Last season FX and creator Ryan Murphy took us on one of the kinkiest, sadistic and jarring journeys on television. “American Horror Story” was original because it kept us mildly upset but extremely curious to how this fractured family was going to survive their new haunted house.

Connie Britton pushed aside her career making performance as stoic mom Tammy Taylor on “Friday Night Lights” and really pushed herself each week with the series. Dylan McDermott hadn’t been this engaging in a decade. And new star Evan Peters really kept these veterans on their toes.

But it was Jessica Lange as the creepy neighbor who stole the show and received oodles of Hollywood accolades for her career resurrection.

No matter if you hated or liked the finale, it was hard to imagine how the series would come back. Could it come back? Or will it be destined to be like “Heroes” and “Damages” for having such perfect first seasons it was impossible to get out of the shadow in the second.

Well Britton and McDermott are long gone. And the series is starting over fresh with a whole new story. See the series has decided to become an anthology, one season at a time.

The season, dubbed ‘Asylum’, sees many of the original cast members and supporting players returning except this time playing completely different characters. The new series takes place in the 1960s with occasional shifts to present day.

Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude, a mean-spirited and devious head nun who runs a mental institution for the criminal insane.

The asylum also features a twisted Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) who is doing unorthodox experiments and keeps what appears to be mutations as pets.

Sarah Paulson returns but this time playing Lana Winters, who is trying to break a story on the asylum’s latest patient and serial killer Kit Walker (Evan Peters). Walker has been dubbed Bloody Face by the press because he supposedly skins his victims. But is he guilty or being framed? Also what is the deal with his sci-fi backstory?

“Asylum” is way more strange than the previous season and really has no grounding. Because it’s going in that direction will it start to turn viewers off? It’s hard to tell given there was so much going on in the pilot.

Lana, Kit and this new character Grace are probably the only characters we can cheer for. But given AHS history do we want to spend another 13 hours finding out?

The production design, oodles of plotlines, mysteries and characters make this show really watchable but I think underneath all this is there enough to sustain it. I have a fear this series is going to be another “Damages”. I just don’t feel the allure this time around.

GIVE IT: 4 episodes.


PILOT RATING: 3 out of 5


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