American Horror Story: Roanoke

6 Dec 2016

I jumped on the American Horror Story bandwagon much later than everyone else. I used to be an absolute wimp when it came to scary stuff, and I was convinced that AHS gave me nightmares. But now, I'd consider it one of my favourite programmes! I just love all the actors, the sets and the stories, so when I heard that season 6 was coming, I was super excited. I'd been disappointed by Hotel and I still haven't actually finished that season because I found it really boring. I was hoping for something that would capture my attention a little more, and I certainly got it in the form of Roanoke (is that what it's called? Or is it My Roanoke Nightmare?) I'll try not to be too spoiler-y, but if you haven't watched this season, it's probably best if you don't read on.

We were teased by the producers for what felt like an eternity with those little trailers and images that they posted all over social media. Really though, if anyone sees a connection between those trailers and Roanoke, please let me know. I'd thought that they might be doing something with classic horrors, but it really wasn't like that at all. What we got was another haunted house, lots of blood and disturbing events. Like so much blood. Don't watch it if you're squeamish.
What I loved about this season of AHS was that the producers tried something new. From the first episode, you could tell that they were going for a show-within-a-show concept, and I think it worked really well. The first half of the series followed the story of a young couple that buy a gorgeous old farmhouse (though they don't question why it's so cheap or why the only other bidders were a family of hillbillies) and the haunting events that ensue in a documentary form, with Lily Rabe and Andre Holland as the real Shelby and Matt, and Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr as the dramatised versions. Then the second half was 'Return To Roanoke,' a reality TV show where the stars from the documentary go back to the house. There are also several other shows included towards the end, which got a little chaotic, but it sort of worked! I loved the idea and it was so different from the formats of all the other seasons of AHS. I know some people hated it, but for me, it worked.

The story though, didn't really work for me. Yes, it was actually scary where other seasons hadn't been that scary at all. But it was just a lot of running around, people dying and Sarah Paulson saying "oh my god." No one tried to get away from the house, and I couldn't understand why. I get that we were learning more about the past and the people that lived there, but I just had no idea what was going on half the time. With Freak Show, my absolute fave season, I felt that there was structure and a story that could be followed relatively easily, but with Roanoke, it was kind of like all the producers had sat down together and mashed everything together into one. There were parts of the story I liked, but a lot of it, I didn't.
The ending completely divided people, and I won't say why, but just know that it tied a lot of the seasons together. There were references that made a lot of people question whether or not AHS is an anthology series after all. Some people hated it, and some people loved it. I'm a little bit on the fence, if I'm honest. I quite like the fact that every season is different and in no way linked to the last. It makes new seasons more exciting, and it means that you have closure (sometimes) at the end. But tying the seasons together was something that no one expected, and it was a little bit of a shock to the system, which is what made it great. We don't watch AHS to have our hearts warmed - we watch it to be shocked. I don't think it means that the series will change and have every season linked, I just think that the producers were experimenting a little and liked what they'd done.

Let me just talk about actors for a sec. Again, there was no Jessica Lange, which is SO disappointing because I'm missing her. I can't be the only one. We barely saw anything of Evan Peters, and the same goes for Lady Gaga. I thought she was great in what I saw of Hotel, and I was excited when I found out she was in Roanoke, but my goodness, her total screen time must've added up to about 15 minutes! I'd love to see her become a regular cast member so that she can really show her potential. But a lot of the cast that had more screen time were great. I was slightly obsessed with Kathy Bates' odd Yorkshire-esque accent, and just Angela Bassett in general.

Lastly, the theme tune, where was it?

So those are my thoughts on the most recent season of AHS. While it wasn't my favourite, I did enjoy it, however, it needed more substance to its story and more screen time for some of the cast. I would love to see the producers do some more experimental stuff, like the show-within-a-show, because I think that's what kept me hooked. I'd love to know your thoughts!

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