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September 21, 2023

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“American Horror Story: Roanoke” is defining season of anthology horror series


“American Horror Story: Roanoke” is the sixth season of the popular horror franchise.

Editor’s note: This was written before the airing of the second episode.


Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy debuted the sixth season of their cult-phenomenon thriller series, “American Horror Story”,” last week. This chapter in the anthology premieres a few weeks shy of the usual October premiere and will finish around Thanksgiving, instead of Christmas. 

This could be the season that defines the series, with early critical success in the first couple of seasons the show saw a steep drop in acclaim with the hot mess that was “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” The theme was kept well under wraps and the producers leaked several misleading trailers leading up to the premiere to retain interest and keep a steady buzz during the summer television season.

Judging from the first episode, fans should expect this season to depart from the previous seasons in terms of storytelling. The creators are trying their hands at “mockumentary” style and they are accomplishing this by having Lily Rabe and Andre Holland narrate their traumatic past, while serve as the glitzier versions of themselves Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr.. This attempt to deviate from their succesful format shows that the creators understand the fans need more from the overall production of the show or the concept will go stale and not support the excellent cast. In seasons past, when the writing has underserved the theme, the actors and actresses have been the only thing keeping fans invested in the show.  

Arguably the best part of the series is the recurring cast (who have won enough accolades to justify the shows long tenure in this decade), however this season’s cast looks to be the most diverse and eclectic. Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson remain the favorite children and are expected to have integral roles this season as they have had before. Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett are back as well and one can only hope they’ll be antagozining each other this season, because their volatile chemistry is undpredicatably pleasant. Taissa Farmiga has not made an on screen appearance, but just her name on the credits alone has left fans salivating with ideas of her reuniting with her season one star-crossed pyschopath lover, Evan Peters. Lady Gaga made huge waves last season with her first full length televison appearance and her first single off her next studio album “Joanne” appeared in a teaser. She is expected to play a small role in this season, but fans should not count her out in a supporting role because she can make a six minute music video feel like a life time.

Roanoke is a vague theme and the direction of the story is not as clear-cut as “Hotel” or “Asylum” were. Obviously the lost colony that infamously left only the word “croatan” on a tree will be a huge plot line, but their involvement in the show is still very much in the air. This unsolved real life mystery gives the creators virtually no reserves when it comes to their imagination and excution of the story. The lost colony could be the horror inducing threat to the Rabe and Holland or thney could be victims to something much more involved. If “Asylum” or “Hotel” are to be used as examples, the writers have no qualms dipping into the supernatural spectrum,

The shortened season, the ambiguous “Roanoake Colony” theme and the mixture of old and new actors all negotiate a big change in “American Horror Story.” Time will only tell if these calculated risks will solidify the show’s groundbreaking legcay for the horror genre or severely disappoint a dedicated fan base.

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