SPOILER WARNING for anyone who hasn't yet watched the premiere. You have been warned.
At last, at last, at long-as-long-can-be last. After so many months of waiting and watching the most bizarre teasers on TV (and the Internet, and the sides of buses, and magazines in the afterlife), American Horror Story finally debuted its highly anticipated sixth season and clued audiences in on what the shit this season is about. To put it simply, it's about My Roanoke Nightmare. Or less simply, paranormal reality shows/docu-series in general, which allows it to basically incorporate whatever it wants. And it was pretty fantastic and shocking!
But putting it any kind of simply, even in such a haphazard manner, would be a grand disservice to everything that Ryan Murphy and his talented team of collaborators have put together for Season 6. The American Horror Story: Roanoke premiere, titled "Chapter 1," was just as mysterious as one would expect, coming across as Blair Witch mixed with The Changeling mixed with whatever haunting show Discovery has going for it. There were talking head moments, as well as dramatized retellings of events, which made for a strange tincture. Not knowing what to expect added to the twisted feelings.
In "real life," we have Lily Rabe's Shelby Miller and her husband Matt, played by André Holland, whose story involves them experiencing some troubles - the knockout game, really? - and then moving out to the middle of nowhere in a house that is the epicenter for all kinds of weird shit. Doing the reenactments were People vs O.J. Simpson standouts Sarah Paulson as Shelby and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Matt. So obviously the acting was top notch, especially when you throw in Angela Bassett portraying Lee, played in the talking-head bits by True Blood's Adina Porter.
But American Horror Story: Roanoke starts off less about these characters, really, and more about the waterfall of oddities happening to them at every turn. We get all sorts of horror tropes and references inside the house, from the gorgeous central spiral staircase to torch-carrying vengeance-seekers to running through the woods to...well, lots more. And the twig-man and yarn-man budget must have been massive.
What seems to be happening here is that the house they're in is on some kind of cursed land, at least judging by Kathy Bates' car-slammed spectre and the scalped dude and everyone in the world having a problem with the couple staying in that house. I would assume it ties back to the mysterious Roanoke Island and its missing settlers, but then these are the kinds of ethereal beings that also like to roll wine bottles across the floor and have tooth rainstorms and shift the entire Earth around willy nilly, so it's really hard to get a good grip on the extent of what's happening on My Roanoke Nightmare. But I'm going to be happy to find out.
Kicking off earlier in the year than we're used to, American Horror Story: Roanoke will have some breathing room before showing us what this season's Halloween episode will be like. Those are always memorable. Get your fix every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else will get scared up on the small screen later this year, check out our fall TV schedule.