• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 713 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 713

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  1. Dec 12, 2011
    10
    Where do I even begin to describe this terrific series? Each week the suspense is turned up another notch, which forces to bring the viewers back. It is one of the rare horror series to actually work on television, and it is done perfectly. Just when you think you know what is going on, another shocking secret is spilled. American Horror Story is one of the best new series of the year.Where do I even begin to describe this terrific series? Each week the suspense is turned up another notch, which forces to bring the viewers back. It is one of the rare horror series to actually work on television, and it is done perfectly. Just when you think you know what is going on, another shocking secret is spilled. American Horror Story is one of the best new series of the year. And will someone please give Jessica Lange an Emmy nomination for her work on this show!? Expand
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. Feb 22, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. American Horror Story is one of the hottest shows on television, but it's origins may surprise you. This innovate, unique drama, has similarities to several different shows, but most closely resembles Tales From The Crypt. Unlike Tales, the American horror stories each last one season instead of one episode. From season to season the story changes as does much of the cast, but one thing remains constant, it has some of the smartest and most daring people behind it. You may know the creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, as the guys who brought you Glee, but American Horror Story couldn't be more different. In this series they show a dark twisted side that they could never get away with on network television. As I said the story changes from season to season, so I can't really do a review of the series, but I can tell you about season one. The first season of American Horror Story introduces us to Los Angeles's famous murder house, which since it's creation, ninety years ago, has known nothing but death and heartache. The house is purchased by Dr. Ben Harmon, who knows nothing of the houses history. Dr. Harmon is moving his family across the country to give them a second chance after mistakes and personal tragedies. The story is gripping and easy to follow, but what I liked more were the flashbacks that told the history of the house and explain all the weird stuff that's happening. While the cast features some very experienced, award winning actors, it's a combination of Jessica Lange and Evan Peters who makes this show what it is. Lange is a veteran actress known more for her roles on the big screen, while Peters only just made an impression on me a couple of years ago in the film Clipping Adam. Their unique yet different styles and personalities are the reason this weird show works. In the same way they are able to connect with every character in the show, they are also able to connect with every member of the audience, and that's why they are two of the three cast members who are back for the new story, Asylum. American Horror Story is not like any other show you've seen on television, in fact, I'm pretty surprised they are able to get away with some of the stuff they are doing. It's hard to find a good TV show based on the Horror genre and when you do it's usually a lame comedy. Shows like the Munsters and the Addams Family are legendary, while shows like Harsh Realm and Freaky Links just fizzled out. American Horror Story is different though, as it's innovative and pushes the limits of what you can do on television. It's a show that is most definitely not for everyone, but if you're a fan of the unusual and tired of things like Twilight and The Walking Dead, that go absolutely nowhere, check out American Horror Story, you should be pleasantly surprised. Expand
  7. Jan 14, 2013
    6
    It's a good show but the last 2 episodes are rather boring and the ending was just awful. The entire build up all season and for such an anti-climatic ending really sucks.
  8. Oct 21, 2013
    5
    For the first few episodes this show seems good. It starts, some weird stuff happens, and then its ends. That's all it is, but it's somehow good. However, after a few episodes the novelty wares off and the fact that nothing actually happens makes it boring. It does have a story but it's too slow paced, instead focusing on random creepy things happening and trying to use the music and toneFor the first few episodes this show seems good. It starts, some weird stuff happens, and then its ends. That's all it is, but it's somehow good. However, after a few episodes the novelty wares off and the fact that nothing actually happens makes it boring. It does have a story but it's too slow paced, instead focusing on random creepy things happening and trying to use the music and tone to make ordinary things seem disturbing. Expand
  9. Apr 28, 2012
    9
    American Horror Story is a wonderfully bizarre and brilliantly acted horror anthology that is filled with twists and turns and shocks, and will keep you hooked from start to finish. This is by far Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's best work they have created. I can't wait for season 2.
  10. Oct 23, 2012
    5
    I'm no stranger to movies, shows and videogames that take a lot of analysis to fully appreciate, but I can't fully wrap my brain around this one. Not every story needs to resolve perfectly, but at the end of this story I didn't feel like I knew much more than I did at the beginning. It was more of a mashup of little horror stories that they tried to pile into one canon, one house even, andI'm no stranger to movies, shows and videogames that take a lot of analysis to fully appreciate, but I can't fully wrap my brain around this one. Not every story needs to resolve perfectly, but at the end of this story I didn't feel like I knew much more than I did at the beginning. It was more of a mashup of little horror stories that they tried to pile into one canon, one house even, and it just didn't work for me. There was no solid direction nor point, tons of characters that didn't bring anything important to the plot except to add yet another unnecessary layer to the already mile-high stack of them, and if that's not enough the majority of the characters are two faced and change motives at random just to throw the audience off. I didn't think it was all bad, as it did have some glorious moments and clever scenes... but I'm not sure if I'll be checking out season 2. I didn't hate it, just feel kind of indifferent. Expand
  11. Jan 9, 2015
    7
    Season 1 is one of my favorites. It's dark, it's witty, it actually feels like a show revolving around horror. It may be a giant mess of cliches that doesn't know what direction to go in, but this season is one of the most approachable and easiest to digest.
  12. Dec 26, 2012
    10
    Definitely keeps you guessing the entire time! The plot is fantastic and keeps you wanting more after every episode. The twist at the end is hard to see coming.
  13. Jan 3, 2013
    6
    The first season of American Horror story caught me by surprise. This is the first show of it's kind that I have seen. I have long been a fan of the horror genre, but have failed to find anything of it on the small screen that looked appealing. So when I heard of it on Facebook I didn't wait a second longer than I needed to.-

    -After watching the first few episodes, I was genuinely
    The first season of American Horror story caught me by surprise. This is the first show of it's kind that I have seen. I have long been a fan of the horror genre, but have failed to find anything of it on the small screen that looked appealing. So when I heard of it on Facebook I didn't wait a second longer than I needed to.-

    -After watching the first few episodes, I was genuinely scared, not shocked by something jumping about, but actually frightened inside. The atmosphere was spot on, but what really drove it were the characters and mysteries. Unfortunately, for the story to move forward it was required to be less scary. What I mean when I say this is that the mysteries and spooky things needed to be solved and explained. The way that they were solved and explained were truly great, but unfortunately for the genre of the show, the explained is not scary. True fear lies in the unexplained.-

    -Is this to say that the show was bad in it's later episodes? The characters were evolving, the plot was moving, and threads were being tied. The show was doing the right thing. However, this is a horror show, with the very word being the second in the title. Because of this drop of fear the show did lessen in quality. But do not take that to say that the show got bad. It got less good, but never fell into bad.-

    -After stories lose their starting fear, they usually rely on the 'fear of the situation'. The second season of this show has that down to an art form, but in this first season I feel little or no fear in the situation. The only time I felt this fear was in the second to last episode, where in the big plot twist occurred.-

    -The first season of American horror story was not bad, on the contrary it was quite good. It started with a lot of momentum, but even after losing that momentum it remained a great and memorable show. If I had to pick the best things from the show it would have to be Jessica Lange, who gave a stellar performance, and the opening music/intro. Wow, the opening music and intro. No matter how many times I hear it, it gives me chills.-
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  14. Jul 23, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Just watched in on Netflix and after the 3rd episode I had to write a friend, "1st one sets it up, 2nd one explains it and the 3rd one goes down!" Was so excited, should've known I was jinxing it.

    1st off, how in the hell can a gay man write a story that is so blatantly and homophobic? Why is it EVERY Hollywood gay couple on TV requires one man must be a complete flamer? And to top that off, the gay couple is the ONLY home owners murdered by anyone but their family, much less having a poker shoved up your ass. I was blown away. The most obnoxious anti-gay scene I've ever seen on TV was written by a gay man. F'you Ryan Murphy.

    2ndly, you could totally tell they had NO idea of where this story was going with most of the characters. There were so many plot holes, so many aspects that weren't cohesive and so many characters acting out of character.

    Sorry, but this show, while still excellent for what's on prime time these days, was a huge disappointment since it seemed to be setting itself up to be one of the best shows in a long, long time.

    The only comparison I can come up with is the first couple of season of The Walking Dead. At least TWD had consistent story telling.
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  15. Dec 8, 2014
    2
    This show is a disgrace. The whole thing is like a horror-themed episode of Glee or something. Obviously a vehicle for pushing gay/civil rights agendas, completely tame "horror," and laughably bad dialogue and idiot plots out the wazoo. Sometimes I put it on in the room for emergency laughs. If anyone seriously likes this show then they are most likely teenaged, homosexual, female, dumb,This show is a disgrace. The whole thing is like a horror-themed episode of Glee or something. Obviously a vehicle for pushing gay/civil rights agendas, completely tame "horror," and laughably bad dialogue and idiot plots out the wazoo. Sometimes I put it on in the room for emergency laughs. If anyone seriously likes this show then they are most likely teenaged, homosexual, female, dumb, or some combination. I give it a 2 because some of the shots are pretty decent, though many are also botched. Expand
  16. Jan 7, 2014
    5
    Dark Shadows and Once upon a Time had a baby and they called it-American Horror Story.
    I can't believe that people prefer this Programme over Walking Dead or Grimm, The pilot clip plus the Home invasion were good starts but the rest of the season was mediocre with things and scenes done before in other shows or even on the Big Screen. Now, Coven-S.3-(Different rate) is far superior
    Dark Shadows and Once upon a Time had a baby and they called it-American Horror Story.
    I can't believe that people prefer this Programme over Walking Dead or Grimm, The pilot clip plus the Home invasion were good starts but the rest of the season was mediocre with things and scenes done before in other shows or even on the Big Screen. Now, Coven-S.3-(Different rate) is far superior than S.1- having several powerful female characters incl. Angela Basset who does a great performance as the Voodoo Queen. Ok Topics touched on the shows are the Basic things Americans and their Idiosyncrasy can't get over with (e.g) Racism, Nazism,Slavery,Satanism (Well Witchcraft) lunacy, so, and so.etc
    Still I can't comprehend the recent BUZZ over this T.V. show
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  17. Oct 31, 2014
    5
    Honestly the only season that was worth watching was 'Murder House' and 'Asylum'. The story is not as freaky as expected. Only 3 episodes this season, hope the rest are worth watching.
  18. 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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  19. Oct 6, 2011
    10
    This show did a good job at keeping viewers wanting more. Other than the show "Supernatural", this is the only show with a horror theme on basic cable. The Pilot is one of the best I've seen the fall season so far. This show is an example why well written shows and good actors makes for great television.
  20. Dec 10, 2011
    9
    This is by far the most entertaining show in years. It's scares are genuine and not forced, it's well written and masterfully executed by an amazing cast. Watch this show!
  21. Oct 28, 2011
    10
    Probably the ONLY good horror show on tv. I loved the pilot and am literally counting the hours until the next episode airs. If you get a kick out of horror this show is definitely for you. Even if you're not into horror you might still appreciate how well written the storyline is. Do check it out, its different from anything out there.
  22. Nov 18, 2011
    10
    This is like a mix between Twin Peaks, The Sixth Sence, Amityville, Poltergeist, The Others, The Shining and many many other great Horror classics. Its a well thought out show with some of the best acting on TV. Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy are just spectacular!
  23. Nov 18, 2011
    10
    Amazing show, the best, most original show of the whole season, absolutely in love with this show and Jessica Lange should be getting her Emmy any day now. If you like Horror, suspense and drama this is the show for you! Two thumbs up!
  24. Nov 28, 2011
    10
    really good. Not very scary but i really like it and strongly recommend it
  25. Nov 20, 2014
    0
    Holy **** this season is awful. It's American HORROR Story. Not American Musical Story. Least scary season and I thought Coven was awful. I'm really going to stop watching this. This season has SO much potential to be scary.
  26. 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
  27. 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?".
  28. 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
  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 30, 2011
    9
    Compelling. You can try as hard as you want to turn off that television set but it's just too good. The pure genius of it is enticing and mesmerizing. Ryan Murphy played his cards brilliantly with this one. The concept and development of each episode is sheer phenomenon. The actors/characters to the plot of the story were spot on! Murphy serves us a mixture of suspense, terror and aCompelling. You can try as hard as you want to turn off that television set but it's just too good. The pure genius of it is enticing and mesmerizing. Ryan Murphy played his cards brilliantly with this one. The concept and development of each episode is sheer phenomenon. The actors/characters to the plot of the story were spot on! Murphy serves us a mixture of suspense, terror and a risqué feel to it. Absolutely a MUST SEE. Broken barriers and way out there. Now that's good TV. Expand
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.