There's a coven in the oven on American Horror Story this year. I just hope what's cooking doesn't taste too much like gumbo.
I am a big supporter of American Horror Story, which returns for its third season, Wednesday, Oct. 9 on FX Canada. The series, which resets with a brand new tale every year, has earned my respect because it has been unlike any other show on television.
Yes, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk tend to throw everything from the horror and thriller genres up against the wall to see what sticks. But I have appreciated the rare feeling of not having a clue what's going to happen.
Which brings us to season three, the full title of which is American Horror Story: Coven. Many of our favourite actors from the first two seasons are back, including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy and Denis O'Hare. And in adding the likes of Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe and Patti LuPone, obviously there's a deep pool of talent from which to draw.
But when I initially saw clips from the first season of American Horror Story, I thought, "Wow, this looks unique, cool." Same thing when I saw clips from the second season. In the clips I've seen for season three, even though the story has more than one locale and bounces around in time, the New Orleans-heavy angle makes it look a little familiar, just in terms of atmosphere.
I don't want American Horror Story to feel like True Blood or The Vampire Diaries or its new spinoff The Originals, which also is set in New Orleans. Obviously American Horror Story will go further than any of those shows -- that's what it does, and I love it. But when I first heard about the third season, my reaction was, "Witches in New Orleans, really?" And I hated having that reaction, because I love this show.
There are so many less-explored parts of North America from a storytelling perspective, and where the insertion of evil would be less stereotypical, you know?
"There is something in (New Orleans) that is unique in this country, and it has a kind of power," Lange counters. "It has an authenticity that I think is lacking from most places in this country now. It has a sense of history, and the people live in the past and the present.
"There is something about New Orleans that is going to inform all our characters, inform this story, inform the writing, the look of the place, everything, and it's inescapable. When you are on the street there, there is something that's so hypnotic. It's almost drug-like."
Nothing against the actual city, but as a viewer, how many times do I want to be drugged by New Orleans?
I still am greatly looking forward to American Horror Story: Coven. But New Orleans is a familiar setting in the entertainment world. This show always has been different, and I want it to stay that way. Please don't go "bayou bonkers."