Ryan Murphy has certainly brought a wide variety of TV shows to our screens. From Glee, to The New Normal to Nip/ Tuck, Murphy has a talent for creativity across an array of genres. The horror genre seems to be where he feels most at home though, with his new show, Scream Queens, coming to Fox this September, as well as American Horror Story season five set to premiere on FX in October.
The American Horror Story franchise has been popular from the start, with each season serving as its own mini-series, following its own standalone storyline and featuring its own characters – though they do sometimes appear in other seasons. The first season was retrospectively entitled American Horror Story: Murder House, with subsequent seasons; Asylum, Coven and Freak Show following on. The fifth season is titled American Horror Story: Hotel and features many of the regular actors from previous season – along with Lady Gaga, who makes her (extremely short) debut in a new teaser (seen below).
Speaking at a joint AHS and Scream Queens panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Murphy revealed that Gaga wrote him asking to be featured in the series and he immediately accepted. Vulture reports that her character will be evil, and will also have links to fashion because “You know, Gaga,” Murphy told the panel. However, Murphy will not be making use of Gaga’s vocal talents. Though previous seasons have featured the cast singing (most notably Jessica Lange in Freak Show), this time around music will not feature.
Speaking of Lange, she will not be returning for this season, which came as quite a shock to a lot of fans since she was essentially the star of the show, but Murphy said this gives the chance for the whole cast to shine and for the male roles to become more established. Matt Bomer makes his AHS return after being brutally murdered in his underpants during Freak Show. He will have a larger role this time around, playing the part of Donovan who becomes involved in a love triangle with Gaga’s as-yet-unnamed character and another AHS regular, Finn Wittrock.
Kathy Bates also returns, this time as Iris, the owner of the Hotel, and Angela Bassett plays Ramona. All that is known of her character is that she creates trouble with Gaga in the ballroom. Evan Peters plays Mr March, who has something to do with Room 64, and he also assured the Comic-Con panel that Hotel will be a “sexual” season.
Sarah Paulson is another AHS stalwart, having appeared in all seasons so far. She is one of the few actors whose characters to make it to the end of each season alive, but apparently this time, that won’t be the case for Hypodermic Sally in Hotel. Her character will also be evil, a fact that Paulson is relishing.“I’ve never played a bad guy. I’m very [excited],” she told the Comic-Con panel.
Other new stars to appear during American Horror Story season five include Cheyenne Jackson (Glee) and Max Greenfield (New Girl), though Murphy previously revealed on Twitter that while Greenfield’s character will check into the Hotel, he won’t be checking out again.
Murphy has also teased the possibility of characters from previous seasons checking in as guests at the hotel, and many fans are taking this to mean the return of Pepper (Naomi Grossman) is imminent, after her main appearance in Asylum and subsequent turn in Freak Show. “We have a long-term plan with this show,” Murphy explained, adding that everything will make sense by the end of the series.
A lot is riding on Hotel being a success for FX and the AHS franchise. While Freak Show was heavily promoted and featured some of the most horrific violence seen across all seasons of AHS, many felt this came at the cost of the great storytelling seen in Asylum and Coven, despite strong ratings. Once again Murphy has assembled a great cast, and Gaga will certainly pull in viewers initially. Whether Hotel can hold its own though, or get too immersed in showing graphic events just for shock value (as was so often the case in Freak Show), remains to be seen.
American Horror Story: Hotel premieres on FX in October 2015