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 “Roanoke;” is set in Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the year 2016; and focuses upon paranormal events that occur at an isolated farmhouse.
In 2015, Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe), her husband Matt Miller (André Holland), and Matt’s sister Lee Harris (Adina Porter) appear on a documentary called My Roanoke Nightmare to recount a series of supernatural events that happened to them after Shelby and Matt relocated from Los Angeles to North Carolina following a miscarriage. In love with the country surrounding the farmhouse in question, they buy it at auction, but after they move in, the family has a terrifying experience, as their house is on land where the original Roanoke Colony allegedly moved after its famous disappearance, led by witch Scathach; Thomasin White, known as The Butcher; and her followers. Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson) is the actress who portrays Shelby during the reenactment sections of My Roanoke Nightmare, while Dominic Banks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett) portray Matt and Lee, respectively. The Butcher is played by Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates); her son, Ambrose White, by Dylan (Wes Bentley); and the founder of the house, Edward Philippe Mott, by Rory Monahan (Evan Peters). Elias Cunningham, the previous owner of the house, is portrayed by William van Henderson (Denis O’Hare) and Scathach by an unknown actress (Lady Gaga).
In 2016, after the huge success of My Roanoke Nightmare, the producer of the series, Sidney Aaron James (Cheyenne Jackson), decides to give life to a second season of the series: Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell, bringing back to the house the Millers and the actors who re-enacted the experiences of the family. The “Roanoke” season primarily spans 2015 and 2016, with dramatized flashbacks, via the My Roanoke Nightmare documentary, set in the 1500s, 1700’s, and 1990’s and an epilogue set in the near future.
When: Season Six aired from September 14, 2016, to November 16, 2016, on FX.
Where: Each season focuses on a different locale. This season, the action is set largely in Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
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 started 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;” the fourth episode discussing the fourth season, “Freak Show;” and the fifth episode discussing the fifth season, “Hotel.” 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”
American Horror Story Series, Episode 5, Season 5, “Hotel”
In today’s episode, the sixth episode of this series, we cover Season Six, “Roanoke.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel; Sarah is back at the moderating mic to talk this sixth season. In addition, we have opened up the panel to include other panelists, as it was announced that FX renewed American Horror Story for an additional three seasons, through Season Nine! Thus, in this “Roanoke” chapter, newly addicted CPU! panelist Emily joins the ranks as does a brand new CPU! panelist – Kallie!
In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Roanoke” season and our general impressions of the season’s success. I should warn you, gentle listener, that we experienced some technical difficulties during the recording of this episode – we were able to save much of the conversation, but even with my best editing skills behind me, there are a couple of funny spots. Most of the conversation is preserved, though, and we just chalked it all up to being haunted by Scathach, the Witch of the Wood. STOP HAUNTING US, WITCH! We recorded three other episodes in the same week without incident. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
Read on beyond the episode link below for some explanatory information and bonus content! Because we refuse to let the Witch of the Wood get us down!
This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Roanoke” 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, our “Full/er House Series” panel returns, somewhat slimmer but always enthusiastic, to break down the Fuller goings-on of the show’s second season. Stay tuned!
Unfortunately, the Witch of the Wood created so much havoc, we have to – I mean are happy to! – print some bonus content. Fortunately, the episode is mostly preserved, as is the gist of what we were saying, and fortunately, we love that we have grown up enough to think of bonus content to share with you lovely listeners, so, without further adieu, um…”Bonus Content!” Yay!! Bonus!
The Standard CPU! Character Question that Changes with Each Show We Do
As we discuss the character breakdown, the panelists identified thus, despite the audio hiccups…which are edited out, but then so is some of that portion of the discussion (listen to the podcast episode for the full description):
Nick: “All the good ones.”
Kallie: “All the good ones” and “Scathach!” (I’m pretty sure that latter was for Sarah’s benefit)
Emily: “All the good ones”
Sarah: Matt (he was not good)
Grand Rapids, Michigan – Secret Murder Capital of the World?
At the end of the episode, Emily talks about the two sister nurse ghosts/serial killers in the “Roanoke” season, who murder patients with first letters of first names corresponding to each letter of the word “Murder” but who die (and become ghosts trapped on the land) before they can achieve the last “r.” She references the fact that the two nurses are based upon two real life serial killers, “The Lethal Lovers,” from CPU!’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan (!), lesbian lovers who committed murders using names and the letters of the word “Murder,” just like in the show, but in some form of romantic testament to each other. Mainstream pop culture news picked up this story as the AHS season broke (links posted below) – as it turns out, though, Emily’s grandmother drove these women home from work, where they all worked together, around the time of their killing sprees!! One is currently housed in a Michigan correctional facility, and one is in federal prison in Florida. Below is some additional linkage information, and we may explore this topic further in a future episode of CPU!, given its hometown associations (maybe our recording was being haunted by the victims of these people! Yikes!).
Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, Wikipedia
The Huffington Post
New York Times, December 6, 1988 (The Original News Story)
Our next episode in this series will cover Season Seven, though the release date and “subtitle” have not been released as of the time of the publication of this post. What we do know about the seventh season is that it will be closely related to the 2016 United States Presidential Election, a true horror show that, in some ways, we are still living through, even as we speak… Thus, our AHS panel will return sometime after the Season 7 finale and then, again, after Seasons 8 and 9, since the horror anthology season has guaranteed longevity for three more seasons. Stay tuned!