I have never really been much of a television person. There was a two-year stretch where I didn't have cable at all (and may be heading back there if Time Warner keeps raising its rates). There are things I'll watch when I catch them, like "Scrubs," "Daily Show," "Colbert Report," "Keeping up with the Kardashians," "Real Housewives of Atlanta," etc. But for the most part, I'm not into it and generally just sit there when people talk about television at work.
Until I started watching "American Horror Story." I caught the first 15 minutes of the third episode a few weeks ago, and it just wouldn't let go. I've seen most of the rest of them since then. For the first time in years, I actually planned to watch the newest episode last week. I'm obsessed. I check in on FX regularly to see if "American Horror Story" will be on, and I hate all of their other programming for not being "American Horror Story". In fact, I hate everyone's programming for not being "American Horror Story."
The show is extremely weird in a lot of ways. The difficulty in understanding what's going on is what's hooked a great many of its fans. "American Horror Story" concerns the Harmon family, Vivian, Ben and Violet. Vivian had a late-term miscarriage and Ben had an affair approximately a year before the show begins. To start over as a couple, they move to a suspiciously cheap mansion in California. Turns out, it's so cheap because it's extremely haunted. A weird supporting cast of characters make their appearances in the show, at least some of whom are most likely dead (debate rages online about this, and it's never spelled out).
Each episode, you get a little more backstory about the house and what happened there. It was built by a doctor and his socialite wife in the 1920s. The doctor was a drug addict with a "Dr. Frankenstein complex" who became an abortionist to support the family. His own child was kidnapped and murdered in revenge, and he "did things" to the body. Jessica Lange, the strange next-door neighbor, lived in the house at one point, and shot her maid and husband when she caught the latter raping the former. We see the maid again, sometimes she's young and hot, and other times she's old and has a cloudy eye where she got shot.
A man named Larry was recently released from prison because he torched the house with his family and himself in it, and he has only half a head of hair and burns over 70 percent of his body. Two boys, often referred to as the Weasley twins because they look exactly like them, broke into the house during the pilot, smashed everything and got savaged by a monster in the basement. There were murdered nurses, apparently (this was in the episode I still haven't seen). Most recently, there was a gay couple who died in a murder-suicide.
It's a strange show, but it sucks you in, determined to keep watching until you figure it out. As other people have noted elsewhere, better, the show also deals in more mundane horrors. Adultery. Fertility problems. Getting swindled by your investor, and trapped somehwere you don't want to be by a down economy and depressed real estate market. Bullying, teenage mental illness, and the worries that your own child will go astray and you won't even be aware. It all makes it pretty compelling. Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. Try some if you dare.