TV Talk with Breanna 2×01: Get Spooked with American Horror Story

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Welcome to the second, and unfortunately last, season of TV Talk with Breanna. Just like last year, I will be reviewing television shows that are exceptional– whether it’s due to their writing, acting, or any combination of things– and therefore are worth your time as a busy high school student.

Although the Halloween season has just ended, that doesn’t mean the spooky spirit has to go away too, and American Horror Story is the perfect show to keep the scares going. The show, which began airing on FX in 2011, has a format that is a bit different than most shows on television today; instead of having a continuing storyline, each season is self-contained. The plot, setting, and theme of each season are completely different, but unlike other anthologies, AHS features most of the same actors in each season portraying different characters.

The first season, which was subsequently subtitled Murder House, follows the Harmon family as they move into a haunted mansion after Vivien (Connie Britton) finds out that her husband Ben (Dylan McDermott) was cheating on her.  They become acquainted with their neighbors Constance (Jessica Lange) and Tate (Evan Peters), who actually used to own the house, and soon realize that some of the other previous residents remain on the property as well– as ghosts.

In the second season, American Horror Story: Asylum, veterans Peters and Lange, along with Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto, return to play the criminally insane patients and unethical doctors of the Briarcliff Mental Institution. In attempts to try and “fix” them, the doctors are constantly subjecting the patients to awful, unorthodox experiments.

The third season, Coven, focuses on a school for the descendants of the Salem witches in New Orleans, and features Lange, Peters, Paulson, and Taissa Farmiga (who played the Harmon’s daughter in the first season), along with newcomers Kathy Bates and Emma Roberts. The city soon becomes entrenched in a bloody rivalry between the witches and voodoo practitioners.

The fourth and newest season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, began airing in early October, and once again features many of the veterans from previous seasons. The season takes place in Florida during the 1950s and follows Lange’s circus show filled with various types of “freaks,” ranging from a bearded lady to a pair of conjoined twins.

As previously stated, the format of American Horror Story is a bit different than what we’re used to, but that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting. Being able to see the same actors as different characters in each season can really show off their acting abilities, which keeps viewers coming back each year to see what kind of person they will play next. The themes of each season are another aspect of the show that make it so intriguing– with topics that are so relevant to today’s society (infidelity, sanity and the stigma of mental illness, oppression and female empowerment, and discrimination respectively), the show is not only entertaining but provides an important commentary on the world we live in today.

Due to the seasons being self-contained, you can basically watch them in whatever order you’d like. In order to get the best scares and continue the Halloween season in spirit, feel free to start with the season that features whatever creepy element scares you the most: ghosts, mental asylums, witches, or clowns. The first two seasons are currently available to watch on Netflix, and Freak Show airs on Wednesdays at 10PM on FX.