AMERICAN HORROR STORY, last season’s delightfully macabre surprise hit on FX, has returned, completely retooled, for a second season. Gone are the infamous Murder House and its weird neighbors. In its place is an asylum called Briarcliff with its strange staff and inmates. And while some of the cast is returning, they are playing very different new roles.
But one thing has not changed: AHS’ pedal-to-the-metal, all-out weirdness at any cost philosophy of storytelling. Viewers are pummeled with intense, flashing visuals and bombarded by story details that fly, making an hour’s viewing truly exhausting to keep up with. In the debut alone, we meet the new protagonists and most of the new supporting cast, establish the new status quo and put in place the pieces for several mysteries. The teleplay is a great achievement from Tim Minear, one of the masters of TV weirdness.