American Horror Story: Hotel came to its conclusion recently and speculation is already rife about what the next season of the series will bring.
If you haven’t seen American Horror Story: Hotel and don’t want spoilers, we suggest you stop reading now. If you have seen it and want to hear my thoughts on the next season keep reading.
Hotel was all about drug addiction, facing your darkest fears, vampires and of course murder. It was also the first season of the show to feature Lady Gaga, who made her TV acting debut as The Countess. After a strong first half, Hotel started to fall apart in a similar way to the past two seasons of the show.
As always with American Horror Story, Hotel featured plenty of ideas but lacked a cohesive storyline to drive through the core. The anti-climax of John (Wes Bentley) being unmasked as The Ten Commandments Killer pretty much derailed the second half of the season, which descended into long drawn-out nonsense. By the final episode the only saving grace was Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) and her end wasn’t really what I was hoping for.
Lady Gaga may have picked up a Golden Globe for her performance (as much as I love her did she really give that great a performance?) but there’s no denying that American Horror Story: Hotel was a complete mess. It wasn’t a patch on Murder House, Asylum or Freak Show but it was at least better than Coven.
Early rumours suggest that Gaga may be back for the next season and it has been confirmed that the show will feature a dual timeline when it returns. Other than that details are being kept tightly under wraps.
I’ve been thinking about what I want to see when the show returns so keeping reading to find out my thoughts…
1. The show-runners to finally understand that star power does not always equate to quality. It was distracting having Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Wes Bentley, Chloe Sevigny, Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Seth Gabel, Gabourey Sidibe, Finn Wittrock, Naomi Campbell (and every other actor under the sun) appearing during the season. The star power distracts from the storyline and it seems the show writers sacrificed cohesive storytelling for the opportunity to give every actor something to do. Fewer characters, and even fewer big names, would make me very happy for the next season.
2. Dylan McDermott to return. We’ve not seen him since Asylum and I’d love to see him back on the show. Creatively the show peaked in its second season so maybe the material hasn’t been strong enough to lure him back. McDermott was a shining light of the first two seasons so I want him back.
3. One central storyline with supporting sub-plots that actually complement the storytelling. For the past three seasons there has been far too much going on in the show meaning that it’s near impossible to care about everything and often characters (and plots) get dropped or forgotten about later in the season run. Murder House was so tight in terms of story as was Asylum (if you ignore the aliens bit).
4. Actual scares. Aside from Twisty the Clown during Freak Show, I can’t remember the last time American Horror Story actually scared me. The first two seasons were deliciously dark and frequently creepy but now the show goes for out-there gore or shock horror (e.g. that scene no one needed to see with Max Greenfield).
5. No random tangents. There were times during Hotel (and many other seasons of American Horror Story) where it felt like the writers had a few episodes to fill so they just threw in some random characters and scenarios that added nothing to the overall story. In Hotel that was the rendezvous of serial killers past and present, which took away valuable screentime from much better characters and plots.
6. A return to the show’s roots. Hotel aspired to be a sequel of sorts to Murder House but it didn’t quite hit the mark. The smaller cast, the more well-formed story, the subtlety of the creepy factor… these were all the things I loved about the show when it first arrived on our screens.
7. No character crossovers. Aside from Pepper being in both Asylum and Freak Show, the character crossovers just haven’t worked. Did Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) really need to be briefly in Hotel? Or psychic Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson) from Murder House? Not really.
8. No Wes Bentley. I used to be a fan of Wes’ until he joined American Horror Story and apparently forgot how to act. Hotel saw him doing a bad impersonation of Keanu Reeves for some bizarre reason and his ‘acting’ was one of the things that let the show down.
9. Lady Gaga. If she’s going to return I’d like to see her play an actual character. The Countess wasn’t far removed from Gaga’s pop persona and it didn’t really stretch her did it? She barely spoke for the first few episodes.
10. Sarah Paulson back in the lead role. Aside from Jessica Lange, no one has owned American Horror Story the way that Paulson did in season two. She’s an exceptional actress and after being pushed aside the past two seasons, it’s time to put her back in the centre.
American Horror Story returns to FX in the US and FOX in the UK later this year.