Now Reading: The Definitive Ranking of Every American Horror Story Season


The Definitive Ranking of Every American Horror Story Season

September 1, 20187 min read

In celebration of American Horror Story: Apocalypse (the epic crossover event of Coven and Murder House), I’ve decided to officially rank every season of American Horror Story in order from worst to best. Once Apocalypse wraps, let’s see where it’ll land on this list!


Image: Wikipedia

#7. American Horror Story: Freak Show

This ranking will probably cause the least amount of debate. While Freak Show gifted us the terrifyingly iconic Twisty the Clown, the overwhelming amount of subplots and the poorly fleshed out characters left much more to be desired from this season. This is probably my favorite role Jessica Lange has played in this series and who can forget that breathtaking performance of Lana Del Rey’s “Gods and Monsters”? Freak Show had the potential to be much stronger. The concept was a gold mine for a horror series, but Ryan Murphy seemed to have buckled under the weight of the freak show tent.


#6. American Horror Story: Roanoke

The story of the lost colony of Roanoke is one that I’ve been obsessed with for as long as I can remember. So, when this season was announced, my expectations were very high. The season commenced extremely well. Cuba Gooding Jr. was a welcome addition to the cast and Sarah Paulson, Adina Porter, and Kathy Bates gave excellent performances. If it were not for the heinous twist on the second half of this season, Roanoke would easily be in the top three. Unfortunately, the second half of the season was unspeakably banal and melodramatic. This season will always score well simply because it’s a true American horror story.



#5. American Horror Story: Hotel

This season wasn’t awful, it was just kind of boring. Personally, I don’t feel that the plot went anywhere and there was nothing really worth remembering. Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters gave fantastic performances, but Lady Gaga’s wooden acting stole the show for all the wrong reasons. Maybe she’s improved for A Star Is Born, because her acting on Hotel was not great at all. Overall, Hotel was pretty forgettable, but it didn’t have moments that were nearly as bad as Freak Show or Roanoke.



#4. American Horror Story: Murder House

The debut season of American Horror Story was also one of its best. With a cast like Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Evan Peters, and Jessica Lange and a plot that included the Antichrist and teenage romance, this was bound to be incredible. Of course, nostalgia will make this season seem stronger than it was, but the fact remains that the emphasis of legitimate horror in this season should be rewarded. Nevertheless, sometimes the season felt like one massive trial run. Would the show be character driven or horror-centric? How many elements of horror is overkill? Are we sticking to the traditional hallmarks of the horror genre or doing something completely bizarre and never-been-done-before? Overall the season was pretty good and great launching pad for what American Horror Story would evolve to become.



#3. American Horror Story: Coven

There’s a certain demographic that adores this season. While I think this season had some of the best writing and set design out of the entire anthology, it wasn’t exactly scary. Sure, we had zombies and witches, but Coven relied heavily on comedy to shine. Coven was a peculiar horror season that did not necessarily rely on traditional horror. Nevertheless, Coven was a very strong season. Emma Roberts, Lily Rabe, Gabourey Sibdie, and Angela Basset gave memorable performances, and who can resist a Stevie Nicks cameo?!


#2. American Horror Story: Cult

Yes, you read that correctly. Although Cult is the most recent installment into Ryan Murphy’s horror anthology, it easily trumps a number of other seasons. First off, the nuanced performances of Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson were absolutely incredible. The psychological horror and phobia-driven terror of the season played perfectly with the concept of famous cults and the 2016 Presidential Election. The direction in this season was especially great and the season was extremely scary. Most importantly Cult put the series back on track. After the lackluster Hotel and Roanoke and the wreck that was Freak Show, Murphy needed a season that would deliver what made viewers initially fall in love with American Horror Story.



#1. American Horror Story: Asylum

It was close, but Asylum is the best season of American Horror Story. Simply put, Asylum was undoubtedly terrifying and the cast worked incredibly well together. Asylum feels as if Murphy and Co. figured out what they wanted out of the show and what viewers were drawn to. This season was the perfect mixture of horror, sex, romance, action, comedy, and music. Sure, the finale is a bit left-field, but that decision fits is what makes Asylum so good. Asylum follows a formula by not following a formula. Its spontaneity and willingness to change on the whim of a character’s decision is what kept viewers on edge.

Asylum was excellent T.V., let’s see if Apocalypse can follow in its footsteps.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs Wednesdays nights on FX.


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Kyle Denis

I'm a 17-year-old student from Brooklyn, N.Y. I'm a budding journalist, songwriter, and poet who enjoys singing, cooking, and debating.