Critical Condition: American Horror Story

American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare (SoHo, 9.30 Tuesday/encore 7.30 Sunday)

“At last, at last, American Horror Story aired an episode that was simply an American horror story—not an American fever dream and tonal pastiche featuring supernatural rapists, non-essential enema scenes, muddled social commentary, and the misuse of Broadway’s most venerated talents. The theme for the sixth season had been kept a secret ahead of time, but the greatest revelation of the premiere wasn’t about setting but about the power of restraint: Here were simply three main characters, getting scared, and getting scared well.” — The Atlantic.

“What sold the first episode of American Horror Story‘s sixth season was not the framing device or the details of the ‘theme’—which seems to be related to the events at ‘lost colony’ Roanoke, but which mercifully is not being over-explained or overdetermined in the way Hotel was. The slow ratcheting-up of the danger … is something outside of any ‘theme’ and more important than the casting news that has in recent years been the show’s main claim to press.” — Time.

“The premiere didn’t wow me, and it barely hooked me. There were some good jump scares, but none of it was intrinsically scary. The story suggested an interest in race, gender, and history, but did little than more flag them as potential themes. The most interesting thing about the premiere was its fuzziness. I’m still not sure what this season’s about, but the first installment did just enough to make we want to find out.” — Entertainment Weekly.

AHS6 commenced by presenting us with its version of a schlock-TV true-crime tale, in the manner of Forensic Files or Killer Kids or some other reality-based foolishness like that. Except this schlock has a superior cast: Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. (co-stars of The People v. O.J. Simpson reunited, intimately), Lily Rabe, The Knick’s Andre Holland, Kathy Bates, and a few other AHS regulars obscured by being caked in rural Virginia mud … It’s a safe bet this true-crime saga becomes something more campy and complex as it proceeds. ” — Yahoo TV.

American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, if that’s what we’re officially calling it, hasn’t fully convinced me it’s going to be a consistent season of must-watch thrills and chills. But it piqued my interest enough last night to keep me coming back for the next week or two at least. It did that by doing the same thing as its marketing campaign: keeping just enough detail in the shadows so that, even though it may not be a good idea, we can’t help ourselves from venturing further into the woods to determine what’s really out there.” — New York.

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2 Responses to “Critical Condition: American Horror Story”

  1. We thought the first episode was very good and really looking forward to upcoming episodes.

  2. I agree, Mark. I found AHS: Hotel unwatchable but thought the S6 premiere the best episode since the show’s second season, Asylum. Looking forward to next week’s …

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