Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM (Season 6 premieres tonight!).
What: “American Horror Story,” a horror drama created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) that tells a new horror story each season while featuring recurring actors and ensemble players. This season is subtitled “Coven” and centers on a school for girls that serves as the legitimate front for a group of powerful witches.
The events of “Coven” transpire in 2013 and follow the descendants of the witches who survived the Salem Witch Trials, who are nearly extinct and are in danger once again. Those who share this lineage are being subjected to strange and violent attacks. A mysterious all-girls boarding school has opened in New Orleans to protect and house young women who possess this unique bloodline and to keep them from the dangers of the outside world. The long-absent Supreme, and most powerful witch of her generation, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange), arrives to ensure the safety of the Coven but also to fulfill her own hidden agenda. Fiona’s daughter, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), teaches at the school and welcomes its newest student, Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga), who harbors her own harrowing secret. Events reveal a long-held rivalry between the witches of Salem and the voodoo practitioners of New Orleans, as well as a historic grudge between Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) and socialite serial killer Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates). Other themes include racism, death, and family, such as the relationships between mothers and daughters. The season is set primarily in the modern day and includes flashbacks to the early 1970s, 1960s, and the 1830s.
When: Season Three aired from October 9, 2013, to January 29, 2014, on FX.
Where: Each season focuses on a different locale. This season, the action is set largely in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Why: Nick and Sarah, two CPU! regulars, proposed that CPU! publish an American Horror Story podcast series, being big fans of the show, and your Chief CP, who has previously covered this program on the CPU! blog and enjoys the show quite a bit, agreed wholeheartedly to the idea. Thus, welcome to our new CPU! series revolving around AHS, with each episode in the series focusing on one season of the show. The series will start at the beginning and will be ongoing as long as AHS stays on the air!
How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!
American Horror Story is a groundbreaking horror anthology series that airs on FX. Not only did this program render the horror genre mainstream television fare, it also propelled anthology formats to popularity. The show is widely watched and a tent pole for FX, becoming a Halloween/fall-time cable staple of disturbing imagery and grotesque scares.
Two of CPU!’s frequent panelists, and one of our resident married couples, Nick and Sarah, are big fans of the show and, as noted above, proposed that CPU! start a series discussing AHS throughout its seasons. We have already published our first episode in this series, discussing the first season of AHS, widely known as “Murder House,” and the second episode discussing the second season, “Asylum.” Listen here:
American Horror Story Series, Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”
American Horror Story Series, Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”
In addition, CPU! Chief Kylie previously reviewed and recapped the third season fully after its initial airing. You can read that entry here.
In today’s episode, the third episode of this series, we cover Season Three, “Coven.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel; this episode is moderated by none other than Sarah!
As we progress through this series, we will cover all aired seasons, from “Murder House” to “Hotel,” and continue the series as long as new seasons of the show are created. After all, though common cast members may return from season to season, the season story arcs are always, by design, different, and CPU! is nothing if not thorough when it comes to TV adulation! In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Coven” season and our general impressions of the season’s success.
This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Coven” season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we will pause our American Horror Story series until October, as we return to some Water Cooler entries for the following two (or so) weeks. In the next episode, we will introduce a new Water Cooler panel discussing The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals. Stay tuned!
American Horror Story is recommended to anyone who loves horror, to fans of Jessica Lange, and to fans of any of the AHS repertory of repeat players. As we discuss in the podcast, the panel universally liked the “Coven” season relative to other seasons (some liked “Murder House” more), even though online opinion polls were not as kind to “Coven,” comparatively, as well-researched moderator Sarah notes. American Horror Story is groundbreaking for its successful use of the anthology format, though its horror premises are not necessarily boundary pushing; indeed, most if not all of the seasons pay significant homage to horror films of yesteryear, but the panelists regard this quality as part of the show’s charm. If you haven’t yet caught up on AHS and have a hearty stomach for the gruesome and grisly, the entire series is available at all of the streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Horror genre fans who seek more scares on TV would be remiss to miss this show!
Our next episode in this series will cover season four, “Freak Show,” and will be published in October 2016. Stay tuned!