American Horror Story’s ninth installment premieres.
Trailing a recent fascination with the 80s – perhaps stemming from the booming success of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” – “American Horror Story” creates a fantasy of its own, set at a summer camp in 1984 with a killer lurking in the shadows.
Each season of this anthological series takes on a unique set of characters with different relationships, settings and topics. The premiere of each season is unlike any other in that it is a fresh start and introduces a new journey for the next 10 to 13 episodes. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s ninth season centers around a group of friends who volunteer as camp counselors at a deadly summer camp, Camp Redwood.
Premiering Sept. 18, this cheesy and over-the-top homage to 80s slasher horror films has high points like the wardrobe and soundtrack. Unlike past seasons, series regulars and fan favorites Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will not be returning to play the main roles. This upsetting news set up “1984” for criticism even before its premiere. However, while this season is lacking in the charm of long-time series favorites, the season nine premiere is one of the strongest since “Hotel” in 2015.
With the first three season premieres, however, “1984” pales in comparison. While it could be considered cliché to say the earliest seasons are the best, when it comes to the first episodes of “American Horror Story”, this reigns true. “Murder House”, “Asylum” and “Coven” are outstanding premieres in which the plot, character development, cast performance and overall flow of the first episode work together to draw in the audience and leave them waiting for the next episode.
“1984” has a rushed character development that does not allow the audience time to feel attached to them before the characters are put in danger or start conflicts with each other. The plot is scattered and flows awkwardly, jumping randomly from high energy, intense scenes to calm and comedic moments between characters. The cast consists of many new actors to the “American Horror Story” series – like Olympian Gus Kenworthy and Matthew Morrison – as well as returning actors like Emma Roberts and Billie Lourd, and both returning and novel members provide a quality performance.