'American Horror Story' Now Has a Unified Canon

Holy shit, all of that stuff is about to matter again.

With the debut of the latest teaser for its sixth season, a defining characteristic of American Horror Story seems to have changed. When the show debuted back in 2011, AHS billed itself as an “anthology show,” meaning each season would have a self-contained scary story that would have a definite beginning, middle, and end. But now, the just-released trailer reveals that the forthcoming season will unify the storylines from the entire run of the show. In quick snatches, scenes from each of the five previous seasons are glimpsed and stitched together (somewhat literally) indicating this new season will contain elements of everything that has come before.

Fans have been suspecting some cross-season linkage for a while now, and though this latest teaser doesn’t offer much in the way of specifics, it does send the message that everything – regardless of time period – may now exist in the same literal canon, rather than simply being connected by the creeptastic tone and (occasionally) consistent actors playing different roles in each of the season.

The teaser blends Murder House’s leather man into the ghostly nun signifying Asylum, and the serpentine coven overlaps with a freaky circus tent. The process, of course, ends in Hotel’s saliva-covered key, and is followed by a feverish ride through season 6’s already-released imagery. The message is clear: everything we’ve already seen is about to matter.

Of course, it’s doubtful the new season of will require brand-new viewers to be caught-up on previous seasons, as the stand-alone quality of American Horror Story is partially its touchstone. Still, it is notable that this is the only season since the very first run that hasn’t released a specific subtitle; instead, just the wispy of a smoky number “6” has been released. If American Horror Story does offer season six which revisits the various timelines of the previous five seasons, what should it be called? American Horror Story: Forever?

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