It’s a strange show, and you have to appreciate the scale and scope. No one else is doing what they do, but we do have a situation where they’ve already done it before. And so we get more filler as time goes by, more melodrama. Even the shock factor is somewhat dulled through repetition.
Can’t blame the show for my own desensitization, can I? The style may have something to do with it.
First the good: Lady Gaga provided an interesting new addition, and an excuse to go all out with fashion and glitz. The sets are also near miraculous achievements, all constructed to make the hotel itself the main character. Liz Taylor provided a different type of lead, in various episodes. It was also fun to have vampires running amok once again.
Another intriguing success was Devil’s Night, which I won’t spoil. They do try to balance the innovations with the rote patterns/filler, and I’m sure it’s difficult.
But the bad: These vampires have no superpowers and are easily killed, which undermines the entire premise. With them being essentially just like us there was no legitimate reason to fear them as presented, a hierarchy of terror–with the Wizard of Oz behind a curtain, essentially.
Further, that melodrama exposed a weak link in the cast. It pains me to call out Chloe Sevigny, whom I thought I was in love with for the longest time, because she was so stunningly beautiful and vulnerable in American Psycho. She didn’t have many lines there, and perhaps it all makes sense now. The horror subplot started off so rote and uninspired that it showed through in her performance. Hard to watch.
Sarah Paulson was a bit underutilized, coming off that tour de force Siamese twins performance in Freak Show. As an angry junkie she’s diminished a bit.
A twist at the end of the season left me shrugging. The ghosts turn from masters of terror to more of a sitcom cast. The idea was to humanize them a bit more, perhaps, and it’s something to reconsider.
All in all it was the expected TV vibe, stretched out vignettes, and lots of blood. That would seem to be the AHS formula, which this season is receiving some harsh reviews as we speak.