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October 05 2011

American Horror Story premieres tonight on FX! Tim Minear is involved, though it's difficult (read: impossible) to find that out through IMDB. Looks like it starts at 10pm on the West Coast.

Was wondering if there might be a thread for this considering Tim's involvement; I don't believe he had much of a hand in the pilot, but if what I've read about the pilot is true I hope he has a much heavier hand in the rest of the proceedings.
Reviews are decidedly mixed. I liked it. It is very out there and unlike anything else on TV right now which I see as a good thing. Definitely not for kids and not for everyone.

Tim is either an executive or consulting producer on the show. Pretty sure he came on after the pilot was shot. I can't wait for episodes 2 and 3.
Everything I've heard about the show is scary awful. On the other hand, perhaps Tim can help turn it around further along. I'm thinking that I'm not going to watch at first, and then see if people say whether it is improving or not.
What I saw of the first five minutes looked very well done, so here's hoping.
Well, I really enjoyed it, and I'm certainly looking forward to Tim's influence. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk could learn quite a lot from him.
So it's worth watching? My local newspaper sang high praises for it. I think that I'll check it out, especially now that Minear is going to be involved.
That was some of the best TV I've watched in a long time. With that in mind, however, I can see how some people might be uncomfortable with it. The horror is standard ghost story fare, but the frank portrayal of the relationships between the characters can be pretty disturbing at times, often in ways people aren't used to in television. So while it probably won't be for everyone, I'm hoping it finds a following.
Tim describes his role on the show: "I'm a consulting producer -- which is to say, I'm one of the writers on a very lean, very delightful staff of writers."

Some reviewers are preemptively dismissing the show, based solely on Murphy and Falchuk's track record (Nip/Tuck, Glee). In effect, they're warning viewers to stay away because the show might derail itself as it progresses. The fact that Mr. Minear is involved would suggest otherwise, and automatically makes it "must see" viewing for me.
It has to be on the tracks to be derailed in the first place. The pilot was bad in every sense. Judged solely on that one episode Tim Minear's pen can't come soon enough.
I missed the first 15-20 minutes, but caught the rest. It ran a few plays out of Kubrick's Shining playbook, most notably with the maid who appears as a beautiful young seductress to the husband and as a milky-eyed hag to everyone else. The much publicized "rubber man" scene was rather abrupt and unshocking, given all the advance attention it has received. I can't say I was drawn in by the pilot, but I'll try and catch another episode or two to see where it's headed.
Bianca Lawson plays a high school student again? Will she ever age?
Didn't like it.

It was a very minor Whedonpalooza. Tim of course, Bianca (but even the chance to ogle her again doesn't justify it for me,) Andy Umberger, altho those were both little more than cameos, and while she's never worked to my knowledge with Joss, Christine Estabrook was in both of Amber Benson's "Yentl projects."
Hmm... I liked it! Because it surprised me. Several times. It's not my favorite new thing, but it's the best pilot I've seen in some time. I'm in S. Korea and wasn't exposed to any buzz or promotion aside from a couple articles online.

Then again, I was a big Nip/Tuck fan. It's not a formula for everyone.
The premiere impressed me and I want to buy episode two now.
I'm conflicted on this pilot. It's very slick and atmospheric, the score is equally haunting and beautiful and some of the dramatic confrontations are expertly written and acted. Unfortunately, the editing is overdone and in-your-face, calling way too much attention to itself. Furthermore (and most important), the characterizations are obvious and cliched and the overall direction has as much grace and subtlety as a cross-dressing, tap-dancing elephant (which is ultimately the same reason I had to stop watching Glee).

Finally, the premise is a bit fundamentally broken. A feature film about a family that moves into a haunted house, experiences all manner of oddities and frights and is warned by locals (and the house itself) to vacate immediately, can sometimes have trouble stretching credibility even within that limited running time. I'm not sure a weekly television series can sustain these antics while keeping me invested in the characters. How much obvious, crazy creepy crap has to happen before the family finally has enough common sense to split? That kind of ignorance and denial gets really old, really fast and I can easily see myself growing to hate these characters for it, especially since I don't have much to like about them to begin with, given their broad strokes and stereotypes.

Having said all that, I heart Tim immensely, of course and I'm a sucker for spooky Horror. I'll stick it out for a bit in the hopes that he can work his magic, unless it becomes a similar situation with Bryan Fuller and Heroes, where even his extra strength glue can't keep the collapsing house of cards from going down.
Does it have the creepiness factor that The Inside excelled at?
Havent seen The Inside but I didnt find the show creepy at all. There were characters who were obviosly meant to envoke the chills but it just didnt work. All the horror elements you have seen before, done better. And like kungfubear said, the directing was aweful, almost nauseating at times. If you get scared by strobe lights and undefined flashes of the ghost/creature you might like it. All just my opinion of course.
From minute one onward it is a relentlessly derivative, over-edited exercise in aggressively delivered sugar-high R rated trash. They don't just steal moments, characters, and themes from your favorite horror and suspense movies; they slam the music from them in there too. I think in back to back scenes we get the screaming violins from "Insidious" follwed by some of the sadder creepiness from "Vertigo," and those are just a couple off the top of my head. I don't think there's enough time in the day to list the sources of most shots and techniques on display.

And I liked it! Jessica Lange is a hoot, the wife could end up being one of the stronger characters in a new drama, the daughter is surprisingly and refreshingly tough and mean, and I actually think the contrast of a disintegrating American family against every horror movie trope known to modern man has the potential for some really great over the top t.v. I am particularly heartened by Tim's presence on the staff, because after seeing Murphy and Falchuk run Nip/Tuck into the ground, excruciatingly, for season after season, I wouldn't trust this highwire act to them. Mr. Minear, absolutely. A killer sandbox for him to play in.

It does not have the same creepiness that The Inside delivered, at least so far, but if they take the characters in the right directions it could get there. The pilot is meant to grab people by their ADHD addled brains and shake them for an hour, grab their attention, but I do think they'll benefit greatly from slowing down a hair.
I liked it a lot, especially compared to the alternatives among the new fall premieres. I was kept in suspense and there was some spooky stuff. In fact, except for The Walking Dead, I can't think of any other horror TV shows, past or present, that I like better -- at least not off the top of my head. (FYI: I don't really consider Joss's shows to be true "horror.")

ETA: Can anyone think of another high quality horror TV show? I suppose X files or Twilight Zone might qualify, but I kind of think they're more sci fi.

[ edited by Squishy on 2011-10-07 19:05 ]
You have a few anthology shows here and there, not the least of which is Serling's Night Gallery, but I think it's very difficult to come up with a long or even medium running drama dedicated to horror. Twin Peaks had some high end elements (the Black Lodge strobe effect certainly put to use in AHS ep1), Von Trier's The Kingdom did too. Never did see Sean Cassidy's American Gothic but read there were many reasons not to bother. People of a certain generation hold Dark Shadows in high esteem but I wonder how well that holds up. Kolchak: The Night Stalker was another from that era. I remember a show called Cliffhangers from back in 1979 that was my introduction to vampires, although it wasn't hugely horrific.
Can anyone think of another high quality horror TV show

League of Gentlemen or Psychoville.
Wow, I never heard of any of those, except Twin Peaks, which I never saw. I guess there's also the guilty pleasure that is Trueblood, though maybe that's not particularly high quality or particularly horrific. I guess this historical lack of good horror tv shows makes me appreciate AHS and TWD even more.

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