American Horror Story is one of the better shows on television. With the season specific storylines, each incarnation stays fresh. This method helps avoid a “jumping the shark” moment typical american television shows (minus reality programs) have to be aware of. The show has entertained with single season stories in a haunted California home, a 70s era insane asylum, and modern day Louisiana.
As much as I enjoy the one-off seasons, there has been a decline in the show’s overall viewer impact. The first two seasons really hit a home run since they had the right levels of weird, supernatural, crazy, and “WTF” moments rolled into any one of their episodes. American Horror Story: Coven, however, was missing some of the “crazy” which really resonated with me. (I like crazy shit, like True Detective. )
The first season had a crazy twist ending (spoiler: they’re all fucking dead by the end of the season), the second was nothing but crazy (aliens, lobotomies, nazi doctors, demonic possession, genetic tampering, psychopaths), however Coven, comparatively speaking was tame. There were crazy moments, but the psycho meter was really turned down a notch in the 3rd season.
However, with the fourth season to be in a carnival setting, the writers have the opportunity to turn the crazy up to 11, yank the knob off, and show us things that can haunt us for the next five years. Carnivals have clowns, rickety amusement rides, fun houses, and what carnival wouldn’t be complete with a side show and of course the “carnies.” The potential to see some really crazy shit on AHS season 4 is mind boggling. But all that remains to be seen.
As far as casting, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson are the only two expected to return for the fourth season. More AHS alumni could join, but nothing official as of yet. There is something comforting about seeing the same actors on a show season after season, but that’s more of a tool for sitcoms and multi-season dramas. AHS doesn’t, nor should it, adhere to having the same cast return for multiple seasons. They should, look at having a completely new cast.
Don’t get me wrong, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson are both wonderful actresses and I enjoy them on the show, but I’m concerned their character’s are the same season after season, just different day jobs. For example, Lange’s character is the same throughout the first three seasons. She’s power hungry and will stop at nothing until she get’s what she wants, only surprise, her character gets nothing. Paulson’s character gets screwed over at the beginning, but gains the upper hand as the season progresses.
For AHS season 4, I hope the writers crank up the “fucking crazy” knob and throw it out the window. I’m also hoping they will bring in new actors to replace the too familiar faces. We should be uncomfortable when watching this show. The writers want a gut reaction, that’s why Coven had a character try to fuck a Minotaur and hell looks like the lobby of a fried fast food chicken shack.