5 Reasons American Horror Story: Roanoke Is the Most Underrated AHS Season
Everyone has a favourite season of American Horror Story: some are drawn to the frenetic energy of Murder House, while others can't get enough of the witches in Coven or the horrors that await them at the Hotel Cortez. My favourite season of Ryan Murphy's endlessly twisted series is American Horror Story: Roanoke, the most underrated instalment in the franchise to date. The show within a show within a show is at once deliciously meta and intentionally slower paced than previous seasons, and it's all the better for it.
Right from the start, Roanoke's use of reality TV as a framing device proved to be divisive. Some viewers found My Roanoke Nightmare to be needlessly convoluted, and others simply found it boring. For me, it was absolutely riveting. The season riffs on Murder House by beginning with a couple, Shelby and Matt, moving into a haunted house for a fresh start, but their ordeal plays out in the public eye as they agree to turn the horrors they face within the house into an instalment of a kitschy paranormal reality series. The show becomes a success, but fame can't save their marriage or them. It can't even make them the heroes of their own story.
It's no secret that Murphy isn't exactly a subtle television auteur. He seems to relish telling over-the-top tales, and none of his vast array of shows gets away with more outlandish stunts than American Horror Story. (Need proof? Allow me to submit season eight as evidence.) However, Roanoke was special. It brings the crazy — teeth raining from the sky, weed-farming cannibals — but it balances all of the heightened storytelling with a searing commentary on celebrity and our collective obsession with true crime. It's a clever, wild, and underappreciated season of AHS, and in light of the season 10 delay, here are five reasons why now is the right time to book a return trip to Roanoke.