American Horror Story (sometimes abbreviated as AHS) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. It is broadcast on the cable network FX. 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. Many actors appear in more than one season, but often play a new character. Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and Lily Rabe have returned most frequently, all appearing in eight of the nine seasons with Frances Conroy appearing in all but two. Other notable actors such as Denis O'Hare, Emma Roberts, Jamie Brewer, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett have all appeared in five of the nine seasons.
The first season, retroactively subtitled Murder House, takes place in Los Angeles, California, during 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 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 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 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 2015, and focuses on the staff and guests of a supernatural hotel. The sixth season, subtitled Roanoke, takes place in North Carolina during 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 2017, and centers on a cult terrorizing the residents in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse features the return of the witches from Coven as they battle the Antichrist from Murder House, and attempt to prevent the apocalypse. The ninth season, subtitled 1984, takes place in Los Angeles, California, during the titular year, 1984, and focuses on a group of young staff members at Camp Redwood; a summer camp getting ready to reopen after a massacre. 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.