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Ranking the “American Horror Story” Seasons


1. Murder House

The first and the best of the series. Murder House is nearly perfect. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk set the bar extremely high with the star-studded cast and unique plot lines. When it first premiered, AHS was a series like no other.

We get to see a family lose their minds inside their new LA home, where they relocate in order to erase the husband Ben’s affair and start over. The Rubber Man is now a staple of the series and an image we will never be able to get rid of. And who could forget the Piggy Man, or the birth of the anti-Christ!

Murder House also introduced Evan Peters to many as the deeply disturbed Tate Langdon. It’s entertaining to see the house’s history and how every character ended up trapped in there. It was an interesting choice by Murphy and Falchuk to have all of their characters killed off, but it was one that worked.

The only flaw in this season is the somewhat lackluster ending.

Best Episode: Episode 10, Smoldering Children

This is the best episode of the season because it’s full of twists and it gives great character development to Tate. We realize that Violet has actually been dead for a while as she finds her own body. We also get a better understanding of Tate’s evilness as it’s revealed that he’s responsible for Larry’s burns. Ben also discovers that Tate is the Rubber Man who got Vivien pregnant.

2. Asylum

The only thing keeping Asylum from being the best season yet is the random and unnecessary alien plot line. But Asylum definitely lived up to the expectations following Murder House. It gave us the iconic Lana Winters, Bloody Face, Nazi doctors, demonic possessions and the Name Game song all set in a mental institution in the 1960s.

We slowly get to see most of the characters become patients of the asylum, making this a more psychological horror rather than a strictly supernatural one. This is however, the scariest season of the series. There’s a deep sense of hopelessness for some these characters and also the most disturbing characters that make this season so compelling.

Asylum also had an underlying message as it tells the story of how people get cast out of society for being gay or lesbian or in an interracial relationship.

Best Episode: Episode 10, The Name Game

This episode has one of the most-remembered scenes in the series with Jude’s hallucination of a happy dance to “The Name Game.” We get to see Jude as a patient for the first time and go through electroconvulsive therapy. This episode also featured the deaths of Sister Mary Eunice and Dr. Arden. The Nazi doctor’s death was an intentional metaphor set up by Murphy, as he dies going into an oven after a possessed Sister Mary Eunice. Grace also gives birth to a baby she reveals to be Kit’s.

3. Freak Show

This is another one of those seasons in the series that started out incredibly strong, but then just fizzled out. However, it’s the incredible characters in Freak Show that put this one higher on the list. Jessica Lange’s story line as Elsa Mars is one of the most surprisingly dark and intriguing ones. Elsa has everything that would make a character unlikable, but Lange makes us love her instead. Her unrelenting attempts at living out her dream of stardom after having gone through so much makes us secretly root for her. 


Dandy Mott, played by Finn Wittrock, is one of the best villains in the AHS series. He’s a manic rich kid with a fascination for freaks. The disturbed Dandy could have used a bit more character development, but he still remains among the best villains.

Twisty the Clown is a close second as a villain, but his sad past humanizes him. Twisty deserved a better ending and more screen time, but what little we did get was amazing. John Carroll Lynch was unrecognizable as the demented killer clown.

Best Episode: Episode 1, Monsters Among Us

The best opening episode of the entire AHS series. Without being given too much, we’re introduced to Elsa Mars, who runs one of the world’s last remaining freak shows in Jupiter, Fla., in 1952. We also get to see Twisty murdering a cookie cutter ‘50s picnicking couple (one of the best scenes in the season), conjoined twins Bette and Dot, a bearded lady and Jimmy Darling, a freak hoping to live a normal life. These characters and their deformities are enough to keep people watching.

4. Roanoke

A lot of people didn’t like Roanoke, but it has been one of the best seasons so far. It was a little confusing to follow who the actors and the real characters were, but the plot was meticulously thought out.

When the season premiered, no one knew what it would be. Murphy had only been giving teasers, but never talked about what the theme would be. The mystery behind the show made it even more interesting to watch.

This was different from the last four seasons as it had a meta theme of a show within a show. It had actors playing multiple roles in Roanoke, which they all did extremely well.

We see characters face the violent ghosts of the Roanoke Colony and a cannibalistic family who lives nearby. Roanoke was one of the goriest on the AHS series.

It was the epilogue ending that put Roanoke further down the list. We get everything explained and tied together with a neat little bow. Having the series end that way was lackluster and took away from the disturbing theme the rest of the season followed.

Best Episode: Episode 6, Chapter 6

This episode was a major shift in the season. We get to see completely different characters from the reenactors as they play the real version of themselves. Seeing the actors and their real-life counterparts together at the Roanoke house during the blood moon is one of the most fascinating twists of the season. It’s also revealed toward the end that over the course of the new series all but one of the participants died in the house and the series never made it to air.

5. Coven

The best part of this season was the lack of male characters because the women carried this one. It also featured some of the best performances by Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe.

The premise to Coven sounded so interesting, following a coven of Salem decedents at a witch academy, but it quickly disappointed.

Coven had one of the most rushed season finales. For a show that was all about witches, the witches grew tired and boring as the season progressed. Characters would not stay dead as they would be killed off and brought back a few episodes later.

Best Episode: Episode 1, Bitchcraft

Bitchcraft opens up the season with Zoe losing her virginity and accidently killing her boyfriend after discovering she has hidden powers. She’s then sent to an all-girls private school that teaches young witches how to survive in the modern world. Here we meet the other girls and see what their powers are. It’s an exciting set up as it came off as more entertaining than dreary and dark. Kathy Bates was also welcomed to the AHS world with a terrifying introduction.

6. Hotel

Okay, I know some of you may be judging me for putting this dead last, but the season started out incredibly strong only to fall into a deep end, never to be remembered. The whole season was a mess with no concrete story arcs and flat storylines. We followed a serial killer, while Lady Gaga, a blood-sucking countess, kept turning nearly everyone she met.

This was the first AHS without Jessica Lange and her absence hit hard. Although she won a Golden Globe for her performance, Lady Gaga couldn’t quite live up as the main character (yes, she was a main character). This was also one of Evan Peters’ weakest characters in all of the series. He played James March, a multi-millionaire serial killer from the 1920s stuck living in his own hotel, one he built as a trap to satisfy his need to kill.  He was more of a caricature than a villain.

The most interesting thing about Hotel was that it was the season that helped connect most of the previous seasons together. But it didn’t even feel scary like previous seasons have.

Best Episode: Episode 9, Be Our Guest

Liz was the reason for this episode’s success. The transgender character was also one of the best characters of the season. In this final episode, we see her life come to an end after she asks the ghosts of Hotel Cortez to kill her when she finds that she has prostate cancer. The Countess (Gaga) returns to kill her and Tristan comes back as well. The highlight was the return of Billie Dean Howard from Murder House.

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Leslie Sarinana
Leslie Sarinana, Copy Editor
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Ranking the “American Horror Story” Seasons