I am a huge fan of the American Horror Story franchise. I remember being hooked on Murder House, addicted to Asylum, amazed by Coven and completed freaked out by Freak Show. The franchise is completely unique and unlike anything else on television. Ryan Murphy has proven himself a God among the television creators, with his biggest achievement to date being Glee, which thrilled viewers for six years before the cast took their final bow in March this year. Glee made Murphy a household name as well as making stars of Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and the rest of the cast. Where American Horror Story is concerned, Jessica Lange is the shining star. When it comes to acting ability there are few who come close - that woman could recite the phonebook and still win an Emmy. So I, more than anyone, was naturally upset to hear that Lange wouldn't be returning. The show needs her the same way that Glee needed Lea Michele. I was anxious about how [American Horror Story: Hotel](tag:3561561) would turn out.
I was expecting great things, after all this is American Horror Story, but unfortunately I was less that impressed with the premiere of Hotel. I understand that Lange wasn't able to return, but her absence wasn't even the only problem. Everything felt over the top and quite frankly a lot of it was boring. They've got a great premise but the script of 'Checking In' let it down. The rape scene was completely unnecessary and felt as if it was only done for shock value. Again, the notion of the addiction demon is genius, but it was poorly executed. In previous years, I've loved how the creators always chose a horror concept, but that didn't necessarily mean that the show had to be horrifying all the time - the story was more important. Take Coven for example, we all know that witches are scary and the idea of being immortal too, but every episode was not a blood-soaked slasher - the storyline came first, then the horror. Hotel is the complete opposite. The horror comes first, regardless of the story. Another example of this would be the crime scene at the start: it was horrifying enough - the several close ups of the victims were totally unnecessary. In Hotel, shock value came across as more important than setting up scenarios and storylines. I also found the opening sequence of the two girls checking in to be far too long and really self-indulgent. The premiere episode (as always) was extended, but the writers didn't take the opportunity to develop the story much further. Also, for being the shows new leading lady - GaGa wasn't in the episode as much as she should have been.
I think that the Hotel concept has great potential, but, for me at least, this will probably be the worst season. If Lange makes a cameo then maybe that can help matters. Having said that, there were some really good things about the premiere: Kathy Bates is excellent (for me, she will never top the scarily hilarious Madame Delphine LaLaurie from Coven, for which she won an Emmy). Lady GaGa is actually really good - I'm interested to see where they will go with her character - great potential here. The Countess (GaGa) and Donovan's (Matt Bomer) relationship is excellent, in fact that was my favourite element of the show. I didn't mind the sex scene too much, I think the whole vampiristic ritual killing is genius.
All in all it was a less than stellar premiere, but I'm hoping that things will improve. One things for sure, I've checked in now - so there's no going back.