Halloween Feels Lonely Without ‘American Horror Story’

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Fall is a season defined by its own rituals. Breaking out the pumpkin spice lattes, bailing on plans to go apple picking, picking out the perfect horror movie — these activities more than any leaf change or cozy sweater let you know that it’s finally Autumn. But there’s one Halloween tradition we’re all going to have to go without this year, and it’s one that hurts. For the first time in nine years fans will have to celebrate the Halloween season without a new installment of American Horror Story.

Any show that’s been on the air for roughly a decade becomes a television staple. But there’s something special about American Horror Story. Watching Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s revolving door of fabulous celebrities act their skin off (sometimes literally) has become a sport in and of itself. Exactly when will this new season go off the rails and devolve from something cool to something completely bonkers? Which AHS alum will appear unannounced for a few episodes to delight fans? Will the ending make sense? Most fans know that the answer to that all-important final question will be a resounding “no,” but there’s always the hope something will change. After all, going on the journey is half the fun.

That’s what has set American Horror Story apart over the years. It’s not just that the FX anthology series remains one of the few successful horror dramas ever created. It’s that during a time defined by streaming, AHS has maintained its status as appointment television. No matter how you watch American Horror Story, you’re going to be shocked. This is a drama that once featured a character having a sensual romance with a Minotaur and hung another character from an attic using skin hooks. There’s always going to be something wild. But watching that insanity live alongside countless other fans on Twitter and Reddit triggers the same adrenaline rush as watching a football game. In both instances you have no idea what’s going to happen, who’s going to get hurt and who’s going to emerge as the winner. You just know you can’t look away.

And then there’s the discourse. As every sporting fan understands, each season brings with it the same tired arguments that somehow never become boring. Every season of American Horror Story revives the debate about whether Coven or Asylum is the best season (the answer is Asylum). Each new episode will inspire fans to bash Freak Show, Roanoke, and Cult. Those takes will then encourages the opposite reaction, fans that claim the most divisive seasons in the show’s history are actually misunderstood. There will be calls for Jessica Lange to return, for Sarah Paulson to scream more, and an inevitable ranking of AHS‘ limitless pool of talented thirst traps. Those arguments will hold fans over in the days between new episodes, and then the cycle will repeat itself. Meme-filled reactions to new insanity, hot takes, tired arguments, and then another twisting episode.

None of that is happening this year. Thanks to COVID-19 delays, Season 10 of the series is set to premiere sometime in 2021. There have been other horror series that have premiered that have helped fill the AHS-shaped hole in our lives, like Ratched and The Haunting of Bly Manor. But it’s not the same. No other show can replicate the addicting, wild messiness of this fall staple. For almost a decade now half the fun of Halloween TV has revolved around bickering about American Horror Story. 2020 has taken even that simple, silly pleasure away.

Where to stream American Horror Story

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