The first season of "American Horror Story" blew me away. I've watched that entire season about five times now. The mixture of genuinely disturbing subject matter, kinky sex, and ridiculous camp made it one of the best television events ever. I haven't been that dedicated to a series in quite some time. And, let's face it, the presence of Jessica Lange makes everything ten times better than it has any right to be. Every single actor on this show goes above and beyond, delivering Emmy worthy performances - to name a few: Queen Jessica, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Zachary Quinto, Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Frances Conroy, and the lovely Jamie Brewer.
The first season is ripe with drama and terror. The Harmon family won us over from the first episode, even though McDermott's Ben is a cheating asshole. You can't help but love him and hate him, but you know from the get-go that his wife, Vivian, is the kind of strong-willed liberal super-feminist mama that's not going to put up with it - and that makes it all okay. Daughter Violet's not-so-innocent fascination with the creepy-yet-sympathetic Tate really keeps you on your toes. Zachary Quinto is unforgettable as "Hallow-queen", Chad. And then, there's Jessica. Queen Jessica Lange, in all of her glory, acting the hell out of one of the meatiest, bitchiest roles of her career. She is a revelation. She almost single-handedly carries the show due to her strong performance. This is not scenery chewing -- every single performance is equally strong, and Lange knows better than to overshadow the rest.
There are so many deliciously evil sub-plots centered around the Harmon's new abode, the cleverly nick-named, "Murder House". I can't possibly go into all of them here, but I will say, this is one of the richest "haunted house" experiences you're ever going to have by way of a television series. And the fact that this show comes on FX is a good thing, because this is envelope-pushing stuff. The mythology and history surrounding this particular house has been meticulously detailed and really draws you in to the world that Ryan Murphy has created.
Okay, so maybe the title of this post is pushing it a little...but, either way, you have to admit that this show is incredible. Sure, it's a tad cliche, but it's precisely how those cliches and horror tropes are reinvented on the series that makes all of that otherwise cloying familiarity absolutely forgivable.
Seasons 2 and 3 have their charms, and I will explore them later, but the first season of "American Horror Story" will always have a special place in my heart. If you have not seen it yet, do yourself a favor: go to Netflix right now and remedy that!