• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Melissa Maerz
    Oct 9, 2013
    91
    [Ryan Murphy's] sharp take on a woman's role is both funny and mordantly serious.
  2. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Oct 9, 2013
    90
    In the context of other television, American Horror Story is perverse and refreshing, proof that a great show doesn’t have to be self-serious to be smart.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 24, 2013
    88
    Despite its cheap shock effects, the show is indulgently ridiculous. [[28 Oct 2013, p.41]
  4. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Oct 8, 2013
    88
    Although the premiere is hampered by unnecessary narration and over-exposition, it's still a bewitching brew of whimsy, psychological scares, horrific atrocities and the wonderfully relentless feeling that something wicked this way comes.
  5. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Oct 9, 2013
    80
    There's still blood and gore all over the floor, mind you. Not to mention rape, gruesome torture and evil run riot, and that's just the first episode. But there's also a lightness of touch and tone, a backlight of sly humor and, more important, a clearly delineated narrative.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Oct 9, 2013
    80
    There are a LOT of characters and one hopes that Murphy & Falchuk don’t allow the program to get weighed down in subplots. Even if the show does get scattered, great performances by Lange, Bates, Bassett, Roberts, and Farmiga should keep viewers from wanting to leave this Coven.
  7. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Oct 9, 2013
    80
    We’ve come to expect an eclectic mix from the American Horror Story anthology, and the formula works particularly well in this installment, thanks to uninhibited work by the big-name cast.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Larson
    Oct 9, 2013
    75
    American Horror Story has always been a series that loves its characters and still isn't afraid to put them through hell, and it seems like there are more layers down there than expected.
  9. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Oct 9, 2013
    75
    There may be fewer jump scares, but this could turn out to be the best Horror Story.
  10. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Oct 8, 2013
    75
    American Horror Story: Coven ramps the silliness up an enjoyable notch with a story set in a New Orleans school for young witches.
  11. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Oct 8, 2013
    75
    Filmed in New Orleans, Coven wants to soak up some atmosphere, bowdlerize some local history and otherwise creep out viewers. At least on these three points, this season should easily score.
  12. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Oct 8, 2013
    75
    The storyline is more tightly focused than last year’s see-what-sticks approach. But it also feels like it’s pandering a bit to a younger CW crowd.
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Rorke
    Oct 8, 2013
    75
    [Lange and Bates] are the only reason to watch.
  14. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Oct 8, 2013
    75
    Sometimes you just have to go with American Horror Story, even if it hurts your soul to be entertained by such heedless provocation.
  15. 70
    If the season-three premiere is any indication, although AHS has lost its novelty, it still has that seventies and eighties grindhouse/drive-in/midnight movie feeling.
  16. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Oct 9, 2013
    70
    There are aspects of Coven that are stylish and clever, and others that are just "Carrie" on steroids. The cast, of course, is tremendous.
  17. Every AHS series has now featured at least one [rape scene]. Isn't it time to move on? At least he and his collaborators, as usual, do their best to soften the blows with healthy doses of camp and humor.
  18. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Oct 9, 2013
    70
    I’m less sure what the season will do with the potentially volatile racial themes the premiere hints at. But AHS seasons have always thrived on the philosophy of risk and excess. So far, the first episode of Coven is a stylish introduction (complete with black hats).
  19. Reviewed by: Allison Keene
    Oct 8, 2013
    70
    Fish-eye lenses and rotating cameras don't feel at home here as in other installments, and things aren't creepy so much as grotesque. Still, there are a number of decent effects and a healthy dose of humor that keep things moving along in an entertaining way. Eventually, the many stories find their way together, which helps propel the premiere to its promising finish.
  20. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Oct 8, 2013
    70
    It’s always hard to tell how any series will go, especially one as reliably twisty and turny as American Horror Story, but in its first hour at least, Coven offers a clear, entertaining set-up for a potentially strong season.
  21. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Oct 9, 2013
    60
    Coven is the first time American Horror Story gets started with the unmistakable feeling of timecards being punched, as an ensemble of big-name stars dutifully carry forward the show’s trademark fixation on style over substance.
  22. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Oct 9, 2013
    42
    American Horror Story is a glorious mess.
  23. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 9, 2013
    40
    Unfortunately, too much of the focus is on novice witch Zoe, played by Taissa Farmiga with the same one-note boringly sulky attitude she exhibited as the brat you couldn't wait to see die in the first season.
  24. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Oct 7, 2013
    30
    As with all three incarnations of AHS, there are some beautiful images (courtesy of director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and cinematographer Michael Goi), and Murphy and Falchuk’s script exhibits a knowing familiarity with the genre. Still, there’s always something unsavory about using the supernatural as a shield to indulge in sex-laced sadism, which has become a common and frankly rather tired aspect of the whole latex-clad-gimp streak running through the series.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 48
  2. Negative: 11 out of 48
  1. Oct 9, 2013
    10
    Best series opening of the Autumn thus far, strong cast especially from Lange, who's always been the figurehead of this anthology series strong script, perhaps occasionally over-stylized at parts yet all together I loved it. Full Review »
  2. Oct 18, 2013
    1
    season 1 was fantastic. a true American horror story. beautiful in its darkness. season 2 was mental, crazy but I couldn't take my eyes away. pure American horror. but 3? (and by the way im british). witches with super powers? come on!!! its like watching a teen movie in the back row of the cinema. and what a let down. witches can be the scariest things of em all. you guys have the witch trials but look into medieval history. I know you wont like it but look into European history on witches. they will make your turn white. I turned it of in the second episode when the head mistress used the word magic. rubbish. magic is gone. but witchcraft lives on. and the writers/directors made a pigs ear of it. terrible. sorry guys but do your research first. true witches would have made the viewers piss there pants. sorry but epic fail from me. its like watching an eighties teen flick. I hope season 4 goes back true to style. if you get one after this shambles. witches? what a waste Full Review »
  3. Jan 17, 2014
    0
    With all the different kinds of characters the series really had a potential to deliver well balanced story. It reminded me the first season of "Heroes". But later on it all became a total mess (story and direction wise). After watching episodes 10 and 11 I got so confused I had to check maybe I missed some chapter! and I don't think it can get better in 1-2 chapters left. I just watch it for beautiful clothes and sets now. Full Review »