American Horror Story: Ranked

American Horror Story has been spooking up our televisions for the past seven years, becoming both a staple TV show and a cult classic in its airtime. With its eighth installment, Apocalypse, premiering on September 12th, we've decided to compile a ranking of our favorite seasons in anticipation to the arrival of the new season.

 

Starting off the ranking is Cult, the show’s seventh and most recent season. Arguably the most stripped back season—focusing more on reality and less on the paranormal—Cult came in response to the actual horror story that was happening in the United States after the 2016 elections. Showcasing the show’s standard cast with the welcoming of new faces, the season focused on Sarah Paulson’s character Ally handling her phobias amidst the saturation of triggers present after the elections. Also offering commentary on the hive mentality that charismatic personalities can create, Cult—although landing lowest in the ranking—is a respectable season in its own right.

 

 

Following the seventh season is Roanoke, the sixth season. It could be considered the show’s most ambitious installment, as its format of half-reenactment documentary, half-snuff reality found-footage show didn’t sit well with everyone. Roanoke was American Horror Story dipping in mainstream horror, featuring jump scares, gore, and a sense of utter tragedy throughout the entire season that left audiences wondering just how the show was going to do whatever was next.

The show’s debut season Murder House is oftentimes overshadowed within the fandom by its considerably more extravagant and pointed siblings, but in this list comes at a solid fifth position. Debuting with a traditional, yet always welcomed, story of a family moving into a new home following an inner fallout—only to find out that it’s not what it seemed—Murder House set the stage for a series determined to bring the concepts of horror mostly solely found in movies onto TV screens. One thing to note from this season is its dialogue: upon review, the chemistry of the characters and how well they bounce off each other lifts the season to the height of its extravagant successors.

Freak Show is arguably the most polarizing season. Diverting from the show’s typical concept of having a main setting (and plot), the fourth season presented the American Horror Story franchise experimenting with a character-driven drama. Personally my least favorite season, I found it to be too uneventful considering its theme–only one scene made me react in the entire season, and all I have to say is: Maggie Esmerelda deserved better. Although, one point should be given: the season contains great cinematography.

 

 

Back-to-back, another polarizing season arrives: Hotel. After the somber fourth season, American Horror Story amped up the glamour and gore for Hotel, the show’s fifth season. Featuring pop-titan Lady Gaga as The Countess—the season’s titular character—the season brought back the AHS staple of having a main setting, the ever-so glamorous and haunting Hotel Cortez. Following blood viruses that made people act like vampires and serial killers, Hotel additionally showed the show-runners’ eye for aesthetics, as each element—from the music to the character’s clothing—was integrated seamlessly to establish the season’s tone. Albeit a bit messy, Hotel is an enjoyable season.

Opening the Top 2 is Asylum, the second season. Widely considered the best season within the fandom, Asylum is the perfect mixture of horror and drama. Following Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters after being institutionalized in a mental facility run by uber-catholic Sister Jude Martin (Jessica Lange) for her sexuality, Asylum showcased a solid story of survival and redemption. Although featuring a questionable alien plot-line, the season stands out as being the show’s most concrete installment.

Now, lots of arguments are given whenever this season is named the best amongst fans of the show, but in this ranking it won by majority. Finalizing as Her Campus UPRM’s favorite season is Coven, the show’s third season. Set in New Orleans, Coven follows an ensemble cast of witches running mayhem with their abilities. With storylines of thirst for power, betrayal, and oppression (most notably, commentary on racism), Coven is that season that can be watched repeatedly as it has something for everyone: it has horror, it has camp, it has comedy, it has witches, for God’s sake! How can someone not like it?

 

 

I have to admit, Coven is my all-time favorite season, and at times I consider it my favorite TV show of all-time as a standalone piece. While it premiered back in 2013, I used to wear black on Wednesdays in honor of the new episodes. Each new episode was an event that brought social media and discussion forums to a standstill. I have lost track of how many times I have re-watched the season.

 

American Horror Story is a show that continues to remain fresh, as it utilizes its anthology aspect well. Although over the years it has become rather convoluted (we won’t talk about the attempts at connecting the seasons), AHS stands out amongst the saturation of teen and drama oriented programs currently airing. With Apocalypse premiering this week and the recent announcement that it has been renewed through Season 10, American Horror Story is sure to keep us at the edge of our seats in anticipation for what’s next.