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Horror Shows Take Over Television
American Horror Story: Coven

With Halloween right around the corner, I figured I’d touch upon an increasingly popular genre on television, horror. And by horror, I don’t mean vampires with relationship issues. Three of the most popular offerings on tv today are The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, and American Horror Story.  American Horror Story entered its third season this week, while The Walking Dead returns this Sunday for its fourth season. Sleepy Hollow is a new offering and is currently running its first season. Each show offers a little something different for its viewers.

The Walking Dead debuted in 2010 with just six episodes. It opened to moderate ratings but quickly developed a strong following. Its following seasons have bucked a trend and its ratings and viewers have actually increased. It has a very strong fan following, bolstered my excellent marketing by AMC with merchandise, marathons, and a pre-existing comic book. The show loosely follows the comic book. As the title suggests, it is basically the zombie apocalypse. But, unlike many movies where they try to solve it or find the cause, the primary focus on The Walking Dead is staying alive, not only from the zombies, but from the living as well.

The show has been up and down in its execution and pacing. It has gone through more than one show runner, but has maintained its following. The show focuses mainly on a single band of survivors making their way through this frightening world, and also trying not to kill one another or be killed. An interesting feature of the show is that week in, and week out, no character is really safe. Principal characters have died all throughout the run of the show. That sort of unpredictability keeps fans watching, and on edge. Its return this Sunday has been eagerly anticipated by its loyal watchers. Fans favorite characters return and a few new faces will be joining the show. It returns this Sunday, October 13, at 9 pm EST on AMC.

Sleepy Hollow is a new show on Fox. It takes the story of “Sleepy Hollow” and gives a mystical and end of days sort of feel.  If focuses around a man, Icabod Crane, who was a Revolutionary War soldier how died on the battlefield after facing off against a Hessian soldier, that he beheaded before dying. Fast forward two hundred plus years to present day where both Icabod, and the headless Hessian soldier, we’ll just call him The Horseman return to life.

As the story unfolds apparently the Headless Horseman is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death, and these are the End of Days and something wicked is going to descend upon Sleepy Hollow. Icabod is paired up with a Lieutenant of the Sleepy Hollow PD after his resurrection and the death of the local sheriff and her friend and mentor. The show weaves historical facts, with biblical stories, especially Revelations, along with some occult as well. It isn’t a mix we haven’t seen before, but I must admit the presentation has piqued my interest. The story is starting a bit more focused than some of the offerings. It doesn’t have the star power as some other shows, but it makes up for it with an interesting story and solid writing. Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9 pm EST on FOX.

American Horror Story first started in 2011 on FX. Its started as something of a haunted house story with spirits trapped within those walls and on the property if they are murdered there. It met with some acclaim and was done pretty well. Its ending was also fitting, and somewhat bittersweet, but entertaining just the same. It was known for good story and characters, as well as excellent presentation and stunning visuals. The shown is also know for is distinctive opening scene and theme music.

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The second season of American Horror Story, subtitled Asylum, marked the series becoming an anthology series, did not meet with the acclaim that the first season did. Some speak on the strange story, set in an old mental hospital. One of the interesting features of this show is that it brought back some actors and actresses from the first season and cast them as different characters. Each season is its own self-contained arc. New cast members were also added, but it seemed to do little to buoy the peculiar story that didn’t resonate with the fans as well the first season.

The third and current season, subtitled Coven, has begun. The feature of this is a group of witches in New Orleans. Several cast members return again, as well as two new Hollywood level actresses, Kathy Bates (Misery, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys) and Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got To Do With It, Waiting To Exhale).  The show was teased for a few months with what has becoming standard, visually arresting teasers shown above. I’ve seen the first episode this week, you may still be able to catch it on your local cable On Demand, and from what I have seen it focuses on a school for witches in New Orleans under the cover as a finishing school for young women. The four young women are being taught how to control their powers by a headmistress who is  a witch herself. However, her mother, the Supreme (most powerful witch of her time), comes to town after another young woman, who was a witch herself, was burned by some townspeople. She looks to change the type of instruction the young girls are receiving. Throw in an angry Voodoo Priestess (Angela Bassett), and a sadistic and brutal slave owner from the 1800s, and you have an intriguing make up for a story. American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on FX.

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