When I first heard about American Horror Stories, I was a bit leary of the idea. American Horror Story has continued to fail to match the magic of the first few seasons, and Ryan Murphy has a LOT of other shows on his plate. However, while some episodes offered a good laugh more than anything, I still found myself somewhat pleased with the show.
American Horror Stories takes plots that would normally somehow stretch over an entire season, and it makes them much shorter. Most of the story arcs are done within the episode, except for the first one. The show manages to take on whole new stories while continuing to tie in bits and pieces of the AHS universe, like the murder house, for example. Ryan Murphy also holds true to his habit of taking actors and casting them in his projects over and over again. The series stars Matt Bomer, Billie Lourd, John Carroll Lynch, Naomi Grossman, Charles Melton, and Chad James Buchanan, all from the parent show, American Horror Story. Other recognizable faces from Ryan Murphy’s other shows include Ronen Rubenstein (9-1-1 Lone Star) and Kevin McHale (Glee).
It’s definitely nowhere near close to the stature of its parent show, but it also doesn’t really feel like it’s trying to be. With most of the stories packed within fifty minutes, it covers all of the story, leaving no unanswered questions while also not dragging it all out. From a rubber man suit, the murder house, a banned film, and a killer Santa to a totem, the show keeps the audience on their toes. Unfortunately, the storylines mostly seem to have one thing in common: classic overdone horror movie plots. For example, the first few episodes follow a family who buys a new house (a.k.a the murder house) and tries to turn it into a bed and breakfast, much to the resistance of their teenage daughter. Other storylines include a forbidden or cursed film, social media gone wrong, what’s possibly hiding in the woods, a video game, and a mom who is concerned about evil spirits with her new baby (complete with the husband/dad who never believes a word she says).
If you’re watching critically and specifically for the scare factor, this show probably isn’t for you. It definitely gives off a lot of television-for-young-adults vibes, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it is different from what the parent show has tried to aim for.
If you still haven’t seen the first season of American Horror Stories, you still have time before the second season drops! All episodes are available to stream on Hulu. Season 2 premieres on July 21st, also on Hulu.