For months now, we American Horror Story fans have waited with baited breath, pining for clues to the cleverly disguised theme of the show’s 6th season. Now tonight, Wednesday, September 16th, we all knew we would finally get an answer. After a few times of seeing My Roanoke Nightmare popping up on the screen, my viewing party and I figured the season would be about the missing Puritan village in some way. There were interviews and actors playing actors and reenactments. Abandoning the typical shooting style, Murphy seems to be going with a documentary type style, similar to shows you would see on the ID channel. Did we see lost Shaker villagers wandering the streets or cowering in fear? Not yet. So this theme is still up in the air. However, even after the style was revealed, we are still left to wonder what, exactly, this season will be about. So I guess we will just have to keep watching.
Initially, I was skeptical about the new format. The whole “This is a true story” angle has been done to death. Then it started to have an incredibly creepy and suspenseful vibe. It reminded me of the very first season. If that is the case, then I think we might be in for a very impressive season. It could possibly be the best one since Coven. While I enjoyed Freakshow, I found it to be extremely anticlimactic and disappointing at the end. I loved the characters but hated the final product. I completely gave up on Hotel and didn’t even finish it. It seemed to me that they were trying to go for pure shock value with no substance. Most fans agree on both these seasons. That would mean that this needs to be the redeeming season or it could be trouble for the people at American Horror Story.
As far as premieres go, I found this one to be the fastest paced yet. At one point, a woman in my viewing party asked if they were gonna do different stories every episode. It seemed highly probable and completely feasible. American Horror Story is known for twisting and turning their narratives effortlessly and then intertwining them like an artform. That is what cemented me in, as a fan, after Murder House.
In this episode, we follow a couple who moved to the country after being attacked during a gang initiation. They stumble across an abandoned farmhouse and outbid the local rednecks when the place is auctioned off. Shortly after moving in, the strange happenings begin to Shelby (Sarah Paulson – played in interviews by Lily Rabe). Her husband, Matt (Cuba Gooding, Jr. – played in interviews by Andre Holland), initially writes it off as the pissed off locals trying to scare them away. After further incidents, he invites his sister, Lee (Angela Bassett – played in interviews by Adina Porter), to come and keep his wife company while he travels for work. The two don’t get along at all and it provides an interesting dynamic, as well as some comic relief to break the tension. Due to the documentary style of the show, each character is double cast, with one new actor for the real person and another for the dramatization to provide integrity to their show format. It sounds confusing but if you watch it, you will understand.
I’m going to grade these episodes like a schoolteacher grades papers. The first episode will receive a B+. It was incredibly unnerving and intriguing at the same time. It would be more enjoyable if the writers would have allowed us in on what this season will actually be about. I still don’t really know what the theme is, just what it’s called. Supposedly, that is satisfying enough. I get that it’s supposed to be a documentary, but of what? A haunted house? A cult? A lost colony? At this point, who really knows except the writers? However, I remain hopeful and optimistic that they are returning to the roots that catapulted them to success. Here’s to an awesome season! We definitely are due one.