Friday, December 23, 2011

‘American Horror Story’: Best new show of 2011

“American Horror Story” finished its first season on FX this week and what a ride it was.
The 12-episode run was by turns shocking, frightening, funny and poignant. The series has pushed the boundaries of what’s acceptable on basic cable with its violent, sexual and mature content.
The show kept me guessing. I was never sure how it was going to turn out.
And the performance of scenery-chewing co-star Jessica Lange was a real treat. She should be a heavy favorite for honors at the Golden Globes and Emmy awards.
One of my big concerns about “American Horror Story” – and other new shows this season – was how far the creators could carry the premise of the show.
When the season finale was over, the story of the troubled Harmon family was complete. To continue it seemed pointless.
Series co-creator Ryan Murphy admitted as much this week. He told reporters that the second season would “begin with a new locale and a (mostly) new cast,” EW says. Some of the current cast members may come back in different roles, Murphy said.
“It’s a really fun idea to do an anthology show,” Murphy said. “That’s the way it was designed from the beginning. Every season, there will be a new haunting and we’ll have a new overriding theme.”
Of this fall’s other new shows, I’ve only stuck with CW’s “Ringer” and ABC’s “Revenge.” Both are far-fetched soap operas, classified as “guilty pleasures” by some critics. They’re entertaining enough, but low on my viewing list.
I still like returning shows “The Walking Dead,” “Supernatural” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has suffered a sophomore slump with sluggish pacing and poor writing. It was partially redeemed by a great mid-season finale. But the show’s producers had better pick up the pace in the second half of the season.
CW’s “Supernatural” continues to surprise me in its seventh season. It’s a great show. But I hope they find a way to end it before it goes stale like “The X-Files.”
Both “Supernatural” and fellow CW show “The Vampire Diaries” could teach “The Walking Dead” producers a thing or two about pacing. They don’t stretch out story lines. They have mini-climaxes throughout the season and come up with new plots to keep things moving.

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