Oct 20, 2012


American Horror Story was the TV series that I've become a true fan of: I've read all the reviews, watched all the promos and spoilers, browsed for photos, spent a lot of time on the official site of the show and so on. The last time I experienced this kind of obsession was over fifteen years ago, when I came across with The X-Files. Interestingly enough, Murphy and Falchuk decided to touch the very topic of The X-Files a bit this season, the aliens.

But the main theme of season 2 is, of course, madness. There's no doubt about it as the show creators introduce a new place for the story development instead of the Murder House: Briarcliff Manor Sanitarium or the asylum.

Insanity, as a phenomenon, has always fascinated me, though at the same time I believe it to be the most horrible thing that can ever happen to any human being. I've faced mental sickness in its various shapes throughout my life as I met a number of people possessing it (from random creeps in the street to co-workers and family members), and nothing petrified me more than the thought that my own mind can be challenged like that. So it's a great topic for a horror show IMHO.

Last season the narration was about our time with brief flashbacks to different points in the past, now they decided to go with full time period drama (most of the story happens in 1964) with short inclusions of the present day moments (unnecessary, in my opinion).

Murphy said it's their version of a workplace drama (so it's Mad Men all over again?), as opposed to last season's family drama. In the first episode they already portrayed the issues of racism, feminism and homosexuality, to say nothing of mentally ill patients' rights (or rather the lack of such), characteristic to that time. Right now I'm feeling a little fed up with the "60s in America" topic, so I can't say I was particularly thrilled about this.

The music in the opening credits is the same, but the visuals were changed to a mental house related images; frankly, I liked the previous version much more. There are still very brief pauses between the lines in dialogues, which is kind of characteristic feature of AHS; this type of edit makes the flow of words feel a little overwhelming and I guess that's the plan. The picture is a little unfocused or foggy, probably to create the atmosphere of uncertainty of what's real and what isn't.

Then, of course, they brought some of the actors from last season to play different characters. Not all of them have appeared so far, we haven't yet seen Zachary Quinto, Frances Conroy, Eric Stonestreet or Dylan McDermott. The ones that featured in the first episode were Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe.

All of their characters are very different from those they played the last season or so it seems.

They try to beat the greatness of Jessica Lange's performance last season by making her new character, Sister Jude, oppose to Dr. Arthur Arden, portrayed by another great actor - James Cromwell. Sister Jude and Dr. Arden seem to completely differ in their beliefs, but they are fundamentally similar in their radicalized devotion. Sister Jude puts God and nature above human kind, whereas the place of God for Dr. Arden's is taken by the almighty science and he doesn't mind to sacrifice a couple of humans for the sake of progress.

I've read that the ratings were good; AHS was ahead of other Wednesday shows like Nashville and Chicago Fire and was deservedly so. However, there were things I did not quite liked:

- Leo and Teresa. I don't care what happens to these two worst members of creative class. If they die, I'll be happy.
- I don't think there was any need to put Lange into that sexy outfit. She's so great, she can surely portray lust in a less bold way (the way Sister Jude lit up as she was talking about Monsignor Timothy to Lana was an example).
- The microchip with legs. Just lame.

Otherwise I had a good time watching it. 666 Park Avenue will never come close to the greatness of American Horror Story.

I had the same face expression as I watched AHS

Score 9/10

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