American Horror Story: Roanoke is considered a weak season of the horror anthology, but Double Feature may have taken the label as the worst season.
American Horror Story season 6, Roanoke, was widely considered the worst season of the FX anthology series, but season 10’s Double Feature may have taken that label. Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, American Horror Story has been one of the leading horror TV series for the past decade. Not only has the show consistently developed terrifying tales that push the boundaries, but Murphy and Falchuk have created an anthology that relies on a world full of connection and interweaving themes. Unfortunately, the latest entry was a low point for the series’ run.
American Horror Story: Double Feature was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, delaying the premiere nearly a full year to August 2021. Rather than a full-length season, the tenth entry featured a new format with two separate stories: Red Tide and Death Valley. Whereas Red Tide followed the Gardener family dealing with magical black pills and vampires in present-day Provincetown, Death Valley flipped back and forth between the past and present, focusing on the existence of aliens. In doing so, Death Valley utilized a black-and-white story when detailing the origin of the Alien Treaty beginning with the Eisenhower administration.
With a large number of season entries, avid fans often enjoy ranking installments of American Horror Story. While Cult had been a target of criticism for its incorporation of politics, season 6’s Roanoke tends to take the top spot as the worst season of American Horror Story. In fact, even AHS vet Sarah Paulson has named Roanoke as her least-favorite season. Despite starting off strong, Roanoke never found its footing due to the convoluted plot involving real-life events, reenactments, and a found-footage format, surrounding the horrors stemming from a Roanoke colony. The ending was also underwhelming, detailing Adina Porter’s Lee standing trial for murders and returning to Roanoke before sacrificing herself to save her daughter. Unlike Roanoke, Double Feature didn’t carry the same kind of potential after switching to Death Valley, making it the worst season for a bevy of reasons.
One could argue that Red Tide put American Horror Story back on track, seeing as it carried a vibe reminiscent of fan-favorite seasons. Unfortunately, the Red Tide finale was underwhelming, but there was still excitement leading into Death Valley due to the focus of aliens, which hadn’t been a factor since season 2’s Asylum. There were high hopes for the aliens in connection to Asylum, but Death Valley failed to link the two seasons. To make matters worse, Death Valley lacked a cohesive story while featuring one of the weakest casts in the show’s history. A large percentage of fans hated the Death Valley ending and season as a whole for wasting the alien subplot while failing to connect to previous seasons and Red Tide. Though the pandemic may have affected the story, the entire season seemed like a wasted opportunity to build new chapters while deepening the connections to previous installments.
In addition to the poor reception, American Horror Story season 10 also received the lowest ratings for the series thus far. It will be interesting to see if the disappointing response to Double Feature will affect future seasons. American Horror Story is renewed through season 13, but the series will need to make an effort to gain trust back into loyal fans by coming up with a new season worth watching. Returning to a previous AHS theme could be the answer, but it might be too late. Hopefully, Murphy and Falchuk have enticing stories in development, so Double Features’ quality isn’t the new normal.