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I will be honest with you, this is not a fresh review as I have finished this season months ago. So as the good little Silvers that you are, you shall ask “Why talking about it then?”
I wanted to give you a good first post with some content after the introduction, and a sense of what you should expect of this blog. I’m actually working really hard on Batman v Superman (Yes, another drop in the ocean of reviews of this controversial one) and as there is really a lot to say about it, I want to take the time to write it properly and talk about everything (Because I’m passionate about this universe but also because I feel there is an unfair amount of bashing). Of course, it takes time, and I couldn’t leave you Silvers waiting so long for a first post, could I?
I’ve been thinking and as Movies, Music and Games are on hold, I was left with TV Shows. I’ve watched loads and am currently watching (67 shows on my TVShowtime with 2.294 episodes watched so 2 months and 17 days so far). I’ve decided to talk about AHS Season 5 because it’s still kind of recent, simple to talk about, and worth it. Let me give you the good news that this will be a spoiler free review.
To give you a bit of an introduction, American Horror Story (AHS) is a TV Show created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, released on FX in October 2011. It is an anthology but it is different from True Detective (just to mention a recent and popular one) where the main actors come back for each season as different characters and different spotlights. To give you an idea, the most recurrent and important actors are Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe that are present on every season. Of course, Jessica Lange is a major one, but left for Season 5 and got “replaced” by Lady Gaga as the main character of the show. We can also add Kathy Bates and Angela Basset who had major roles during the last 3 seasons.
AHS is well known, but audience dropped season after season. The first one was good. Not perfect, and the mood started to vanish at some point, but it was good. Then, it started to fall down, in my opinion. Actors are talented, for sure, Jessica Lange is fabulous, but there was a problem of script and exploited material. There were some missing points on each season even though it was still generally enjoyable.
I’m not going to talk about the other seasons, and you will understand better why. If you have never watched any seasons, or if you have dropped the TV Show at some point, you can still watch the 5th one on its own, as you know it’s composed of always different and unrelated stories (even though Ryan Murphy says that there is a pattern and a link between all of them).
So let’s get dirty, shall we? This season, in my opinion, is the most complex (and darkest, but we will explore that point later). It takes place in L.A at the enigmatic Hotel Cortez, and it drowns in the detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley – awesome in S4 by the way) for his investigation on the “Ten Commander (serial) Killer”. There’s also another serial killer in the story, the intriguing and terrifying “Demon of the Addiction” who roams in the hotel with a strap-on-kind-of-drill-dildo. That gives a good mood, right?
The Cortez is the living place of weird, bizarre and scaring phenomenons along with some pretty disturbing ones. The owner and dictator of this alike manor and empire (because that’s the feeling given by the place) is the blood-lust and astonishing “Countess” (Lady Gaga).
This season has divided the fans because of Gaga herself but also and mainly because she replaced Jessica Lange. But we’ll get back to that later as well. So let’s talk first about the general mood and feeling given by “Hotel”.
It is dark. You can’t disagree with that. But not only that. I can’t help but be reminded of The Shining in a certain way. There are things dwelling in this Hotel that mess with the characters’s minds but with the spectators’s ones as well. Some scenes are truly epic and terrifying, giving this old nostalgic feeling from the good old horror movies back when they used to make your muscles tense and your pulse race. It’s gloomy, it depicts an old place, and the fact that it’s happening nowadays with people you’d cross everyday in L.A adds a dose of realism. At the same time, it makes you feel uncomfortable, intrigued and at times, even disgusted. A right mix of blood, fear and tension.
We know each season had a theme, and now it feels as if each one of these themes (and even some more) were incorporated as one in Season 5 for a bigger and scarier experience. The story line is really well written, and the main ideas have been meticulously chosen and developed. Not only that, but just like the previous seasons, you are slowly driven towards the moment of the final revelation, when you discover what’s behind it all. In this one in particular, they can’t stop messing with your perception, waiting for the very final moment where they blow up your mind. Superb.
So many characters. Well written, well given to the actors, and well acted (I can’t really talk about them without spoiling it, so you better find out for yourself). Now, all of this sounds like a Freak Show. So who’s better to be their Queen, their “Countess” than Lady Gaga herself? So yes, it does sounds like a darker hotel version of the S4 where Jessica Lange is replaced. But everything is much better in my opinion. The pace, the plot, the script, the characters.
Now, all the #TeamLange fans are gonna crucify me. But Lady Gaga is perfect for this season and that wouldn’t have worked with Lange. As I said, this is the best season of the show and I’m going to tell you why Lady Gaga deserves the spotlight on this. Damn, she got herself a fuckin’ Golden Globe !
I never liked her. Never liked her music, her style. To me, she was the foundation of the Niki-Minaj-young-tramp-generation. Even though I knew she was a true musician, playing instruments and knowing about her music (I remember having watched a video of her playing her songs on the piano and it doesn’t sound half as bad actually). But still, never liked her. I never also had a clue she could act. But you know what ? She had her place in that freak show, and now I can’t see anyone better to play the “Countess”. The season is fully bloody and sexual. Her usual style is the right fit for the show. She has this mysterious, intriguing and captivating presence. She does take the spotlight, and she acts so goddamn well! I don’t want to go through too many details about her though, otherwise I will start to spoil and I really want you to watch this season with an innocent ignorance. But among all the others actors that are incredible, Sarah Paulson awesome as always, just like Evan Peters who plays a terrifying pyscho dude, Lady Gaga is truly their “Countess”. She embraces the character. That is maybe due to the fact she is all natural in her act due to her regular style, but it works, and I thank her for raising the standards for this show.
American Horror Story does have many flaws throughout all seasons, even though it’s worth watching as it’s original and it’s not that bad of a show. It’s enjoyable and entertaining. But this season 5 is really the best one, and even if you don’t feel like watching the previous seasons, you just can watch this one as everything feels as it has been made and built carefully and precisely. We already know how good are the other actors, and on top of that, Lady Gaga is worth watching this season, at least for the curiosity.
The series has been renewed for a Season 6. With Lady Gaga again. Some rumors mention the Slender Man theme but nothing is confirmed. Honestly, I think they are doing a mistake. The show had stagnated for a while, and they should had ended it on this beautifully disturbing season. I’m afraid that they follow the same path of “Dexter” and exhaust the series more and more. The cycle had been perfectly finished, and now it feels they want to stretch it. Who knows, maybe they’ll come up with a better closing for the show, we can only hope that, and also that they don’t make the same mistakes as many other TV Shows that drown themselves in the will to always do more. Maybe I’ll get back to it in another post for the 6th season. If it’s worth talking about it.
To me, this is Gold.