Olivia ranks American Horror Story seasons
American Horror Story (AHS) is a horror anthology series written and produced primarily by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Scream Queens, Pose) and Brad Falchuk (9-1-1, The Politician.) The show premiered in 2011 and as of 2021 has run nine seasons. The 10th currently being in production. It is my favorite show and I truly enjoy all of the seasons and characters. I enjoy the interesting yet dark plotline, with all of the odd characters in them. This is my ranking of the seasons, in order from my least to most favorite.
Roanoke, the sixth and my personal least favorite season of AHS is not necessarily a bad season; it just was a little bit out of place with the way it was filmed. Roanoke is filmed as a reality tv show. Personally, I did not care for that style of tv writing. Most AHS fans would agree that this is not one of the series’ best seasons, but it is not bad at all. The season features Matt and Shelby, a couple who moved from the west coast to Roanoke, North Carolina. There, they buy a house in the middle of the woods but soon discover the evil that lives within their property and beyond them. I watched the whole season in one night but just to get done with it and move on. Overall, it was not my cup of tea, but I still somewhat enjoyed it.
Season nine of AHS, 1984, is my eighth favorite season of the series. 1984 has a crazy plotline with many different things going on at any given time, including a psycho loose on a summer camp, but the writers made it flow nicely. I think the season was a little too dragged out but not enough where it was hard to watch. I ranked this so low simply because it is a little too predictable and similar to horror movies from the 1980s; however, I do like the characters, and I appreciate how the writers made them persistent and witty. The writers and producers seem to be infatuated with incorporating infamous criminals in their work, which I personally think gives the seasons a little flair, and they did not shy away from doing so on 1984. I liked the aesthetic of the season as well, vintage and bright besides the dark themes.
#7: Murder House
Murder House is the first season and my seventh favorite in the AHS series. It features the Harmon family, broken with imminent divorce moving from Boston to Los Angeles, into what they don’t know is the infamous Murder House. The season alludes to famous tragedies and crimes that happened in that house and around Los Angeles, such as the Black Dahlia murder. I find it so interesting how the writers merged reality into fiction. There is a love story between two of the characters, which provides several of the surprises featured in the season. There were several moments where I gasped out loud while I was watching Murder House, which was because of the originality of the script. I ranked this towards the bottom end of the list because I find it to be one of the less intriguing seasons of the series, but it is still a great one. The makeup team also did an awesome job creating scars, burns, and other wounds that were prominent throughout Murder House.
Asylum is the second season in the AHS series, and it paved the way for the rest of the series. Asylum is also my sixth favorite season, and it has such a classic plotline, slightly predictable but also featuring some dark twists throughout the season. Asylum showcases the stories of the staff and patients at the fictional Briarcliff Manor, an insane asylum in 1964. Asylum has everything a horror production could include: possessed nuns, serial killers, aliens, and even cannibalism. The presence of all of these in one season may seem like too much, but the writers made them flow together nicely. Asylum can get slightly boring and drag on in some parts but can also be thrilling and slightly stress inducing in others. One thing I appreciate about this season is that the plot does not take too long to thicken, and when it does, there are more plot twists after that to constantly keep me watching. Like Freak Show, some language is offensive and wrong due to the fact that this took place in a 1960s mental hospital.
The seventh season of AHS, Cult, is my fifth favorite season. This collection of episodes is about people and the government turning crazy and becoming cult like, with a real cult even forming. I love this season because the idea for it is so intriguing and original. I never would have thought to spin a current event, such as a presidential election, into a horror tv show. I actually watched the whole season (all 11 episodes!) in one night because I could not stop watching it. Cult isn’t so much paranormal or violence based, but features more psychological terror because of the manipulation portrayed by the cult leader Kai and other characters. The actors did such a nice job portraying such bad people that it almost made me forget that they were just playing fictional characters. The writers did a fantastic job of taking the worst side of people and putting those traits into several of the characters. If one likes The Purge, I recommend this season of AHS. Cult also featured plot twists and surprising betrayals throughout the season, which kept me on the edge of my seat.
Apocalypse is my fourth favorite season in the AHS series. The eighth season of the series includes the world ending, a secret bunker full of rich people, and a demon in human form secretly among them. This season revisits seasons one and three. The murder house and some characters from Murder House and the witches and prep school from Coven are all included. I love this arc because of the plot twists and the way the writers incorporated the characters from other seasons, especially since the actors were playing more than one character at a time. I love how the show set up the villain and gave him an interesting backstory instead of making him seem less than human. This is such an interesting season; I watched this in early 2020, where it really seemed like the world was ending, which probably helped contribute to my love for it.
Hotel is my third favorite season of AHS. Season five takes place at the Hotel Cortez, which was based off of the real Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles. Hotel’s plot includes a highly regarded detective investigating a string of serial murders, a cannibalistic countess, and paranormal happenings, all in one hotel. I love this season because of the original and unrelenting storyline. Lady Gaga stars as the countess of the hotel in this and her character is by far the best part of this season and one of the best characters in the entire series. My jaw dropped on several occasions while watching Hotel with all of the twists and turns prominent in the whole season. Hotel also features cameos from characters in different arcs, Murder House and Coven. The crossovers were basically insignificant to the main plot but still provided an interesting addition to the season. My one complaint about this season would be the mature themes sometimes exhibited. There are references to drug abuse and mental illness, which is hard for some viewers to watch.
#2: Freak Show
My second favorite season of AHS is Freak Show. The fourth season takes place in 1952 Jupiter, Florida, and focuses on one of the last “freak shows” in the United States. A subplot to this season also features a killer clown on the loose and a rich, bratty teenage boy whose mother would do anything to please him. I absolutely love this season because of the characters who grow to be lovable, the killer clown storyline, and the giant plot twist at the end. This was the only season that actually kept me up at night, and that was because of the terrifying, gruesome face of Twisty the Clown. This season is also the first in the AHS series to feature recurring characters, with some returning from season two, Asylum. However, Freak Show takes place before then, so it is a prequel of sorts. I love most things about Freak Show. The only thing I dislike is the insensitive language. This season takes place in the 1950s and centers around individuals who, at that time, were deemed “freaks.” Some offensive language is used in reference to the characters, and that bothered me.
My favorite season of American Horror Story is Coven. It is the third season released in the series and centers on witches descended from Salem, Massachusetts and voodoo in New Orleans. The plot focuses on a teenage girl, Zoe Benson who finds out she is a witch, descended from a long line of Salem witches. She is shipped off to a preparatory school in New Orleans for girls just like her who happen to be witches as well.
There, she learns how to use her powers and of the magic that exists around her and the other girls at the academy. This is my absolute favorite season of American Horror Story because the storyline, aesthetic, characters, and setting all work well together and create a tv masterpiece. The characters are strong women who use magic and wit to get what they want. In fact, my favorite character of the whole series, Misty Day, is in this season. Misty is sweet and spiritual, but her character has a flair that I love. The only remotely “bad” thing about Coven would have to be the language in it; there are many uses of curse words and other offensive language is used more frequently than other seasons. Some scenes are also graphic with violence and gore.