Ryan Murphy knows better than almost anyone how to put together a spectacular season 1. Glee, Nip/Tuck, Popular and AHS all had first seasons that had audiences coming back for more. Season 2 of American Horror Story was to me, even better than 1. But... I am struggling with the Coven that is the focus of season 3.
It is still watchable, the powerhouse acting still holds my attention, but Coven is a bit of a mess. Last week's Stevie Nicks themed episode highlighted the seasons lack of direction. It was clear from the awkward editing, especially of Jessica Lange's scenes, the idea to bring in Nicks was an after thought and quickly put together and edited into the story. It is funny though, as uneventful as the episode was, the scenes featuring Nicks music were the highlight.
Coven doesn't have the balance the previous two seasons had. Although undoubtedly the best part of AHS, this season is far too focused on Lange. She is in pretty much every scene and it is becoming rather tedious. In season 1 her character was balanced out well by Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters. In season 2, Peters and Sarah Paulsen shared the story line load. In Coven, Paulsen, and especially Peters are stuck in smaller, uninteresting roles with little to do. Although watching Lange spar with Kathy Bates, Francis Conroy and Angela Bassett has been a blast, they don't make up for the lack of a cohesive story or direction. In addition, Emma Roberts and Farmiga are irritating and not up to the level of their co-stars.
The worst part of Coven however is it's shocking lack of ability to create any real horror. The opening credits aside, almost every major character that has died (Patti Lupone has been offed twice) has come back to life. How can we be terrorized by murders and stake burnings when characters either rise from the dead the next episode or in some cases, can't be killed at all. I hope the show's last set of episodes are better than the last few. I haven't given up, just hope that the producers see Lange is at her best when not in almost every scene, and she alone, without a well thought out story and concept, and Peters and Paulsen, are not enough to keep AHS on everyone's must watch list.