Revenge of Horror TV!
By Bert Ehrmann
October 5, 2012
I have to admit that sometimes I'm a "glass half empty" kind'a guy. I let things like the current state of network TV get me down when instead I should be focusing on the positive, like some seriously great dramas that are about to premiere on cable; namely American Horror Story on FX and The Walking Dead on AMC.
Last spring I took issue with the current state of The Walking Dead. I felt that the story of the show had grown a bit stale and that things weren't progressing as I'd hoped they would. But, as I had a chance to look back on The Walking Dead over the summer and had a chance to "digest" (tee-he) the second season of the show, I came to a few conclusions: a) The Walking Dead has problems but is still a great show and b) I'm essentially ragging on a post-apocalyptic series about flesh eating ghouls that have overtaken the planet the kind of series I've spent the last decade or so dreaming about. So I've decided to cut The Walking Dead some slack and recommend it again this season.
The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors lead by Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) on a trek across a shattered and lawless southern US months after a zombie invasion has overtaken the world. The second season of the show found the group seeking refuge at a farm house that seemed to be an oasis from the dead. But this oasis was a temporary one and by the end of the season the group was fewer in number and once again on the run and trying to stay one step ahead of the zombies.
Reportedly, the third season of The Walking Dead is set to find the group of travelers holed up in a prison refuge somewhat safe from the dead. But outside lies another horror, "The Governor" (David Morrissey) who rules over a group of people who'll stop at nothing to survive even if it means destroying everything and killing everyone in their path.
American Horror Story is a different kind of horror series than The Walking Dead in both tone and story. The first season of American Horror Story dealt with the Harmon family who moved to Los Angeles looking to leave their troubles behind them back east. But they make one mistake; they buy a haunted house. Not your run of the mill "there's something in the attic and we'd better call the Ghostbusters haunted," haunted with a foreboding evil presence that can possess the living, trap the souls of the dead and causes general mayhem for anyone who's set foot inside the home.
Over the course of the show we meet several previous families/owners of the Harmon house in flashbacks, most of which have met various grizzly ends. Some of the residents lived in the house at the turn of the century while others just a few years prior. But now they mingle together as ghosts and spirits and watch the new living residents and visitors from dark corners of the home. Some of the ghosts are friendly and some are not, but they all have their own agendas and see the living as things to be used and toyed with.
What I found most interesting about the first season of American Horror Story is that towards the end of the first season of the show every episode seemed like it could have been the finale episode of the series. And each week I'd be left wondering where the creators of the show were going to go now that X character was dead or something completely unexpected had been revealed. In fact, the show ended in such a way that I wasn't sure how series creator Ryan Murphy (Glee, The New Normal) was going to do a second season of American Horror Story since the first season ending had such…finality.
In fact it seems like the first season of American Horror Story will act as a stand-alone story as the second season, dubbed Asylum, takes place in an east coast insane asylum in the 1960s. Certain actors from the first season will be back in new roles but the story of American Horror Story: Asylum will be separate from the first.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, October 14 to AMC and American Horror Story: Asylum Wednesday, October 17 to FX.