ByFloyd Smith III, writer at
If it's Marvel, Sci-fi, or Horror, I know all about it!
Floyd Smith III

With the flamboyant season five premiere airing on Wednesday, it's only right to take a look back at the last four amazing seasons of American Horror Story.

All four seasons are terrific in their own right but among hardcore AHS' fans there has always been the discussion of which season was the best.

While some argue that the original season Murder House set the tone for the entire series others argue that Asylum is where the show hit its stride. But what about the recent Freak Show where does it stand among the shows seasons?

Right now we will analyze and rank American Horror Story's first four seasons from worst to best and find the best element of each season to determine the best season American Horror Story has to offer.

#4. Season 3: Coven

The Intro to Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett
The Intro to Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett

Season 3 of AHS' introduces fans to witches and the pursuit of the Supreme. Fans were instantly excited after the announcement that AHS' Queen Jessica Lange would be joined by Misery star Kathy Bates, and fellow veteran actress Angela Bassett. This gave the show a much welcomed female empowerment tone that was adored by fans.

Ryan Murphy attempted to take the dark tone of Season 2 and insert a lighthearted bitchiness that would makes fans laugh more than be normally creeped out. Although there were shocking moments of darkness, like the flashbacks to Kathy Bates' character Delphine Lalaurie's time as a slave owner.

Probably the most shocking scene of coven
Probably the most shocking scene of coven

The main issue of this season was the stories plot. Certain aspects of the show were left without explanation. Like the fact that Madison was long considered to be The Supreme, only to be choked to death by a mere mortal. Or the fact that Misty Day, once considered the strongest witch, died in the melodramatic way of being stuck in one of her dark memories. While Taissa Farmiga's character Zoe was revived time and time again.

These inconsistencies left some fans confused by the show's end. The show's best elements were obviously its massively talented cast. The addition of Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe gave the show a much needed makeover. And the greatest take away from the season may be that these cast members continued to stay on the show.

So what Coven may have lacked in story development it made up for in the fantastic acting of its renovated cast. It may go down as the most forgettable season. But it changed the series altogether after its addition.

#3. Season 1: Murder House

One of the most memborable scenes
One of the most memborable scenes

The first season of American Horror Story completely took audiences by surprise. With an 80% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes viewers who went in with an open mind came out pleased. Ryan Murphy not only did a great job at freaking viewers out but he also does a terrific job at character development. After only a few episodes you feel sucked in to this regular family put into this irregular home.

Step-by-Step Murphy draws a line and crosses that line leaving viewers at the edge of their seats. With rich dialogue and no commitment to any particular character, Murphy makes every episode stand out like a film of it's own. The shocking twists and turns almost creates an entire television genre specific to only Murphy.

But this does not mean the show was without flaws. Being a new style, critics resented the gore and general darkness of the show. Also, many critics complained that the plot may have had too many twists and turns. Confusing those that may not have been willing to open their minds.

But most importantly the season does not stand the test of time as well as its successors. While Murder House may be the most memorable season for hardcore fans it does not carry the depth of it's following seasons. This season showed signs of Murphy figuring out what could work and what couldn't. After this season the show in general carries a tone that is remarkably different from that of the first season. But without this season testing it's boundaries we may not have the daring plots of a Coven or Freak Show. So despite it's rating it is vital to the series.

#2. Season 2: Asylum

Pepper is one of the most memorable characters
Pepper is one of the most memorable characters

Arguably the actual scariest season of the entire franchise, Asylum picked up where Murder House left off in aspects of creepiness. The show added serial killers, Nazi torture, and extra-terrestrial themes to a show viewers thought could not get any scarier. The darker tone of Asylum after viewing all of the seasons makes season three look like a prequel to Ryan Murphy's new sorority horror show Scream Queens.

It is less predictable than its successors and more memorable than its predecessor. Not to mention it is responsible for arguably the shows most memorable scene.

Sarah Paulson takes the lead in a darker role than her Coven lead. Evan Peters showed the maturity and depth of his acting in his most daring role. And Jessica Lange and Lily Rabe gave the show an awkwardness that has not been challenged. Zachary Quinto and James Cromwell also both had stand out performances.

The series resonates more in the viewers' minds than both seasons one and three. By making its characters go through persecution to the point where you care for their well being and whether they'll ever get to escape the madness of the Asylum.

This season carries the most dramatic and memorable finale of the entire shows run. By tying up all of the loose ends of its plot, and making a satisfying ending to a thrill ride of a season. It's flaws include its exotic themes that some viewers weren't as open to accepting: like the alien abduction of Evan Peters' character or the exaggerated torture that Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) put on his victims.

But even so, unlike that of Coven or Murder House, viewers are left a little more satisfied at the shows end making it a stand out of the series. This leads us to the arguably best season of American Horror Story:

#1. Season 4: Freak Show

Don't You just love that face
Don't You just love that face

You can almost tell that the creators heard the complaints of the previous season not being dark enough because the darkness is evident immediately in this season.

Fans were genuinely horrified when it was announced there would be deadly clowns and two headed women inserted into the show. Only to be shown that the clown wasn't exactly the character with the darkest intentions of the cast. Just ask Dandy.

New cast members turned out to be essential to the success of the season.

The addition of Finn Witrock as Dandy, as well as adding Michael Chiklis and John Carroll Lynch to the cast brought in some new energy that we didn't realize we needed until they grew on us.

We hated Dandy, but loved him for being true to himself. We were scared of Twisty but we had empathy for him. We wanted Dell Toledo to be reunited with his family. Each one of the freaks were as normal to us as they were to each other. They all had hopes and dreams. All lovable in their own right despite their physical, and sometimes mental (Neil Patrick Harris) disabilities.

The AHS' veterans had stand out performances that solidified the season.

Jessica Lange had her most demanding leading role as show runner Elsa Mars. Sarah Paulson managed to play two different characters and differentiated them enough for the audience to seamlessly tell the difference. Evan Peter's continued his rise as an essential quality of this franchise with his portrayal of lobster boy. Denis O'hare managed to make us hate him again. Kathy Bates made us reluctantly love her again. And Emma Roberts managed to make us do both.

Freak Show's consistency, superb acting, and character development makes it the stand out of the American Horror Story franchise.

Where Will Season 5's Place Be In All Of This?

Can GaGa fill Jessica Lange's Shoes?
Can GaGa fill Jessica Lange's Shoes?

What the season premiere of Hotel has shown us is that Ryan Murphy isn't afraid to step outside of the box.

Darker tones will continue to be used, the cast will continue to grow and change, and most importantly us as viewers will continue to be surprised. As the shocking scene of Episode one has shown us our tolerance for horror will be tested and offended. By the end of its season I predict Hotel will stand at 3rd place in the American Horror Story ranks. Right behind Freak Show and Asylum.


Which Is Your Favorite American Horror Story Season?


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