS.
This season is taking classic folk tales, local legends and/or points of paranoia for the stories. Just when you think you know what is about to happen, a new plot twist emerges. As of now, the show has touched on Bloody Mary, the man who hides in your back seat to kill you while driving, a home intruder caught on a door security camera and opened the season with a mad doll maker.
The series has kept some of the original or beloved AHS actors, such as Denis O’Hare and Gabourey Sidibe. All the while introducing new well-known fan favorite actors such as Max Greenfield (“New Girl”) and Bella Thorne (“Shake It Up”) into the mix. Each episode attempts to comment on various social and current issues and draw out the viewers’ fears. With a vastly different story every episode, there is bound to be one that will give you goosebumps. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick watch or a binge, “American Horror Stories” could just be the thing to fill the void.
“American Horror Stories” is available to stream on Hulu, with new episodes each Thursday.