‘My Roanoke Nightmare’ gets a name, theme and pairs Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. in a new context.
If you don’t want to know anything about the sixth season of FX’s American Horror Story, you should probably stop reading this review right here. If you’ve kept in the dark this far, why would you be reading a review anyway? Geez.
For reasons that still aren’t exactly clear to me, Ryan Murphy went out of his way to keep this AHS installment, the show’s sixth, shrouded in secrecy. In previous years, Murphy and his team announced the season’s subtitle and the cast and sometimes even characters and the kernel of a plotline. Trailers were usually cryptic and disturbing, but they also gave some conceptual sense of the season and, in keeping with standard protocol, FX usually released at least an episode or two to critics in advance, though sometimes only days before premiere. But this season, we didn’t know the subtitle, didn’t know anything about the plot, knew mostly the actors we could assume as being part of the normal AHS ensemble and the teasers, which I’ve mostly avoided, sound like they were a mixture of disturbing nonsense or misdirection or hints so broad only a few obsessive prognosticators guessed in the general vicinity and no screeners were sent out, since almost anything critics could have written would have constituted a spoiler.
After all of that secrecy, Wednesday (Sept. 14) night’s premiere quickly rushed to announce that this American Horror Story theme is “Brought To You By Mercedes Benz.” Or was that intro by Murphy not actually a part of the show’s overall mythology now?
It actually appears that the subtitle for the new season is “My Roanoke Nightmare” and I’m told some fans had predicted at least the “Roanoke” part of things. And, format-wise, the season seems to be a takeoff on reenactment-driven true-crime/true-horror shows, a mix between the sort of thing you might watch on ID and the stuff Syfy airs. Early in the episode, there was some Twitter buzz that it might turn out that Murphy and co-creator Brad Falchuk, credited with launching the new anthology model of limited series, might be doing an anthology season in which each episode would focus on a different regional haunting or disturbance, letting Sarah Paulson presumably play 10 different parts in a season, which is probably Ryan Murphy’s greatest dream. As the first episode ended very much in what looks like the early going of this circumstance, it appears that this is the story we’re following, at least until it ceases to be.