American Horror Story is a horror-drama television show created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. It is an anthology, with each season taking place in a new setting. The series is broadcast on FX Networks and premiered on October 5, 2011. The Pilot garnered the best ratings FX had ever seen for a series premiere and its popularity continued to rise with the second season premiere marking the show's highest numbers at the time.[1] The pilot episode of its fourth installment, Freak Show, broke FX ratings records when it drew in roughly 12.64 million views.[2] The show has received positive reactions from critics and fans alike. It has received several nominations for Primetime Emmy Awards under the miniseries category.[3]

Conception

Ryan Murphy

Creators Murphy and Falchuk began working on American Horror Story before their Fox series Glee began production. Murphy wanted to do the opposite of what he had done previously and thus began his work on the series. He stated, "I went from Nip/Tuck to Glee, so it made sense that I wanted to do something challenging and dark. And I always had loved, as Brad had, the horror genre. So it just was a natural for me."[4]

Falchuk was intrigued by the idea of putting a different angle on the horror genre, stating that their main goal in creating the series was to scare viewers. "You want people to be a little bit off balance afterwards," he said. The dark tone of the series is modeled after the ABC soap opera Dark Shadows, which Murphy’s grandmother forced him to watch when he was younger to toughen him up.[5]

Murphy and Falchuk drew inspiration from real life crimes. Murphy noted tour buses that go by Sharon Tate's house and clubs devoted to murder re-creations. He stated that the series explores people's general obsession with crime and murder. "It’s a way to circumvent your own anxiety in very anxious times," he said. "In times of economic anxiety, if you look at the template, two genres flourish: horror and musicals. I think people want to either be scared or completely forget about their troubles. As we go further into the series, we get into the economic anxieties."[6]

Murphy's other inspiration for the show came from the AMC series The Walking Dead, which premiered in 2010. He called it "the greatest TV viewing experience" of his life that year. Falchuk noted that American Horror Story's scariest moments to him come from the emotional drama that the Harmons must contend with, as opposed to the violent scenes.[7]

Production.jpg

In February 2011, FX officially announced that it had ordered a pilot for a possible series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, with both Murphy and Falchuk writing and Murphy directing. Dante Di Loreto was announced as executive producer. Production on the series began in April 2011. In July 2011, FX officially announced the project had been picked up to series.[8]

Critical Reception

  • The show has received very varied responses, verging from the enthusiastic to complete rejection from critics. Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly gave it a score of B+[9] Chuck Barney of the San Jose Mercury News said "Most TV shows, after all, quickly fade from memory. This one will haunt your dreams." However, some critics, such as Alan Sepinwall, feel that the show just has scenes and sounds that people will want to forget[10]. Some critics gave mixed reviews, such as Mary McNamara of The Los Angeles Times who said  "Because even with all the zombies and vampires, there is always room for a good "American Horror Story". The first season scored a 62 out of 100 from the review site Metacritic  from 30 reviews by critics.

Production

From the beginning (though obscured from the viewers), Murphy and Falchuk planned that each season of the series would tell a different story. After the first season finale aired, Murphy spoke of his plans to change the cast and location for the second season. He did say, however, that some actors who starred in the first season would be returning. "The people that are coming back will be playing completely different characters, creatures, monsters, etc. [The Harmons'] stories are done. People who are coming back will be playing entirely new characters," he announced. Although there is a new story with every season, there are still actors who appear in the new story, with a new character. They are usually called repeating players. The only players to appears in all six seasons are: Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Lily Rabe. There are also players who have made more than one appearance in a single season but have not appeared in all of them, such as: Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Denis O'Hare, Zachary Quinto, Dylan McDermott, Taissa Farmiga, Jamie Brewer, and Alexandra Breckenridge.


Murder House

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Production for the show began in February 2011, with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk generally composing the show.[citation needed] Casting began in late March and extended to late May, with the first cast member being Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon, Denis O'Hare as Larry, and Dylan McDermott as Ben Harmon. In April, Jessica Lange joined as Constance, and Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters were cast as Violet Harmon and Tate Langdon, respectively. Alexandra Breckenridge and Frances Conroy were later cast as Moira O'Hara. The actual 'Murder House' used in Season 1 is called the Rosenheim Mansion and has been used in various TV shows and movies such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ghost Whisperer, Spiderman etc.


Asylum

The second miniseries premiered on October 17, 2012 and ran for thirteen episodes. Cast members returning from the previous season include Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe and Frances Conroy along with new notable cast members Joseph Fiennes, Lizzie Brocheré, James Cromwell and Chloë Sevigny.


Coven

A third story was announced on November 15, 2012.[11] It was announced at the 2013 PaleyFest panel that the story title would be "Coven".

Jessica Lange was the first actor announced to be remaining in the troupe.[12][13] Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters were also announced to be joining Jessica for season 3. Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy and Taissa Farmiga were also announced as part of the cast. Ryan Murphy teased actors from season 1 reprising a role for season 3 as well.[14] Later Gabourey SidibePatti LuPone, Angela Bassett, and Emma Roberts were confirmed to have joined the cast. Denis O'Hare, who played Larry Harvey, was also added to the cast of Coven, and Alexandra Breckenridge, Jamie Brewer, Christine Ebersole  and Grey Damon were seen in pictures or announced soon after.

The cast was named one of EW's Entertainers of the Year in November 2013.[15]


Freak Show

A fourth story was announced on November 6, 2013, which featured 13 episodes. It was announced on Ryan Murphy's Twitter account on March 24, 2014 that the story title was "Freak Show."[16]

The story relied on the ensemble cast from the previous season with Finn Wittrock joining as a prominent actor in the role of Dandy Mott, the season principal villain.

Featuring Lily Rabe and Naomi Grossman reprising their role as Sister Mary Eunice and Pepper, respectively, Freak Show established a shared universe and continuity among the series.


Hotel

Lady Gaga first announced the fifth story's name "Hotel" on February 25th, 2015 by publishing a short promo on her Twitter account.

During PaleyFest of that year, it was announced that Matt Bomer and Cheyenne Jackson would co-star.

Afterwards, more series regulars were confirmed, including Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett. Chloë Sevigny, who starred in Asylum, will return to the series for Hotel. On May 25, 2015, Ryan Murphy announced that Max Greenfield would also be joining the cast.

Emma Roberts and Denis O'Hare were also added to the cast list. It was announced that Roberts would be starring in a few episodes before the finale to do "something special" with her ex fiancé Evan Peters. However, Roberts was ultimately unable to take part in the fifth season due to the demands of Roberts' existing schedule.[17]


Roanoke

On August 2015, co-creator Ryan Murphy stated "The next thing we're crafting up is very very different than Hotel, not smaller. But just not opulent. More rogue and more dark." [18] Roanoke premiered on FX on September 14, 2016 and wrapped up on November 16, 2016.

Playing with the concept of a "show-within-a-show", Roanoke featured several of its notable cast members portraying fictional actors involved in the reenactment of gruesome history of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.


Cult

The seventh season premiered on FX on September 5, 2017 and ran for 11 episodes. It's the first season not featuring supernatural elements.

Notable AHS Repertory Company members were Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Adina Porter and Cheyenne Jackson with Frances Conroy, Jamie Brewer and Emma Roberts appearing as guest stars.

Leslie Grossman, Billy Eichner, Billie Lourd and Colton Haynes joined the show.

The story's title and more plot details were released at San Diego Comic-Con 2017. In the wake of the Presidency of Donald Trump, characters reacted in very different ways and fear wreak havoc in the fictional city of Brookfield Heights, Michigan.

On August 2nd, 2017, a campaign was launched to support Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, home to the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases. Through donations, it was possible to win a lunch with Evan Peters along with the chance to get a role in an episode of the seventh season. In addition, it was possible to have lunch with Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, and Billie Lourd too.


Apocalypse


Apocalypse premiered on FX on September 12, 2018 and ran for 10 episodes. The season is the highly anticipated crossover between Murder House and Coven, bringing back fan-favorite characters from both seasons along with new characters.

On August 7, 2018, Ryan Murphy revealed that Stevie Nicks, Lily Rabe, Gabourey Sidibe, Frances Conroy and Taissa Farmiga will all return to their role as the witches from Coven. Farmiga and Conroy also reprised their first roles as Violet Harmon and Moira O'Hara, respectively, alongside Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott and Evan Peters.

After years of absence from the series, Jessica Lange accapted to return for a single episode marking the crossover between Apocalypse and Murder House. The episode was directed by Sarah Paulson.

New prominent additions to the cast were Cody Fern, Joan Collins, and Billy Porter.


1984

The ninth season was announced by Ryan Murphy on April 10,2019.

After the previous season that tied all the seasons together, AHS 1984 will be a clean slate according to FX Productions CEO John Landgraf.

This is the first season not to feature Evan Peters and most if not all of the earlier cast members, with Sarah Paulson stated to return in a minor role.

Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman and Cody Fern are the prominent Repertory Company members to return.

The theme of the season about a "slasher summer camp" was originally a draft of Scream Queens, later dropped off by Murphy.


Episodes by Crew

Murder House

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Pilot 1 2011-10-05 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Ryan Murphy
Home Invasion 2 2011-10-12 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Murder House (episode) 3 2011-10-19 Jennifer Salt Bradley Buecker
Halloween: Part 1 4 2011-10-26 James Wong David Semel
Halloween: Part 2 5 2011-11-02 Tim Minear David Semel
Piggy Piggy 6 2011-11-09 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
Open House 7 2011-11-16 Brad Falchuk Tim Hunter
Rubber Man (episode) 8 2011-11-23 Ryan Murphy Miguel Arteta
Spooky Little Girl 9 2011-11-30 Jennifer Salt John Scott
Smoldering Children 10 2011-12-07 James Wong Michael Lehmann
Birth 11 2011-12-14 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Afterbirth 12 2011-12-21 Jessica Sharzer Bradley Buecker

Asylum

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Welcome to Briarcliff 1 2012-10-17 Tim Minear Bradley Buecker
Tricks and Treats 2 2012-10-24 James Wong Bradley Buecker
Nor'easter 3 2012-10-31 Jennifer Salt Michael Uppendahl
I Am Anne Frank: Part 1 4 2012-11-07 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
I Am Anne Frank: Part 2 5 2012-11-14 Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
The Origins of Monstrosity 6 2012-11-21 Ryan Murphy David Semel
Dark Cousin 7 2012-11-28 Tim Minear David Semel
Unholy Night 8 2012-12-05 James Wong Michael Lehmann
The Coat Hanger 9 2012-12-12 Jennifer Salt Jeremy Podeswa
The Name Game 10 2013-01-02 Jessica Sharzer Michael Lehmann
Spilt Milk 11 2013-01-09 Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Continuum 12 2013-01-16 Ryan Murphy Craig Zisk
Madness Ends 13 2013-01-23 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Coven

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Bitchcraft 1 2013-10-09 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Boy Parts 2 2013-10-16 Tim Minear Michael Rymer
The Replacements 3 2013-10-23 James Wong Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Fearful Pranks Ensue 4 2013-10-30 Jennifer Salt Michael Uppendahl
Burn, Witch. Burn! 5 2013-11-06 Jessica Sharzer Jeremy Podeswa
The Axeman Cometh 6 2013-11-13 Douglas Petrie Michael Uppendahl
The Dead 7 2013-11-20 Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
The Sacred Taking 8 2013-12-04 Ryan Murphy Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Head 9 2013-12-11 Tim Minear Howard Deutch
The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks 10 2014-01-08 James Wong Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Protect the Coven 11 2014-01-15 Jennifer Salt Bradley Buecker
Go to Hell 12 2014-01-22 Jessica Sharzer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
The Seven Wonders 13 2014-01-29 Douglas Petrie Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Freak Show

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Monsters Among Us 1 2014-10-08 Ryan Murphy · Brad Falchuk Ryan Murphy
Massacres and Matinees 2 2014-10-15 Tim Minear Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Edward Mordrake: Part 1 3 2014-10-22 James Wong Michael Uppendahl
Edward Mordrake: Part 2 4 2014-10-29 Jennifer Salt Howard Deutch
Pink Cupcakes 5 2014-11-05 Jessica Sharzer Michael Uppendahl
Bullseye 6 2014-11-12 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk ; John J. Gray Howard Deutch
Test of Strength 7 2014-11-19 Crystal Liu Anthony Hemingway
Blood Bath 8 2014-12-03 Ryan Murphy Bradley Buecker
Tupperware Party Massacre 9 2014-12-10 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Loni Peristere
Orphans 10 2014-12-17 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Magical Thinking 11 2015-01-07 Jennifer Salt Michael Goi
Show Stoppers 12 2015-01-14 Jessica Sharzer Loni Peristere
Curtain Call 13 2015-01-21 John J. Gray Bradley Buecker

Hotel

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Checking In 1 2015-10-07 Ryan Murphy ; Brad Falchuk Ryan Murphy
Chutes and Ladders 2 2015-10-14 Tim Minear Bradley Buecker
Mommy 3 2015-10-21 James Wong Bradley Buecker
Devil's Night 4 2015-10-28 Jennifer Salt Ryan Murphy
Room Service 5 2015-11-04 Ned Martel Michael Goi
Room 33 6 2015-11-11 John J. Gray Loni Peristere
Flicker 7 2015-11-18 Crystal Liu Michael Goi
The Ten Commandments Killer 8 2015-12-02 Ryan Murphy Loni Peristere
She Wants Revenge 9 2015-12-09 Brad Falchuk Michael Uppendahl
She Gets Revenge 10 2015-12-16 James Wong Bradley Buecker
Battle Royale 11 2016-01-06 Ned Martel Michael Uppendahl
Be Our Guest 12 2016-1-13 John J. Gray Bradley Buecker

Roanoke

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Chapter 1 1 September 14, 2016 Ryan Murphy · Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Chapter 2 2 September 21, 2016 Tim Minear Michael Goi
Chapter 3 3 September 28, 2016 James Wong Jennifer Lynch
Chapter 4 4 October 5, 2016 John J. Gray Marita Grabiak
Chapter 5 5 October 12, 2016 Akela Cooper Nelson Cragg
Chapter 6 6 2016-10-19 Ned Martel Angela Bassett
Chapter 7 7 2016-10-26 Crystal Liu Elodie Keene
Chapter 8 8 2016-11-2 Todd Kubrak Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Chapter 9 9 2016-11-9 Tim Minear Alexis Korycinski
Chapter 10 10 November 16, 2016 Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker

Cult

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Election Night 1 September 5, 2017 Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark 2 September 12, 2017 Tim Minear Liza Johnson
Neighbors From Hell 3 September 19, 2017 James Wong Gwyneth Horder-Payton
11-9 4 September 26, 2017 John J. Gray Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Holes 5 October 03, 2017 Crystal Liu Maggie Kiley
Mid-Western Assassin 6 October 10, 2017 Todd Kubrak Bradley Buecker
Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag 7 October 17, 2017 Crystal Liu Rachel Goldberg
Winter of Our Discontent 8 October 24, 2017 Joshua Green Barbara Brown
Drink the Kool-Aid 9 October 31, 2017 Adam Penn Angela Bassett
Charles (Manson) in Charge 10 November 7, 2017 Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Great Again 11 November 14, 2017 Tim Minear Jennifer Lynch

Apocalypse

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
The End 1 September 12, 2018 Ryan Murphy · Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
The Morning After 2 September 19, 2018 James Wong Jennifer Lynch
Forbidden Fruit 3 September 26, 2018 Manny Coto Loni Peristere
Could It Be... Satan? 4 October 3, 2018 Tim Minear Sheree Folkson
Boy Wonder 5 October 10, 2018 John J. Gray Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Return to Murder House 6 October 17, 2018 Crystal Liu Sarah Paulson
Traitor 7 October 24, 2018 Adam Penn Jennifer Lynch
Sojourn 8 October 31, 2018 Joshua Green Bradley Buecker
Fire and Reign 9 November 7, 2018 Asha Michelle Wilson Jennifer Arnold
Apocalypse Then 10 November 14, 2018 Ryan Murphy · Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker

1984

Episode # Premiere Writer(s) Director
Camp Redwood 1 September 18, 2019 Ryan Murphy · Brad Falchuk Bradley Buecker
Mr. Jingles 2 September 25, 2019 Tim Minear John J. Gray
Slashdance 3 October 2, 2019 James Wong Mary Wigmore
True Killers 4 October 9, 2019 Jay Beattie Jennifer Lynch
Red Dawn 5 October 16, 2019 Dan Dworkin Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Episode 100 6 October 23, 2019 Brad Falchuk; Ryan Murphy Loni Peristere
The Lady in White 7 October 30, 2019 John Gray Liz Friedlander.
Rest in Pieces 8 November 6, 2019 Adam Penn Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Final Girl 9 November 13, 2019 Crystal Liu John J. Gray

Executive Producers

Ryan Murphy

Main article: wikipedia:Ryan Murphy

Brad Falchuk

Dante Di Loreto

Tim Minear

Directors

Writers

References

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