American Horror Story: Freak Show to Be Less Campy than Coven

AHS Freak Show

With every new season of American Horror Story comes some pretty spectacular new casting (NPH might be in it) and also a lot of speculation on not just what the story will be about but how dark or twisted or funny it will all be. Well, according to FX CEO John Landgraf, the new season of American Horror Story, entitled Freak Show, will be a lot less campy than last season’s Coven was, while still not reaching the overwhelming gloom and darkness that was season two’s Asylum. Essentially, it looks like it will be “in between,” a balance of sorts between the two previous seasons.

“Some years it’s going to be big and bright and brash and campy the way Coven is,” Landgraf said at TCA press tour yesterday. “Other years it’s going to be dark and brooding—like Asylum was. I guess I would put Freak Show half-way in between the two. It’s not quite as brooding and formal and Hitchockian as Asylum, it’s got a little bit more humor and a little bit more camp, but its got a brooding period feel to it also,” he said.

However, even though he did answer the question, Landgraf was hesitant to commit to his answer. He stated that Ryan Murphy’s shows sometimes really transform from the page to the screen, especially with regard to tone. (Well, duh. It is Ryan Murphy we’re talking about.)

“Having worked with Ryan now for 10 years, and I think I’m pretty good at reading scripts, I often don’t fully grasp the tone of what he’s going for until we’ve seen it executed,” Landgraf said. “He’s a guy with a specific point of view.”

American Horror Story: Freak Show will debut sometime in October, as American Horror Story always does. The new season takes place in Florida during the 1950s, and AHS veterans like Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and, of course, Jessica Lange are returning (although Lange has stated that this will most likely be her final season).

Landgraf believes that Freak Show will certainly stand out from its predecessors and that it is “going to have a really different look from a design and cinematography standpoint than any of the previous incarnations. The characters are really distinctive, really original, some are really strange, but I think really compelling, I love what I’ve read so far.”

That sounds pretty good to me. Even though I ended up being very disappointed with CovenAmerican Horror Story is pretty much unlike anything else on TV, so I know that I’ll be checking out Freak Show for at least a couple of episodes when it comes on FX in the fall.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Chris is the Managing Editor of TVOvermind. A graduate of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he majored in English and Film, he has been writing for TVOvermind for over two years and has written about several different television shows, such as New Girl, Breaking Bad, Glee, and Homeland. Contact him through Twitter (@ckinger13) or email (
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