American Horror Story TV Review

My new favorite show, American Horror Story, has all the elements I enjoy in both television and movies:

  • Great actors
  • Great writing
  • Great story arcs
  • Variety from one season to the next

The premise is brilliant. Although there’s one core idea (“horror”), each season focuses on a variant of the theme (ghosts, mental asylum, witches). The primary actors play different roles in each season. Jessica Lange is absolutely delicious in every role she plays. There are some fairly well-known names: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett.

I’m keeping up with the episodes, so I am in season three (“Coven”). I found the first season the scariest, but I thought the second one was the best-written (so far). As per usual, I am binge-watching the show. I kinda want to see Fiona get her everlasting vitality, beat cancer, and remain supreme forever. I empathize with her desire for one last big fling. As much as I feel bad for the Marie LaVeau, I want to see her people lose the war. The voodoo people are kind of annoying. Enough already with their zombies. It’s like they never let go of a grudge. The voodoo people and the witches should join forces, they’d have more to gain that way. There is no reason for them to fight with each other.

See it. Most excellent.

I binge-watch TV

I binge-watch tv. As mentioned in a previous post, I recommend that you consume your television as you do your food. Pair up your television choices to maximize your emotional well-being at the end of the experience. I like to pair up a bitter edgy drama with a nice calming popcorn comedy. I like to end the evening on a calm note.

But how often should you watch television? In this age of endless choices, we can watch an entire series in a weekend. In a day, even. I often do. Is this good for me? What do I miss out on when I do? Is it healthy to forgo the art I might have been making, the social contact? Or is tv a welcome intellectual and emotional adventure, albeit 10 episodes at a time? How much is too much?

To give you an idea, I’m a serious binge-watcher. When I had a bad breakup, I watched all episodes of Arrested Development in a row. I never laughed so hard in my life. Good laughter. I am forever grateful for those stupid shows. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it was a very accelerated period. I watched all episodes of House of Cards in one evening. There was no way I was going to let my eyes turn away from Kevin Spacey‘s creepy mug. I mean, eesh. Here are other shows that I have watched through one episode after another:

In some cases I watched television while doing something else (art, writing emails, paying bills, exercise). It’s only for the highest quality shows that I pay strict attention. In some cases the series spanned such a long time that I binged sections of it at a time in between “life”.

I believe I am making active, intelligent choices about what I watch. One of my favorite activities is mulling over the movie or television descriptions on Hulu or Netflix, reading reviews, and reading about directors. I have rated almost 3000 items on Netflix, so its recommendation algorithm is uncanny. If Netflix and OKCupid combined forces, they’d form one hell of a dating company. Netflix has me all figured out. Also, binge-watching is the only way I can really follow story arc, character development, plot. If I watch episodes separated by too much time, I lose all that. My interest would also wane. I have a short attention span. It’s like picking up some long-lost thing and having to thread the needle again before the story can get going. It just doesn’t work for me.

But still, I am a little conflicted. In my metaphor of television as food, I wouldn’t eat ten meals in a row. I’d have some problems. And am I missing out on art? Exercise? Friends?

Soooo. Hm! Jury is out. I’m probably going to continue binge-watching, but I don’t have a great justification for why it is better than getting off your butt other than “I like it.”

What do you think?