American Horror Story : Season 1

  • Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 911 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 58 out of 911

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User Reviews

  1. Oct 6, 2011
    8
    It's certainly freaky enough for me to keep watching, though the pilot wasn't quite as frightening as I'd hoped. I do love that they left plenty of things unexplained. It's reminiscent of The Shining, with a little In Treatment thrown in the mix. Love the cast - the younger Farmiga is terrific, and Jessica Lange? Where have you been hiding? I hope the writers continue to dwell in theIt's certainly freaky enough for me to keep watching, though the pilot wasn't quite as frightening as I'd hoped. I do love that they left plenty of things unexplained. It's reminiscent of The Shining, with a little In Treatment thrown in the mix. Love the cast - the younger Farmiga is terrific, and Jessica Lange? Where have you been hiding? I hope the writers continue to dwell in the perverse, and hopefully they strive for a Black-Lodge level of weirdness. [Score based on the Pilot only.] Expand
  2. Oct 6, 2011
    9
    The pilot episode was dark, disturbing, and thoroughly entertaining. The acting was exceptional, with Connie Britton delivering the stand-out performance. The only problem I had was with some of the "spooky" editing techniques; these came off as more annoying than frightening ("Helter Skelter!").

    It appears that critics don't really know what to make of this show, as they seem pretty
    The pilot episode was dark, disturbing, and thoroughly entertaining. The acting was exceptional, with Connie Britton delivering the stand-out performance. The only problem I had was with some of the "spooky" editing techniques; these came off as more annoying than frightening ("Helter Skelter!").

    It appears that critics don't really know what to make of this show, as they seem pretty evenly divided on it. Those who don't like it cite how uncomfortable the show makes the viewer feel as a negative aspect. I view this as a positive, since this is clearly what they are going for. This one might take a few more episodes to find it's audience, but I'm pretty confident that it will be successful.
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  3. Dec 2, 2011
    4
    Intriguing, but ultimately do I really want some of this stuff in my head? Troubling enough that I deleted all the recorded shows after watching only two. The world is warped enough, I could just watch the news, only without the emotional trauma.
  4. Jan 1, 2012
    9
    I remember thinking many parts of the first few episodes were pretty bad but this is one of the most entertaining shows I've ever watched. The best thing by far is jessica Lange, but the writing and story develop really well as you work through the season. Not perfect by any stretch, but highly enjoyable viewing for anyone who likes their horror wit a few giggles thrown in. I've neverI remember thinking many parts of the first few episodes were pretty bad but this is one of the most entertaining shows I've ever watched. The best thing by far is jessica Lange, but the writing and story develop really well as you work through the season. Not perfect by any stretch, but highly enjoyable viewing for anyone who likes their horror wit a few giggles thrown in. I've never before started watching a seasverse right over again after finishing it but did with this. Expand
  5. Oct 8, 2011
    8
    Surprisingly edgy for non-pay TV. The writers must have had a lot of fun coming up with all the bad things that could happen on just the first episode. Its easy to see how this could be a lot of fun for a few more weeks, but hard to see where they take it from there. Already, the question is clearly "why don't you just move?".
  6. Sep 22, 2012
    6
    A wildly uneven show with a lot of potential. AHS throws a lot of horror themes at the wall, but not all of it sticks. Some episodes were intriguing, well-acted, suspenseful (that I'd rate a 7 or 8), and others were wandering, incoherent messes (that I'd rate a 4 or 5). Initially, the subplots and narrative turns keep you involved, but eventually they just seem to be thrown at you justA wildly uneven show with a lot of potential. AHS throws a lot of horror themes at the wall, but not all of it sticks. Some episodes were intriguing, well-acted, suspenseful (that I'd rate a 7 or 8), and others were wandering, incoherent messes (that I'd rate a 4 or 5). Initially, the subplots and narrative turns keep you involved, but eventually they just seem to be thrown at you just for the sake of it, and it got exhausting to keep up toward the end of the series. If they keep the plot twists at a moderate level, and keep the narrative a bit more coherent, this could be a great show. Fingers crossed they have this figured out come season 2 Expand
  7. Dec 21, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Brilliant season and exquisite season finale. Exhibit A. What other show would literally kill off its entire starring cast in the first season? Exhibit B. Jessica Lange in one long, devastating take. Exhibit C. More story twists in one episode than most shows manage in an entire series. Expand
  8. Oct 9, 2014
    1
    The 2014 season is pitiful. Rather than introducing us to a cleverly written plot the show inundates us with unnecessary violence and sex during the first episode. This is the first season that I found myself annoyed by Jessica Lange. In all previous seasons she did a fantastic job. This season it feels like she is over acting and putting on a weak imitation of Meryl Streep with thatThe 2014 season is pitiful. Rather than introducing us to a cleverly written plot the show inundates us with unnecessary violence and sex during the first episode. This is the first season that I found myself annoyed by Jessica Lange. In all previous seasons she did a fantastic job. This season it feels like she is over acting and putting on a weak imitation of Meryl Streep with that awful German accent she is using. Expand
  9. Dec 15, 2011
    9
    every week. the show gets better and better, the story is complex, but you can follow it, you think you will get a LOST type "non-explanation" but every week more is revealed. This show reminds me of LOST more then any other show, and thats a good thing. Every thing about this show is thought through and entertaining, you can tell the actors are having fun in their roles, everything aboutevery week. the show gets better and better, the story is complex, but you can follow it, you think you will get a LOST type "non-explanation" but every week more is revealed. This show reminds me of LOST more then any other show, and thats a good thing. Every thing about this show is thought through and entertaining, you can tell the actors are having fun in their roles, everything about this show is amazing, i can't wait for it to come to DVD so i can watch it start to finish in one sitting. it is an amazingly crafted story, i hope season 1 ends with the completion of the current story, and they do a season 2 with a brand new story. Great job coming up with original TV (its so rare these days...) Expand
  10. Dec 28, 2011
    9
    Overall a very strong first season. The show is trashy. It is crude, it is unrelenting in its march towards entertaining the audience. And that's why its one of the few shows i chose to stick with through the full season. Pure entertainment. While at first I was afraid that the writers had written themselves into a corner and were struggling for a direction, things picked back up andOverall a very strong first season. The show is trashy. It is crude, it is unrelenting in its march towards entertaining the audience. And that's why its one of the few shows i chose to stick with through the full season. Pure entertainment. While at first I was afraid that the writers had written themselves into a corner and were struggling for a direction, things picked back up and came in for a strong and occasionally moving finish. Expand
  11. Oct 7, 2011
    9
    My wife and I watched this off the DVR before we went to bed. The show was actually quite frightening, and my sleep was little uneasy, which doesn't happen much with horror shows/movies. It is a blend of paranormal and psychological horror. The rubbersuit reminded me of the Alfred **** series with the ghost under the sheet. The only reason I gave it a 9 was I don't know how long theMy wife and I watched this off the DVR before we went to bed. The show was actually quite frightening, and my sleep was little uneasy, which doesn't happen much with horror shows/movies. It is a blend of paranormal and psychological horror. The rubbersuit reminded me of the Alfred **** series with the ghost under the sheet. The only reason I gave it a 9 was I don't know how long the show can keep going before the theme and ideas become monotonous. Expand
  12. Mar 24, 2013
    6
    From the very start American Horror Story is an absolute mess. Almost every episode see’s the writers throw event after event on screen resulting in a script and direction that are all over the place as well as a plot with more holes in it than Swiss cheese. Despite the fact that this should by all rights make the show unwatchable I continued viewing all the way through to the finale asFrom the very start American Horror Story is an absolute mess. Almost every episode see’s the writers throw event after event on screen resulting in a script and direction that are all over the place as well as a plot with more holes in it than Swiss cheese. Despite the fact that this should by all rights make the show unwatchable I continued viewing all the way through to the finale as within a few episodes I did genuinely want to find out about the shows central mystery and, aside from the occasions when it gets bogged down in trying (and failing) to realistically portrayal a marriage breaking down, it could certainly never be described as boring. Try not to think about it too deeply and you’ll probably enjoy yourself. Expand
  13. Oct 6, 2011
    8
    A strange, funny and creepy series that keeps you watching. The acting is great and the show is intriguing. I can't wait to find out all the secrets and mysteries that the show is hiding.
  14. Nov 17, 2011
    6
    Aside from a scene near the end of the pilot, this show isn't scary at all and classifies more as a thriller than horror show. Some episodes are very dull. It is still worth a watch for horror lovers like me.
  15. Oct 26, 2011
    8
    Good acting (non from protagonists) Well scripted,you won't understand if what's going on is actually happening or not. Watchable and non boring at all.
  16. Oct 7, 2011
    5
    The creators of this show employ a whole lot of horror gimmicks to scare the crap out of you. It works. Of course, there has to be some sort of pleasure to compensate for the anxiety of watching a horror show. In example, with most horror movies, at the end you have the pleasure of solving the mystery or watching your favorite character come out okay. In contrast, by the end of the pilotThe creators of this show employ a whole lot of horror gimmicks to scare the crap out of you. It works. Of course, there has to be some sort of pleasure to compensate for the anxiety of watching a horror show. In example, with most horror movies, at the end you have the pleasure of solving the mystery or watching your favorite character come out okay. In contrast, by the end of the pilot episode of American Horror Story, nothing was explained and no one was deemed safe. Personal cost: anxiety. Benefit: get to marvel at some talented actors and directors. Hmm. I can get the same benefit by watching most HBO or AMC series without nearly as much anxiety. The show needs more payoff.

    Further, a mystery surrounding just one house can't possibly support 60 episodes. David Lynch might be able to get away with piecing together a bunch of random spooky scenes, but Twin Peaks had an eccentric, languid beauty that was a pleasure to watch and makes this show appear manufactured. Still, American Horror Story is certainly more creative than most stuff on TV, and the actors are fantastic, so it deserves some recognition.
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  17. HoX
    Nov 24, 2011
    9
    If you're searching for something new, especially if you like horror movie and TV series, American Horror Story is exactly what you're looking for. This series bring to the horror series scenario something new and very different. While the other horror series are focused on one or more characters hunting ghosts and monsters, in AHS the main characters are the house and its story and it isIf you're searching for something new, especially if you like horror movie and TV series, American Horror Story is exactly what you're looking for. This series bring to the horror series scenario something new and very different. While the other horror series are focused on one or more characters hunting ghosts and monsters, in AHS the main characters are the house and its story and it is a story full of mysteries.
    In the first two episodes you discover the Harmon family and the other characters related to the house, but if you'll wait the third episode, you will learn the house's secrets, so that you won't like to wait a week to know what's happening after (especially in the episode Halloween, split in two parts, episodes 4 and 5).
    The most shocking fact? It is done by the same author of Nip/Tuck (ok, their both crazy shows) and Glee (What???).
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  18. Jan 31, 2013
    8
    I really like this show. The tone and feel of both seasons are very creepy. The plot may not be the best, but with great acting and execution, this is one of the best shows on TV.
  19. Oct 6, 2011
    7
    I love the atmosphere and the music and performances but this show is going to have to do more than throw weird images at me every week. How about a coherent story? Some type of narrative?
    Seems like Murphy just glued a bunch of stuff together.
  20. j30
    Jan 24, 2012
    8
    Overall this is a very good show with a just a few filler episodes. The writing is good and they probably have one of the best casts in a TV right now particularly Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, and of course the fantastic Jessica Lange. When Hollywood is putting out more Saw sequels than I have fingers, it's refreshing to see some good horror shows out there like AHS and The Walking Dead.
  21. Nov 14, 2011
    7
    Television is one of the least diverse genres out there. We see comedy, drama, and crime shows. That's pretty much it. So it's great to see a horror series on TV other than THE WALKING DEAD.

    I enjoyed seeing the familiarity of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Some things are directly connectible to widely-known horror films (for instance, both the demon baby theme from ROSEMARY'S BABY and the
    Television is one of the least diverse genres out there. We see comedy, drama, and crime shows. That's pretty much it. So it's great to see a horror series on TV other than THE WALKING DEAD.

    I enjoyed seeing the familiarity of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Some things are directly connectible to widely-known horror films (for instance, both the demon baby theme from ROSEMARY'S BABY and the demon child theme from THE OMEN are held); while other themes don't seem fully original, but they do not feel easily related to horror films.

    The music used in this program is phenomenal and new. It is not consistent with the same type, as it ranges from an eerie tapping on bells with no instruments accompanying, to piano music that reminds us of John Carpenter's classic soundtrack to HALLOWEEN.

    As for a recommendation, I'd say this should be for horror fans only. It is a chilling twist on the classic "haunted house" sub-genre, and at that it is likely to keep horror fanatics watching, but terrify anyone else.
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  22. Dec 4, 2011
    10
    i am so obsessed with this show. its so good! the story is amazing there's so many branches where the story extends. its well done. the show is somewhat creepy but its never meant to be "Scary" yes there are some scary parts but not many. the acting is superb, and its just one of the best shows out now!. if you like shows with a good story, many characters, action, suspense, some whati am so obsessed with this show. its so good! the story is amazing there's so many branches where the story extends. its well done. the show is somewhat creepy but its never meant to be "Scary" yes there are some scary parts but not many. the acting is superb, and its just one of the best shows out now!. if you like shows with a good story, many characters, action, suspense, some what scary scenes. this is the show!. AMAZING! Expand
  23. Dec 14, 2011
    1
    A potpourri of the horror genre cliches, helplessly aimless blundering embarrassment. Frantic - and deadeningly boring at the same time. A waste of everything invested in the project, including the viewers' time. I quit watching it midseason.
  24. Dec 1, 2011
    10
    Absolutely wonderful. Terrific sense of foreboding with a perfectly menacing atmosphere while still managing to be emotionally affecting on many other levels. This is what horror can and should be. http://themuddoctor.blogspot.com
  25. Nov 29, 2011
    9
    Most people like to say "AMERICAN HORROR" in the same breath as "WALKING DEAD". Two TV shows about scary things. I'll tell you why AMERICAN HORROR STORY is six times better:

    Story - by far AMERICAN HORROR, a more compelling story arc with great use of setting up mystery with horror along with utilizing flashback's that tie up all questions. It's always entertaining and never dull.
    Most people like to say "AMERICAN HORROR" in the same breath as "WALKING DEAD". Two TV shows about scary things. I'll tell you why AMERICAN HORROR STORY is six times better:

    Story - by far AMERICAN HORROR, a more compelling story arc with great use of setting up mystery with horror along with utilizing flashback's that tie up all questions. It's always entertaining and never dull. Walking Dead feels as if they're dragging out story arcs to the point where there's too much down time. The subplots/love triangles and such side stories are making me feel like I'm watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Acting - no doubt AMERICAN HORROR has some the cream of the crop acting. When I watch it, I don't feel like I'm watching someone act the way I do when I watch WALKING DEAD.

    Suspense - not only is every episode of AMERICAN HORROR suspenseful, but almost every other scene is as well!

    Cinematography - every camera angle is well thought out in AMERICAN HORROR. Not only that, but the quality looks better/filmed better: better lights/darks/contrast (not to mention better sound)

    Consistency - there hasn't been a bad episode of AMERICAN HORROR, while there's been plenty of lackluster episodes of WALKING DEAD.

    Opening Credits - i used to think WALKING DEAD had the best opening credits with awesome textures and whatnot... until AMERICAN HORROR came out. Great textured visuals, creepy shaky imagery, dark-audio and twisted editing.

    Sum-up - on paper, i'd choose Walking Dead. But after watching Walking Dead, it's just too much. I love zombies as much as the next person, but I'll be the first to say we all like zombies BUT in small doses: two hour movie... thirty minute zombie scene here... there....etc But not for a season, let alone three. We all loved Newman on Seinfeld. He's the best - in SMALL doses! We wouldnt want a TV series about Newman.
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  26. Apr 5, 2012
    5
    Upon watching the first episode I am both confused yet still interested. To me, this isn't a horrible show, but, I do not understand the plot. Some of the characters are annoying and they throw a lot at you in the very first episode. We are introduced to so many characters at once that it is hard to keep up. Overall the story and the jumpiness of the camera work make it hard to keep upUpon watching the first episode I am both confused yet still interested. To me, this isn't a horrible show, but, I do not understand the plot. Some of the characters are annoying and they throw a lot at you in the very first episode. We are introduced to so many characters at once that it is hard to keep up. Overall the story and the jumpiness of the camera work make it hard to keep up with what is going on. I will continue to watch the show but for now I'm giving it a 5/10 because I have no idea what's going on. The show features 2 of my favorite actors and I want to see more of them. Expand
  27. Oct 20, 2011
    9
    I'm quite surprised about the low score this show is getting.. although after 3 episodes it's hard to tell.. everything does indeed depend on whether the creators manage to pull it off over a whole season, and keep the story of the relationship interesting. As for the eeriness/creepiness/thrill of the show: it's superb! Instead of relying on gore, it plays the freak/suspense cardI'm quite surprised about the low score this show is getting.. although after 3 episodes it's hard to tell.. everything does indeed depend on whether the creators manage to pull it off over a whole season, and keep the story of the relationship interesting. As for the eeriness/creepiness/thrill of the show: it's superb! Instead of relying on gore, it plays the freak/suspense card á la **** meets Lynch. Loving it! Expand
  28. Oct 5, 2011
    9
    Brilliant pilot, beautiful show. Subtle, dark, and creepy. Lots of room for twisted plots and frightening character revelations. There's been a serious void in the nauseating onslaught of network premiers that American Horror Story boldly fills.
  29. Oct 5, 2011
    10
    Great! Amazing even, the plot was good, with a lot of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat (or cowering under the covers). American Horror Story makes you eagerly await the next episode, while in the mean time keeps you guessing. With TV full of crime dramas, reality shows, and cheesy sitcoms, AHS is a lovely, yet horrifying, taste of something different.
  30. Oct 6, 2011
    10
    I thought the pilot was amazing!! It is fascinating how it is pieced together through it's disjointed images and scene editing. The cast is at the top of their game and have the right material to be great with. Just like with Nip/Tuck, Murphy has a natch for writing great characters in extraordinary situations. This is one of the best pilots i've seen and i can't wait for more.
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. 80
    The show may be ridiculous, but the humiliation and panic feel real. And there's something to be said for surprise.
  2. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Oct 5, 2011
    50
    American Horror Story, from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk of "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck," is a very standard creep-fest, an aggressively stylized mash-up of familiar haunted-house movies including "The Amityville Horror," "The Haunting," and "The Shining."
  3. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Oct 5, 2011
    91
    I loved the pilot, mostly because I could never predict where the story was going, a rarity in prime-time TV.