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COLUMN: Preparing for 'The End,' revisiting American Horror Story seasons 1, 3


"American Horror Story" first aired in 2011. The first season was called "Murder House." Movie Stills Database Buy Photos

Gone are the days of boring plot troupes and reused lines on the eighth season of a TV show. Now we have “American Horror Story," an anthology series that has been redefining television since its first season, “Murder House," which aired in 2011.

With an insane plot lines and undeniable cinematic artistry, "AHS," as its many adoring fans have come to call it, has made its mark in the long-standing history of anthology television. 

The series which has a plot and cast of characters that change each season, was created and produced by Brad Falchuk and IU alumnus Ryan Murphy. "AHS" has explored everything from a freak show to an insane asylum.

But Sept. 12, fans will be treated to an unprecedented event for the ages, as the eighth season will include main characters and plot lines from the first season of "AHS," “Murder House,” and the third season, "Coven."

To prepare for this spectacle, officially titled “Apocalypse,” let’s revisit “American Horror Story: Murder House” and “Coven.” 

"Murder House" centers around the Harmon family. Set in the year 2011, Vivien, played by Connie Britton, and her psychiatrist husband Ben, played by Dylan McDermott, are having marital problems. Vivien has a miscarriage, which causes Ben to start having an affair with his 21-year-old student. 

They think moving cross-country with their teenage daughter Violet, played by Taissa Farmiga, will help their family. They set out for Los Angeles, where they, to their ignorance and dismay, move into the City of Angels famed “Murder House,” a 1920’s style Victorian home where one too many deaths have happened and one too many ghosts still lurk. 

Throughout the season, the souls of the dead trapped in the house are revealed in fascinating and chilling ways, as life and death battle with each other. The storyline builds, keeping you on your toes every episode. 

The third season, "Coven," does the same. Set in the year 2013, Taissa Farmiga returns, this time playing Zoe, a teenage girl who has just discovered in quite the bloody manner, that she comes from a long line of Salem witches. She’s forced to attend Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a safe haven for witches who have been scorned by the public for centuries. 

Cordelia Foxx, played by Sarah Paulson, is the headmistress of the academy, and seeks to teach the young witches, which include starlet Madison Montgomery, played by Emma Roberts, how to navigate the world using their magic in a healthy way. 

But, of course, that’s somewhat impossible and mayhem ensues. The witches learn that their secretive world filled with darkness and evil seems to resemble the outside world a bit too closely. 

One thing viewers can count on when it comes to "AHS" is consistency. The show has always been consistent with its plotlines, getting every detail correct and every connection to make sense. Not to mention, the cinematography is impeccable. Just watch the first episode of "Coven" and pay close attention to how many seamless Dutch angles and unconventional types of lighting they use.

"AHS" has a large, extremely talented ensemble cast in every season. And with a big cast comes a lot of plotlines. These two seasons in particular are acted to near perfection, as they’re complicated, yet captivating. 

It will be interesting to see how they carry over the long list of anecdotes and antics from both seasons to fit into a new, connected storyline for "Apocalypse" this year. Time and dedicated fans will tell. 

"Murder House" and "Coven" are available for streaming now on Netflix. 

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