American Horror Story Double Feature; lackluster return to television

After a short hiatus, the well-known anthology series, American Horror Story is back on air. In the show’s tenth season, monsters and aliens are being combined to create the first-ever “Double Feature” season in the show’s history.  This season couples “Red Tide” and “Death Valley”, into one. Usually, a season has one overlying theme connected through the typical 10 episodes. However this season, both storylines are being included, in what one can guess will be half of the total episodes. 

Fans of the show will be excited to know that many fan-favorite actors are making their return. In the show’s ninth season, many of the original cast were not included, a change that frustrated many dedicated followers. This season, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Henry Wittrock, Billie Lourd, and Frances Conry make appearances. 

So far, through Hulu, five episodes have come out in the “Red Tide” portion of the show. The episodes are very long, each spanning a total of about 50 minutes each. These episodes are all set in Cape Cod during the winter. The whole season has a muted tint to it, with a color palette of beiges, light blues, and greys. The cinematography of the season adds to the show greatly, with unique shots of graveyards and beaches providing appealing scenes to look at.

The main characters for this season are a family of three, who spend three months in Cape Cod in order for the father, Harry, to work on his writing, and the wife, Doris, to decorate the house. However, in typical horror fashion, the trip goes terribly wrong. The town is plagued with extreme addiction, many gruesome deaths, and creatures that routinely attack the family. 

The episodes are an enjoyable watch but with some flaws. So far, there have been dull moments due to the necessary story building required to give the audience background, however, this is done in redundant ways. Double Feature lacks the bold, daring choices that American Horror Story usually makes. 

American Horror story is also well known for its unique intros every season. These intros give a glimpse into the themes of the season, with this intro heavily focusing on blood, drugs use and production, and beach scenery. This season is heavily influenced by drugs, so viewers should prepare to see a raw, gritty display of the effects of drug abuse. Some aspects of the season are somewhat immature and lack depth. The creatures in the town were once “talentless” humans, but are presented in such a way that they prove less ominous, and veer towards being amusing.

The main actors, Wittrock and Rabe act brilliantly, taking on complex roles that show extreme character depth. Actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong plays daughter to Harry and Dorris, and shows exceeding talent in one only 11-year-old. However, a flaw with using actors repeatedly, some characters in the show greatly resemble other characters from seasons prior. Adina Porter once again plays the self-righteous sheriff, and Leslie Grossman plays a stuck-up wealthy woman with more annoying traits than likable ones.  

So far, the season has been easy to watch, but there is much to look forward to with upcoming episodes, and with any hope, more shock. Some fans anticipate that the second part of the season may connect to the show’s overall second season of “Asylum”, which grappled with similar topics of extraterrestrial life. Until then, the “Red Tide” portion of season ten is available to watch on Hulu.