• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 203 Ratings

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  • Summary: Set in 1952, a freak show run by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) comes to Jupiter, Florida. Also set to appear: Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Michael Chiklis, John Carroll Lynch, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Emma Roberts, and Gabourey Sidibe.
  • Genre(s): Horror
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 7, 2014
    100
    Freak Show looks like a beauty, with a wealth of fascinating characters and a little smattering of heart helping to balance out the grisly appointed rounds of a so far unidentified clown with a hellish half-mask.
  2. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Oct 7, 2014
    83
    Whom to vote for--Dot or Bette? Or will Paulson end up splitting the vote? The special effects are so seamless and Paulson's performance so memorable that it's not a completely incidental question. Then, of course, there's Lange.
  3. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Oct 8, 2014
    80
    There’s enough talent and intensity here for me to step behind the tent flap, to see if all this can cohere into something super freaky.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    Oct 9, 2014
    70
    It’s hardly [his crowning achievement], lacking the aggressive whimsy and emboldened storytelling that’s made him the pied piper to a nation of TV-watching weirdos, mocked and ignored. But there’s a seriousness with which he’s given this first Freak Show outing that actually piques more of a curiosity than trotting out the expected onslaught of spooks, one-liners, and cheekiness could’ve possibly be done at this point in the American Horror Story run.
  5. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Oct 8, 2014
    60
    The overall narrative is a bit lacking, just as you don’t go to a circus show in the hope of seeing all the various acts tied together through storytelling. Yes, there’s a murder to hide, a few secrets for each of the major characters, and Murphy’s overall arc of the outcast who holds more humanity than the “normal people,” but I hope the actual storytelling of American Horror Story: Freak Show improves in subsequent episodes.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Oct 7, 2014
    60
    It still has plenty of clever touches in word and picture.... But it’s not particularly scary, and doesn’t even feel that creepy or freakish, despite the sideshow setting and the obvious attempt to emulate one of the eeriest of American movies, Tod Browning’s “Freaks,” from 1932.
  7. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Oct 6, 2014
    50
    Freakshow boasts some extraordinary performances by actors who labor in vain against a sometimes plodding script, weighed down with underwhelming horror moments, way too obvious metaphors about tolerating differences and a pervasively airless claustrophobia.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 47
  2. Negative: 11 out of 47
  1. Oct 9, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Com certeza o melhor pilot de todas as temporadas, adorei ver a Sarah interpretando 2 personalidades diferentes, estava ótima. A cena final com a Elsa retirando suas próteses foi a que mais me chocou. Expand
  2. Oct 26, 2014
    10
    otima serie otimos atores queria a taissa mas reconheço q a serie continua boa vamos ver se supera asylum mas ate agr esta otima a série e jaotima serie otimos atores queria a taissa mas reconheço q a serie continua boa vamos ver se supera asylum mas ate agr esta otima a série e ja bateu recordes de audiencias Expand
  3. Oct 8, 2014
    10
    Por mais que seja difícil de assistir, por se tratar de temas delicados e mostrar a sociedade daquela época como realmente era com relação ásPor mais que seja difícil de assistir, por se tratar de temas delicados e mostrar a sociedade daquela época como realmente era com relação ás pessoas com anormalidades, essa temporada promete ser bastante agonizante. Expand
  4. Oct 9, 2014
    8
    After the let down (at least for me) of season 3, which I thought was weak and not scary at all, especially compared to seasons 1 and 2,After the let down (at least for me) of season 3, which I thought was weak and not scary at all, especially compared to seasons 1 and 2, season 4 prospects to be much more entertaining and is off to a good start.

    We've got the usual Jessica Lange in a difficult role, apparently, but she's a tried actress and I'm sure she'll manage. As for the other regulars, they don't appear to be that changed... we'll have to see.

    As usual, great photography and great directing, some original camera work, and eerie promises for episodes next! Hopefully it won't be a downer like Coven was.
    Expand
  5. Jan 25, 2015
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The fourth season of American Horror Story had a lot of promise at the start but it got weak at the end.

    Its main problem was the plot and the way how it was narrated. In this season’s plot, a group of freak show performers have to survive the odds. It doesn’t sound exciting at all but that’s not the real problem. The real problem was that the writers don’t know how to narrate its plot into a 13 episode story. The strongest point of the plot was the antagonist of the first half of the season named Twisty the Clown. But when he was killed off in the middle of the season, the antagonist title is given to Dandy Mott which he showed a lot of promise to be a much more scarier villain than Twisty the Clown but he ended up being a spoiled brat.

    The nowhere going plot also affected the character development this season. Like Dandy Mott, a lot of characters showed a lot of promise that they could be complex written characters but they ended up being underdeveloped thanks to its shallow plot narrative.

    The shining light of Freak Show was its acting performance. I would like to highlight Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Finn Wittrock, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch and of course, Jessica Lange. It’s sad that they’re not given much to do with their characters but at least they tried their very best on what’s given to them.

    Another good thing about Freak Show was the way how it was directed and shot. The cinematography really feels like it’s set in the 50s.

    Despite everything that’s wrong with it, I still enjoyed watching Freak Show and that’s why I rated this season a bit higher than I should have but its flaws cannot go unnoticed. I hope they improve its story telling next season and even if they didn’t, they better make it entertaining at least.
    Expand
  6. Jan 21, 2015
    5
    It was a slow season. Started off slow, ending with a literal bang. The second half of the season is something to marvel, but sadly... itIt was a slow season. Started off slow, ending with a literal bang. The second half of the season is something to marvel, but sadly... it doesn't quite redeem it for me. The whole season has just felt empty, almost pointless. Expand
  7. Oct 28, 2014
    0
    I've watched this show from this its beginning, I am utterly disappointed with this season. Glee is dead, there is no reason AHS should haveI've watched this show from this its beginning, I am utterly disappointed with this season. Glee is dead, there is no reason AHS should have singing for an empty tent, or at all really. What a sad rip off of the classic "Freaks". And now there's Lord Voldemort!?! Ryan Murphy just stop it. I had a bad feeling when I heard you were directing so I guess my instincts were right. Expand

See all 47 User Reviews

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