Eye on Emmy: How FX's American Horror Story Pushed the Miniseries Envelope to the Max

Though Murphy and Falchuk labored to hold their cards close to the vest throughout Season 1, lest they tip their hand as to who survives the Harmons’ haunting, their one and only plan American Horror Story Emmy Nominations 2012from American Horror Story’s outset was to refresh the cast and reset the setting with every cycle of 13 episodes, thus affording the drama miniseries eligibility.

So whereas in the first go-round, a Los Angeles manse hosted modern-day horror, the second run will be set in the 1960s and at an East Coast asylum for the insane. McDermott, Britton, TV daughter Taissa Farmiga and Conroy are gone, but Lange and other Season 1 costars such as Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe will be back — though as different characters. New arrivals Chloe Sevigny (Big Love), James Cromwell (Babe) and singer Adam Levine will round out the revamped ensemble.

“Because we are a miniseries, every season we can tell a containable story, which I think is a really cool idea,” Murphy enthuses. “I’m having a lot of fun with that.”

RELATED | Horror Story Season 2 Pits James Cromwell Against Jessica Lange

“It’s exciting,” McDermott says of the seasonal restart, a luxury afforded in large part by Horror Story’s home on FX. “For network television in general, the numbers are dwindling, and it’s time for a new model — and that’s why cable is thriving. People want to have something new, something fresh — and this approach is definitely that.”

This story first appeared in the pages of TVLine’s print sibling Awards|Line. The specialty Awards|Line editions canvass various facets of the Emmy and motion pictures awards season including deep coverage, analysis and interviews with the leading contenders and industry players.

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  1. Sam says:

    Ryan Murphy shows are special alright. They take wonderful actors (Darren Criss, Lea Michele, Connie Britton) and put them in roles that are either obnoxious or bland. Murphy is a sucker of talent.

    • DL says:

      Did you even watch AHS? The show had some phenomenal roles. Violet Harmon, Tate, and Constance were some of the best characters of the television season, and all three actors turned in incredible performances. Lange deserves all the gobs of attention she’s getting for the show, but I’d also really love to see some more buzz for Evan Peters as Tate.

    • ... says:

      “They take wonderful actors (Darren Criss)” LOL. Really? Out of all the talented actors that have worked with Ryan Murphy you listed Darren Criss? And you listed him first?

      • dude says:

        LOL this! I would have put Naya Rivera, Jane Lynch, Mike O’Malley hell, even Chris Colfer (who I think is way over-hyped) before Darren Criss.

      • B says:

        I don’t think it’s possible for there to be anything posted on this website that doesn’t inevitable lead to someone mentioning Glee in the comments. It’s everywhere!

  2. AJ says:

    I really enjoyed this show. Sherlock will win the category though.

  3. Tommy says:

    I have to admit I was enthralled by the show. Not since “Buffy” have I been this addicted to a show… Personally I’m hoping for Emmy gold and not just for Lange.

    • AJ says:

      I agree Lange is hands down the best actress in a Mini-series. I don’t think it can win the category with Sherlock in there though.

  4. Lee says:

    I don’t see how the Emmys can take AHS seriously when it was mostly special effects filled with horror and actors in soap opera situations. I just never felt AHS fully developed its characters. Maybe they didn’t have the time because they were too busy filling it with special effects. But it would’ve been nice to understand the characters better. Why did Ben have an affair with the college student? Was it because his wife gave birth to a stillborn baby? Obviously this stillborn baby was an accident because what parents want to go through child rearing all over again when they’re about to send off their daughter to college? What were the ramifications of this “accident”? I hope Season 2 does a better job developing its characters.

  5. michael says:

    A feminine horror story is not a unique concept. Take torture porn out of the picture and it almost always is favourable to women as a genre. (Scream, Alien, Halloween, ext.) In fact that’s over half of the demographic that watches horror.I love AHS but RM is not exactly breaking the mold here.

    • Miranda says:

      Alien was most certainly favourable to men, not women. Scream was definitely feminine. But I disagree that more of the demographic is women.

  6. Larry says:

    Julianne Moore should win for Game Change as Actress in a TV Movie/MiniSeries.

  7. mia says:

    This struggle is one that genre tv has been having for years now, AHS’s “struggle” isn’t something new.
    If the Emmy academy is going to throw a bone to a genre show, I’d rather it be Fringe which is far superiour to AHS (and yes, I watch both)

  8. Gerald says:

    Ryan Murphy & Co exaggerate so much, I mean the show is good but excellent as he is making it appear. It nothing special, just a carbon copy of many things that have been done before. What makes it stand out is Jessica Lange and her character.

  9. tim says:

    I have to say that the horror is really brutal especially the second episode of home invasion but what comes after with the halloween episodes — you get some of the best acting you can possibly get from every single actor and a culmination that makes it all so good.

  10. h. says:

    The show had potential but lost its way pre rubberman. The only two stand outs were the actors playing Violet and Tate.. But Jessica Lange seems to be getting all the buzz, when in fact they deserve it far more.

  11. Matt says:

    I believe Jessica is entered in the supporting actress race so she won’t be up against Julianne Moore.

  12. cheers says:

    Great article, Matt.

  13. jim says:

    Just bring back Alexandra Breckenridge in the same younger, vixenish roll and I’ll be smiling and happy!!