‘American Horror Story: the Coven’ peaks too soon

Laurel Delaney, ‘Doah Staff Writer
January 29, 2014

'Doah photo courtesy of thewrap.com

‘Doah photo courtesy of thewrap.com

“American Horror Story: Coven” is easily one of the most talked about television shows on air today. “American Horror Story: Coven,” or “Coven” for short, is the third season in the “American Horror Story” anthology series. Each season is a self-contained story, so there is no need to watch earlier seasons to understand the events of the current season. “American Horror Story” has garnered a reputation as one of the most provocative shows on TV in recent years.

The “American Horror Story” has revived the horror genre on syndicated television. The show boasts an incredible cast of actors who play different characters each season, most notably its star, Jessica Lange. The first two seasons of “American Horror Story” garnered critical praise and awards for performances, editing and design. It has broken the norm by casting lead actors of color, and actors with Down syndrome. It has also showcased dynamic characters of different sexualities.

“Coven” is provocative like its predecessors, but I found that it jumped the shark early on and has been floundering ever since. Earlier seasons of “American Horror Story” were provocative, but they showed restraint so that those moments were prominently showcased. “Coven” is constantly throwing controversial imagery at the audience thus desensitizing them to the horror. “Coven” has become a circus of gory repetition and gratuitous violence without purpose.  Characters have died and been revived so often that the risk of death has lost all its power and they have changed allegiances so often that betrayal has lost any thematic power. “Coven” is too excessive in its use of plot devices, and consequently the show has become a fascinating train wreck.

The acting is still great, the costumes are still great, the special effects and design are still great, but the writing is aimless and haphazard. The writers have played every card in the horror book, leaving them with an absolutely ridiculous show. They have shown no restraint in their writing, leaving them with virtually nowhere to go for four episodes into the season. Considering the current state of affairs, I can’t imagine that the next season is going to be any better.

“American Horror Story: Coven” airs on FX on Wednesdays at 10p.m. The season finale is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2014. The first two seasons of American Horror Story are now available on Netflix.

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