American Horror Story is an American anthology horror series created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Described as an anthology series, each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a different set of characters and settings, and a storyline with its own "beginning, middle, and end." Some plot elements of each season are loosely inspired by true events. The only actors to appear in all iterations of the show so far are Evan Peters, Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson.
The first season, retroactively subtitled Murder House, takes place in Los Angeles, California, during the year 2011 and centers on a family that moves into a house haunted by its deceased former occupants. The second season, subtitled Asylum, takes place in Massachusetts during the year 1964 and follows the stories of the patients and staff of an institution for the criminally insane. The third season, subtitled Coven, takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the year 2013 and follows a coven of witches who face off against those who wish to destroy them. The fourth season, subtitled Freak Show, takes place in Jupiter, Florida, during the year 1952 and centers around one of the few remaining American freak shows. The fifth season, subtitled Hotel, takes place in Los Angeles during the year 2015 and focuses on the staff and guests of a supernatural hotel. The sixth season, subtitled Roanoke, takes place in North Carolina during the year 2016 and focuses on the paranormal events that take place at an isolated farmhouse. The seventh season, subtitled Cult, takes place in Michigan and centers around a cult terrorizing a suburb in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election.
The series is broadcast on the cable television channel FX in the United States. On October 4, 2016, the series was renewed for a seventh season, subtitled Cult, which is set to premiere in September 5, 2017. On January 12, 2017, the series was renewed for an eighth and ninth season.
Although reception to individual seasons has varied, American Horror Story has been overall well received by television critics, with the majority of the praise going to the cast, particularly Jessica Lange, who won two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performances. Additionally, Kathy Bates and James Cromwell each won an Emmy Award for their performances, while Lady Gaga won a Golden Globe Award. The series draws consistently high ratings for the FX network, with its first season being the most-viewed new cable series of 2011.