It only took the better part of forever, but American Horror Story finally dropped its sixth season opener on audiences, and it was a doozy of Ryan Murphy proportions in every way. We finally learned that the season will focus on a docu-series (at the very least) about some troubled people, and we learned a LOT more than that during the episode, which should have been at least 90 minutes. Here were the four biggest shocks "Chapter 1" had to offer.
After going so long without really knowing what American Horror Story Season 6 was going to be about, I guess anything could have shocked me, really. But learning that it's all (seemingly) about a couple living on haunted land in Roanoke was still a jolt to the senses, especially considering just how many genre elements (from paranormal shit to bearded rednecks) were used to make it clear the area is quite unwelcoming for the Millers, played by Lily Rabe/Sarah Paulson and Andre Holland/Cuba Gooding, Jr. I'm not quite sure I fully understand what's happening here, but it's all dangerous.
It was enough learning that our central characters would be fighting for their survival out in yonder Roanoke, but American Horror Story's sixth season introduced the additional provision that the season would also break the fourth wall with its documentary-style presentation. In this way, it resembles TV shows like A Haunting or horror films like Lake Mungo, but not so much true crime series like Making a Murderer, as there is of course a sense of over-dramatization. While it didn't come across as necessary in this episode, I do hope the show plays around with the format in the future, and I can honestly say it was a one of a kind joy to realize that Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson were playing the same character.
The Unannounced Cast Members
Cuba Gooding Jr.'s involvement in American Horror Story Season 6 was about as under the radar as major TV castings can get, and that's because none of the show's producers or network execs officially announced any casting. So fans had to watch the premiere to pick up on the fact that Lily Rabe is involved as one of the leads, as is The Knick star Andre Holland. (Both are fantastic, to be expected.) As well, True Black and Underground star Adina Porter is also involved as the talking-head to Angela Bassett's Lee. I can't wait to see who else shows up later this season.
All The Blair Witch-ness
Had tonight's American Horror Story premiere aired in full in any of the past five seasons, it would have felt vaguely in tune with the Blair Witch franchise. But here in 2016, we're getting an actual sequel to Blair Witch Project, which makes Roanoke _look like the most obsessive homage imaginable. It was weird enough just with all the stick figures, but that was forgiven, since those have ritualistic uses outside of found footage horror. But then they brought in a home movie shot in the woods that looked like _Blair Witch B-roll. Is the whole season going to be like that?
American Horror Story Season 6 will give you locally sourced nightmares 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.