Plenty of praise has been, and will be, heaped upon American Horror Story, a truly original show. But it would be remiss to conclude a review of this first season without granting due kudos to the fine performers this year. In fact, many such articles could be written, owing to the more than a dozen fine players who got to shine in this creepy world. First prize should go to Lange for her crazy mother, and all of the lengths that she went to, as well as the sometimes murky motivations that led her there. It's a complex picture of a rich character, and thank goodness such a talented, veteran actress inhabits the role. In runner up status is Britton, who made fans forget all about Tami Taylor (until the inevitable rewatchings of Friday Night Lights) with her own brand of psychotic and loving, both at the same time.
As far as complaints about "Afterbirth" go, there is one more big one: the lack of Denis O'Hare's Larry. Did the character need to appear for story's sake? Well, no. And that's yet another example of how American Horror Story stands apart from other shows, which might squeeze in actors where they aren't needed just because they happen to be a series regular. Which turns this complaint into something admirable. Though O'Hare's excellence is always leaving fans wanting more, and in "Afterbirth," that more did not come.
Overall, American Horror Story delivers a heck of a freshman year, with some really interesting stories, all weaving together into a larger narrative. It takes the horror genre and proves it can be done for television. Not only that, it throws traditional television genres out of the window, building its own thing from the ground up. For that and more, not least of which is the intelligent acting and fabulous cast, it will be honored as one of the best new series of the year, a title it richly deserves.
American Horror Story will return with an all new scary tale next year on FX.