By treating each season more like a mini series, American Horror Story (or AHS) manages to stay fresh with each year. That being said, not all seasons are created equal. Anyone that considers themselves a fan has their own ranking and we’re no different. Is this an absolutely perfect ranking? No, but who wants perfect? After all, AHS is far from perfect. So, without further ado, here is the list complete with mild spoilers:
Murder House (Season 1)
As it’s been said time and time again, you just can’t beat the original. That’s why, in the number one spot is none other than the OG of Ryan Murphy’s brain child: Murder House. The titular season drew all of us in and made us want more. We rooted for our problematic fave Tate to get with Violet and each episode was more exciting than the last. Numerous rewatchings are certainly in order. Ranking 1/7
“Hi, I’m Tate. I’m dead. Wanna hook up?” - Tate Langdon
The best episode for this season is actually two: Halloween Parts 1 & 2. AHS is known for its Halloween episodes and some of the best storytelling is saved for them. During this two-parter, things finally begin to make sense as the backstory for Tate Langdon is finally revealed. Things you thought you knew fade away and it properly sets you up to finish the season.
Coven (Season 3)
While Asylum had its merits, it’s the chemistry of Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters that has Coven squeaking into the number two spot. The season revolves around trying to find the next Supreme (as in leader of a coven and not your order at Taco Bell) and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s nothing better than a witchy Jessica Lange and her dynamic with Angela Bassett has you rooting for both sides. This is one of the few seasons where you really care about the backstories Murphy is known for highlighting. If you want to watch a show where girls rule, this is the season for you. Ranking 2/7
“Surprise, b**. I bet you thought you'd seen the last of me.” - Madison Montgomery
There were many great episodes during Coven and it was hard to pick just one BUT the appearance of Stevie Nicks absolutely takes the cake. During “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”, a true villain is finally revealed and the characters begin to work together. Its sheer ridiculousness plays up the theatrics that AHS is known for. Plus it gives the term “a stiff drink”, a whole new meaning.
Asylum (Season 2)
This season, much like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, would’ve have been much better had it just stuck with the nazis and not included aliens. That being said, there’s a cameo by our imaginary boyfriend Adam Levine. Once again, Jessica Lange is in her element and brings to the table everything you want from her and more. Much like Coven and Murder House, the flashbacks used in this season are poignant and keep you on your toes. There’s also plenty of eye candy, even if you’re not sure whether or not you should be attracted to an evil Zachary Quinto. Ranking 3/7
“I know everything, I’m the devil.” - Sister Mary Eunice.
The internet went wild over “The Name Game” and we did too. Each episode felt creepier than the last and the juxtaposition of Jessica Lange singing in a candy colored suit had us calling out for “Lana Banana” right along with her. It raised questions for some and offered closure for others, ultimately culminating in an ending scene that has to be seen to be believed.
Roanoke (Season 6)
Six seasons in and you’d think Ryan Murphy would’ve lost steam (and after the mess that was Hotel, we were thinking that was inevitable). Well it turns out we were wrong. Roanoke is set up very differently than the rest of the seasons, which may seem a little odd seeing as all the seasons are different. Unlike every other season, Roanoke is in two very different parts. The twist (which is so good we refuse to spoil it) will have your jaw dropping. This is also one of the few seasons that audibly made us gasp time and time again. No Jessica Lange which is why it simply cannot be any higher. Ranking 4/7
“I’m sorry, I just wanted to be on TV.” - Agnes Mary Winstead
What can be said about “Chapter 6” without giving anything away. If you can avoid looking up anything about this (if you haven’t already binged the season), then PLEASE stay in the dark. There’s really only one reason that THIS episode receives the honor of being the best and that’s the twist. The twist hits you like a ton of bricks and makes you question whether or not you truly know how the season is going to end. Frequent gasps of “What? How? Why? What?!” are mandatory.
Cult (Season 7)
We had such high hopes for this season. Come on, cults are some of the most fascinating entities that have ever existed. It’s always interesting to see what people believe in and how they work. Well… this season has yet to truly deliver. Each episode feels as if it’s had both nothing happen and a lot happen (which is not a fun feeling). Unlike the other seasons, this one has been EXTREMELY hard to live tweet. This has taken a little of the AHS magic from viewings. This season still feels fresh due to the influx of fresh faces over returning veterans. Cult almost overcompensates on the amount of Evan Peters compared to Roanoke… but we are not complaining. Ranking 5/7
“I mean, how many times has that ever worked for you? Five, six times max?” - Harrison Wilton
Seeing as we’re currently in the middle of the season, it’s far too early to pick the best episode.
Freak Show (Season 4)
Much like Cult, there were high expectations for Freak Show (actually, high expectations not being met are kind of a theme for the later seasons of AHS). A creepy carnival set in the 1950s? There’s no way that couldn’t be entertaining, right? Well yes and no. By including too many characters, Freak Show lost control over the storyline and parts of the season were just a downright mess. However, while one of the worst seasons, Freak Show had one of the best episodes and thus narrowly misses being in our last spot. Ranking 6/7
"For ‘Anything Goes,’ I need the magenta light to accentuate my spirited rendition." - Dandy Mott
Absolutely heartbreaking, Edward Mordrake Part 2 is absolutely one of the best episodes AHS has had to date. It actually manages to make you feel for the murderous Twisty the Clown, something we never thought we’d feel.
Hotel (Season 5)
Where to even begin… well… it happened. Haunted hotels have time and time again been proven to just work and it was expected that AHS: Hotel wouldn’t be any different. Even Lady Gaga couldn’t save this season. The “main” character (played by Wes Bentley) was downright unlikeable. Had Murphy completely done away with the Ten Commandments killer and focused on the Hotel’s past, as well as its inhabitants, it would’ve felt much more cohesive and far less blah. That being said, Matt Bomer dancing to “Hotline Bling” and the dynamic between Denis O’Hare’s Liz Taylor and Kathy Bates’s Iris is well worth a watch of the season on its own. Ranking 7/7
“Oh honey. Goddesses don’t speak in whispers, they scream.” - The Countess and “Your boy has a jawline for days.”- The Countess
Seven serial killers get together for a special dinner on Halloween for an episode aptly named Devil’s Night. It’s certainly a departure from the rest of the season but the lore surrounding big name killers such as John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Aileen Wuornos allow for a scary good time and an escape from the disaster that is much of the season.
All seasons of AHS (except for Cult) are currently streaming on Netflix. So go on, binge your little heart out.