After a mysterious build-up, the sixth season of FX’s American Horror Story premiered on Wednesday night, and eager fans were excited to finally learn what the much-teased theme of the season was going to be. As far as we can tell, it’s mockumentary/reenactment/haunted house/colonial myth?
The premiere was titled “My Roanoke Nightmare,” and it followed the tale of a couple, Shelby and Matt, as they moved into an old, rural home in the woods of North Carolina. The two — and eventually Matt’s sister, Lynn — recount their story in a talking heads documentary style. Meanwhile, in reenactments, the characters are portrayed by Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Angela Bassett, respectively.
Creepy stuff happens to them. Shelby in particular is tormented by what appear to be the vengeful ghosts of the mythical “lost colony” Roanoke. Meanwhile, the “real” characters are telling the camera what happened. It all has a very “History Channel’s daytime programming” vibe, although it is pretty scary at times.
During the episode, fans and critics on Twitter were suspecting that there might not actually be an overarching theme this season — instead, season six seemed to be an anthology within an anthology. Perhaps the reenactment framing device was going to be the only thing connecting the episodes.
Since the premiere ended on a definite cliffhanger, with Shelby running into the woods to find a circle of ominous colonists, that does not seem to be the case. For now at least, the theme of this season is a true crime-esque reenactment of a spooky historical myth come back to life.
But, you know, this being Ryan Murphy’s AHS, there’s a decent chance we’ll be on Mars dealing with demon aliens and kaiju by the fourth episode.