How American Horror Story Has Changed TV, According To One Star

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It's silly to think that, back in the summer of 2011, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters weren't yet household names, while Jessica Lange had never starred in episodic television before. Then came Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's American Horror Story, which has expanded into an interconnected mini-universe. Franchise vet and recurring This Is Us star Denis O'Hare recently spoke with CinemaBlend's Adam Holmes, and when asked about how he thought American Horror Story has changed over the years, O'Hare flipped his reply up to point how just how much TV itself has evolved, thanks to AHS' influence.

I think, rather than how the show has evolved, I would say how it has pushed the rest of the culture. Because if you notice, the limited series has become the basic television go-to format. Think of something like True Detective or like Fargo or American Crime, they also sort of borrowed Ryan's [Murphy] innovation, which is to start over at the beginning of the year with a new storyline, and some of them even recycle the same cast. So American Horror Story pushed the culture in a different direction and helped the culture evolve, I think.

Probably the wisest way to go about tackling that answer, since the evolutionary path of American Horror Story hasn't been its most noteworthy element across its six seasons, with the bonkers performances and insane twists overshadowing almost everything else. But even though someone could watch Roanoke and likely come to a quick conclusion that it comes from the same people that put Murder House together, today's TV landscape looks vastly different from how it did before American Horror Story came around and added a spark of life (and death) to the anthology series model.

To expound upon what Denis O'Hare pointed out during the interview, we probably wouldn't have ever gotten shows like True Detective or Fargo had the Infantata not come into existence earlier in the decade. Not to mention Ryan Murphy's own American Crime Story. And without Fargo, we might not have ever gotten 2017 standout Legion, and really, a world without any of those shows is not a world worth living in while also dealing with a major television addiction. I don't even want to continue going down the rabbit hole of what wouldn't have been created without the existence of Bloody Face.

One sure sign of proof for this has been the Emmy Awards, which had to revamp its categories and definitions for limited series, miniseries and more. American Horror Story hasn't been nearly successful with awards as it used to be, and that's because there are an abundance of shows that have embraced the release model in recent years.

One could argue that even more prevalent than American Horror Story's anthology-based inspiration is how it helped push the horror up as more of a go-to genre for TV creators. Sure The Walking Dead also helped in that respect, but the AMC series is more widely considered a survival drama with zombies and gore, as opposed to a straightforward horror thriller. (Dr. Hans Gruper is far scarier than a nappy-haired walker with a missing foot.) So without AHS doing its part in inciting TV's horror resurgence, shows like Ash vs. Evil Dead and Channel Zero and Hannibal might never have been conceived, either. It would just be Big Bang Theory spinoffs from one end to the other.

Season 7 of American Horror Story is currently under construction, as it were, with a premiere date on FX likely looming in September or October, and the launched-by-election storyline is still mostly being kept under wraps; Lady Gaga won't be under the wraps with it, though. While waiting to find out more about what's coming, head to our summer TV schedule to see what other new and returning shows (that were no doubt inspired by AHS' success in some way) are on the way.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.