Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM.
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 “Hotel” and centers on the staff and guests of a supernatural hotel in modern day Los Angeles.
The events of “Hotel” occur in 2015 in Los Angeles, California, in the haunted, retro Hotel Cortez, which was built to become a torture chamber by its founder, James Patrick March (Evan Peters). The wardens of the hotel include the 111 year old vampire, Elizabeth Johnson (Lady Gaga), and the front desk clerk and manager, Iris (Kathy Bates). The residents and guests include a drug addicted prostitute and ghost named Sally McKenna (Sarah Paulson); Iris’ hateful son and former drug addict turned vampire lover of Elizabeth, Donovan (Matt Bomer); transgender bartender Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare); actress and vengeful former lover of Elizabeth, Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett); male model heartthrob and murder addict, Tristan Duffy (Finn Wittrock); New York fashion designer Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson); and the suspicious detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) and his depressed wife Alex (Chloë Sevigny). When Lowe checks into the hotel, he does not know that he is being targeted by a serial murderer, the Ten Commandments Killer. Flashbacks are set in the 1920s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with an epilogue set in 2022.
When: Season Five aired from October 7, 2015, to January 13, 2016, on FX.
Where: Each season focuses on a different locale. This season, the action is set largely in Los Angeles, California.
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, chatting the first season of AHS, widely known as “Murder House;” the second episode discussing the second season, “Asylum;” the third episode discussing the third season, “Coven;” and the fourth episode discussing the fourth season, “Freak Show.” Listen here:
American Horror Story Series, Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”
American Horror Story Series, Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”
American Horror Story Series, Episode 3, Season 3, “Coven”
American Horror Story Series, Episode 4, Season 4, “Freak Show”
In today’s episode, the fifth episode of this series, we cover Season Five, “Hotel.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel; Nick is back at the moderating mic to talk this fifth season.
As of the publication of this post/episode, CPU! has covered all aired seasons, from “Murder House” to “Hotel,” and will, from here on out, continue to cover the AHS 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 “Hotel” season and our general impressions of the season’s success.
This podcast was recorded in November 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Hotel” 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 again until after the new year. In the next episode, we resume our DC Television Universe series when our DCTU panel discusses the first season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which was not as universally popular as some of the other shows and seasons discussed by that panel. Intrigue! Stay tuned!
American Horror Story is recommended to anyone who loves horror and to fans of any of the AHS repertory of repeat players, though fans of Jessica Lange might start to lose interest in AHS as of the “Hotel” season because Ms. Lange was no longer part of the cast for that season forward and has publicly indicated that she is no longer willing to appear on this program. As we discuss in the podcast, the panel provides mixed reviews about the “Hotel” season relative to other seasons; Kylie likes it less than “Asylum,” Nick likes it better than “Freak Show,” and Sarah, perhaps, likes “Hotel” better than Kylie and Nick do. 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 six, the current season, which is subtitled “Roanoke.” This episode will be published after the new year. Stay tuned!