Sarah Paulson, as re-enactment Shelby.
American Horror Story fans do not take season premieres lightly, or anything AHS-related for that matter. If you don't believe me, check out the frenzy Patti LaBelle caused on Freak Show.
The past five themes of AHS were all heavily speculated on and discussed in the niche community, and season six was no exception.
After a summer of seemingly unrelated campaign images hinting at the possible theme and last nights’ premiere, we still aren’t really sure what’s going on.
The episode opened with a 'based on true events' subtitle, and it was unclear if season six itself is based on true events, or if the show within the show is supposed to be based on true events. Confusing, right? Before cutting to commercial, a logo reading “My Roanoke Nightmare” appears. It looks like that’s the name of the show within season six, and today the show officially confirmed the season name to be "Roanoke".
The format of episode one of season six was like nothing fans have seen before on the series. It appears that the two main characters, played by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr., are starring in what looks like a documentary of their horrific experience living in a 17th century house in Roanoke, North Carolina.
Side note: The pair also starred in Ryan Murphy’s other series, American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Their pairing is almost certainly not a coincidence, but rather a nod and wink to the cousin series as well as Murphy’s commentary on interracial marriage. (This episode also talks about hate crimes, i.e., the couple believes they're being harassed by townies rather than being haunted by vengeful spirits.)
The apparent changes in the show's format have sparked a firestorm of discussion on social media platforms like Twitter:
This new format messes with several key elements of AHS, the most important perhaps being that the stakes are significantly lower: we have proof of the characters’ survival because they are narrating the show.
Not too scary @RyanMurphy.
Other fan complaints included the absence of cast favorites Evan Peters, Emma Roberts, Finn Wittrock, and of course, Lady Gaga. Where the hell are they hiding?! (Psst: they should be in episode two.)
But, there is hope for the season. The preview for next week showed Kathy Bates dressed as a creepy colonist, and depicted what looked like Satanic rituals and sacrifice… which looks worth watching. Despite the stylistic story-telling changes, AHS managed to succeed in grabbing our attention and leaving us confused enough to tune in next week.
What do you think? Is AHS taking a turn for the weird or are we all just too stupid to recognize pure genius? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter.