American Horror Story (sometimes abbreviated as AHS) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. 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 be present in all iterations are Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson with Lily Rabe and Frances Conroy appearing in all but one of the seasons each.
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 last remaining American freak shows and their struggle for survival. The fifth season, subtitled Hotel, takes place in Los Angeles, California, 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 years 2014–2016, and focuses on the paranormal events that take place at an isolated farmhouse haunted by the deceased Roanoke colony. The seventh season, subtitled Cult, takes place in the fictional suburb of Brookfield Heights, Michigan, during the year 2017, and centers on a cult terrorizing the residents in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse, takes place in California during the years 2018-2021 and features the return of the witches from Coven as they battle the Antichrist from Murder House, Michael Langdon, and attempt to prevent the apocalypse.
The series is broadcast on the cable television channel FX in the United States. On January 12, 2017, the series was renewed for a ninth season, with a two-season renewal alongside Apocalypse. On August 3, 2018, the series was greenlit for a tenth season.
Although reception to individual seasons has varied, American Horror Story largely has been well received by television critics, with the majority of the praise going towards the cast, particularly Jessica Lange, who won two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performances. 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.