AHS: Coven (2013)

A dark-tripped, sumptuous chef-d’oeuvre boasting sadistic witchy horror from its New Orleans-set voodoo-heavy setting with silent-film homages, experimental drum-swirling score, and phenomenal Taissa Farmiga-led performances. 8.5/10

Plot Synopsis: After 300 years of witches living in secrecy, new attacks have both threatened their survival and foced “gifted” girls to attend a special school for safety in AHS’ 3rd season.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review: A magnificent, blurry magic-riddled chef d’oeuvre with primal dark-tripped sadistic witchy horror from its first Greek mythological Minotaur opening scene, AHS has found its stride with two masterful seasons of auteurist television in a row. Filled with silent film/nostalgic homages in mise-en-scene & camerawork like rarely-seen iris-ins & outs, fantastic setting in richly-historic/haunted New Orleans cityscapes and swampy cabins for a twisted (more realism-centric/darker, new) version of the Harry Potter story for covens & witches, brutality in voodoo/black magic macabre, a lifetime score of experimental chime-y innnovation pushing genre boundaries with indie drum-heavy swirling stylism, oppression and youth-chasing themes + social commentary amongst an impressive power dynamic/society under the Supreme, some fantastic horror side-arcs like the magnificent Zombie and Axeman + Seven Trials ones, & a phenomenal cast * performances even arguably outdoing Asylum with the incredible addition of modern-Scream Queen Emma Roberts to its seasoned Emmy-worthy ensemble of Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, & Lily Rabe playinh off a career-defining lead performance by nihilistically-innocent Taissa Farmiga’s Zöe magnificently character-developed across the 13-episode arc for peak coming-of-age story payoff and an intriguing cast of dark arts students torn between the worlds of frat parties and tradition. Flaws include Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie – who, while nicely-powered and given adequate backstory writing, sticks out like a sore thumb being clearly not the same level in performance as the rest of the series’ ensemble, the Academy could’ve used a few more students to spice up the cast, and AHS’ decision to focuses more on storytelling than the horror its title promises this season (respectably-ballsy and a great season of television by all marks any critic can appreciate but might bewilder some fans expecting Asylum-ic horror sequences).

Official CLC Score: 8.5/10