• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 5, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
American Horror Story Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 568 Ratings

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  • Summary: After a miscarriage and nearly breaking up, Ben and Vivien Harmon (Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton) move from Boston to Los Angeles with their daughter to start a new life in a house with an eerie past.
  • Genre(s): Horror
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Oct 5, 2011
    I loved the pilot, mostly because I could never predict where the story was going, a rarity in prime-time TV.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 30, 2011
    It's funny and moves blindingly fast, barely giving you time to blink or gulp--Dark Shadows for the PlayStation age. [10 Oct 2011, p.39]
  3. 80
    The show may be ridiculous, but the humiliation and panic feel real. And there's something to be said for surprise.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 5, 2011
    The hot mess of American Horror Story is berserk to a fault, though it does have an unnerving originality compelling us to watch while we cringe, or perhaps smirk.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Oct 5, 2011
    Viewers who like the horror genre and the offbeat Murphy/Falchuk approach, and who are willing to put in enough serious time to absorb all the nuances, will fall in love.
  6. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Oct 5, 2011
    It's fun to look at, but there's not a lot of substance underneath.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Oct 4, 2011
    It doesn't work as a character drama and it's tiresome more often than it's freakily scary.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 93 out of 111
  2. Negative: 5 out of 111
  1. Dec 29, 2011
    This is a rare show that sticks with you long after you've seen it. Not only is the story brilliantly written, each episode is directed and produced with a team that really believes in their story. Everything is polished! Even the actors and actresses are top-notch! I'm partially sad that the series is getting a reboot next season only because I loved the characters in this season. Though, it's true, this seasons' story arc has been told and would only dilute a perfect ending if they were to continue it. Expand
  2. Apr 22, 2014
    American Horror Story is like a box of surprises, where you think you know what direction it will take, but is surprised by what really goes on. A mix of horror, suspense, an intelligent touch of humor and exaggeration that makes it special and worthy of being assisted. Expand
  3. Oct 6, 2011
    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. Collapse
  4. Sep 28, 2012
    Being very bored and desperate for something even remotely entertaining to watch, I came across this series on the Internet and aside from my initial 'what an awful name for a show' thought, decided to give it a try. All I can say is that this is such a brilliant series. I love the acting, the plot is elaborate yet understandable and well thought out, the characters are solid and the structure of the episodes are both engaging and original. I love films but generally don't enjoy TV shows/series but this had me hooked after the first episode and I watched every single one in the space of two days. Really, really impressed and definitely worth a watch. Expand
  5. Nov 7, 2013
    Sometimes I find the show too graphic and disturbing, but the storyline and writing keeps it interesting. It also certainly helps to have such stellar actors such as Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates (though I think Bates' character doesn't equal her talent). Expand
  6. Mar 13, 2014
    A decent enough show and far more entertaining than I had first thought it would be.

    I really did like the whole psychological horror angle
    with a touch of the supernatural. Not relying on CG and effect and focusing more on clever writing. However, it perhaps under plays this a bit too much fir the first half of the season and to be honest, I found it very boring at first. But from the second half onwards the show seemed to find its rhythm.

    Decent enough performances from most of the cast, especially from Evan Peters and Jessica Lang who really steal the show.

    While I wasn't completely blown away by the first season, I will continue to watch the show hoping they improve.

    Side Note:
    If they are going to make a horror story around ghosts, they shouldn't be afraid to make them act a bit more ghost like. (The last few episodes, they seemed to get it, but for most of the earlier part of the show it felt a little cheap.) There isn't any harm in a little CG, if used sparingly and at the right moments.
  7. Oct 9, 2014
    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 that awful German accent she is using. Expand

See all 111 User Reviews

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