Usually we learn the premise of a new American Horror Story season late in the game but still well before the first episode airs. That was not the case this year. While pretty much everything pointed to something involving the Roanoke disappearance, advertisements for the show focused on random creepy shit without giving away the season’s premise or subtitle.
But last night the first episode aired, and we now know it’s called American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, a break from naming convention that is reflected by the show’s new format.
Apparently, now the show is sort of like an episode of Ghostfacers or something. Lily Rabe and André Holland play characters in a documentary about some haunted house they moved into. But it cuts to re-enactments in which these same characters are played by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The extent to which this season will stick to that format is anyone’s guess (this is American Horror Story after all; I wouldn't be surprised if Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson's characters are making out by the end of it), but it’s a bold move for a show most seem to agree has been dropping in quality lately. I bowed out after season two, so I have no dog in this race, but I kind of admire what they did here, if only because it provides a savvy explanation for the show’s almost parodic tone.
If you’d like a brief look at how this plays out, check out an actual trailer below. Try not to laugh.