I’m not sure if I just didn’t pay enough attention in previous seasons or not, but the soundtrack seems much more involved this time around. The music, much like the show, is whimsical at times and tense at others, but always in sync with the characters. I’ll admit I’m not much of a soundtrack guy, but this season’s music is much better at setting the mood than it has been before.
Veteran director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s direction is as twisty and well-crafted as always, maintaining the style that has defined previous seasons. Much of this style will most likely come from the colorful setting Coven has chosen to dump its characters into: New Orleans. A city with a culture and history richer than most American cities should be able to keep things feeling fresh for the season, giving viewers a breather from the claustrophobic and insanely dark asylum. In fact, the school itself is pure white, inside and out. It’s a relief being able to see all of the action for once.
Aside from the creative setting and reliable direction and casting, American Horror Story: Coven is dealing with a topic that should be interesting if explored deeply: female empowerment. Much of the premiere’s focus was on the group of witches, with only a few notable males butting their way in. One of these happens to be Evan Peters, who is mysteriously declared dead at the end of the episode. His name is in the opening credits, however, so he has a get out of death free card. This new theme is an exciting direction for American Horror Story to take, though. While the first two seasons either glanced issues or pounded them into our heads, the third season’s bowl of porridge seems just right.
Even if this season might be a bit more rooted than past seasons, everything is still over the top and out of control. Within one episode, we’ve seen a bus crash, death by sex, someone’s life drained away by a kiss and a bull’s head placed on a live slave. I say rooted, and by that I mean rooted for a season of American Horror Story. It’s odd that a real-life minotaur is hardly even flinched at by the third season, but it speaks wonders to how messed up the series has been up until now.
If you’re looking for a definitive opinion on the new season, look at it this way: it’s American Horror Story. Many elements and actors from the previous seasons have returned, for better and for worse. The plot is all a bit melodramatic and the characters might be just a little too sassy, but simply put, it’s a fun show. Each week always brings some new surprise, and there is never a dull moment to be had. Even if the premiere of American Horror Story: Coven was a bit vague about its intentions for the rest of the season, it’s clear that whatever happens will be entertaining, perplexing and, as always, sexy.