Series: American Horror Story

American Horror Story is a Horror anthology series created by Ryan Murphy (creator of Nip/Tuck, another FX series) and Brad Falchuk (who are also two of the Glee co-creators). The series is known as a "movie buff's delight", as its plots, soundtrack and visual style thrive on numerous classic movies and horror stories (including, but not limited to, The Shining, Frankenstein, Bram Stokers Dracula, The Sixth Sense, Twisted Nerve, Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Carrie, with some elements of Supernatural Soap Opera series such as Twin Peaks) as well as pay homages to American urban legends and folklore.

There have been five seasons so far:

General tropes

  • Abusive Parents: Every season has at least one.
  • American Title: The entire series in general.
  • And Starring: Jessica Lange in the first four seasons, though she's usually preceded by someone with the "With" citation that varies depending on season(s) note .
  • Anyone Can Die: Well, this is a horror show...
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The show usually has multiple antagonists.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Seems to be a default setting to the series. The protagonist(s) is/are usually Anti Heroes, with the unambiguously good character(s) characters either get themselves killed off immediately or not being the driving force of the story.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Jessica Lange loves playing with this trope.
  • Break the Cutie: Too many to list.
  • Continuity Creep: Freak Show had a number of references and shared characters with Asylum (likely because Asylum happened a few years later, while the other seasons happen decades later). Only time will tell if this continues.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you can survive to the final ten minutes of a season, you have a chance of getting this.
  • Event Title: Technically Freak Show.
  • Fake Guest Star: Played with. Some actors/actresses appear in guest/recurring capacity but as different characters, and are nonetheless "mainstays". Most of them are Promoted to Opening Titles below.
  • Final Girl: The Lead ingenue played by Sarah Paulson is typically more sensible, introverted, and unpromiscuous. They usually live till the end. In fact, as of Season 4, every single one of Paulson's characters has survived the series, an honour not held by any other members of the recurring cast.
  • Gorn: The violence in the show gets pretty messy and visceral.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Seasons often include one, either in the flesh or as a ghost. There's Elizabeth Short (AKA "The Black Dahlia") in Murder House, Anne Frank in Asylum, the Axeman of New Orleans in Coven, and Edward Mordake in Freak Show, not to mention Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie as main characters in Coven. "Anne Frank" turns out to be an impostor with an obsession. Hotel will have guest appearances by Aileen Wuornos, played by Lily Rabe, and Jeffrey Dahmer, played by Seth Gabel.
  • Jump Scare: Again, it's a show with a blatant horror story in its title.
  • Kill the Cutie: In a series where Anyone Can Die, the likable and adorable ones are usually the most likely to go first.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Anytime Alexandra Breckenridge appears on screen. That being said, she's not the only one who offers at the table.
  • The Place: Murder House, Asylum, Freak Show (technically), and Hotel.
  • Rape as Drama: Pretty much every season has a graphic rape scene.
  • Shared Universe: Asylum and Freak Show, though Word of God says it applies to all seasons of the show.
    • Hotel will feature at least Marcy the estate agent from Murder House. Characters from other seasons are supposed to check in around the 6th or 7th episode as well.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: While this is an anthology series, some actors/actresses usually get upgraded to main.
  • Team Title: Coven and technically Freak Show.
  • You All Look Familiar: Given that Word of God said that the entire show has a Shared Universe, one might wonder why exactly certain characters looked alike. Pepper in particular encountered two characters played by Jessica Lange and Evan Peters each in the timeline, and three played by Sarah Paulson.