American Horror Story
The current monster hit of modern-day anthology shows, Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuck’s series took the anthology format and found a way to make it flourish in a day and age when serials such as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are grabbing viewers attentions. Instead of a different story each week, American Horror Story tells a different story lasting the course of a season. From Murder House, to Asylum to Freak Show, the series, which airs on FX in the US, is one that pushes the boundaries of content to the extreme; and whilst some seasons are better than others, it is the key anthology show of the moment in modern day television.
American Crime Story
Ryan Murphy again, but this time moving away from horror into the realm of crime. So far there has only been one season of American Crime Story, but a second is on the way, with a third already in active (if troubled) development. Being a Murphy show, certain cast members from Horror Story crossed over (Sarah Paulson), but American Crime Story is a different beast altogether. With its first season centred around the OJ Simpson trial, what could have been sensationalist, tabloid television, instead became one of the best things produced last year. With a story every bit as relevant today and with some superb scripting from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the first season became compulsive and superbly crafted television.
A second season was initially set to centre around Hurricane Katrina, but that has been delayed to season three, with the second set to be based on the murder of Gianni Versace, whilst a fourth will concern itself with the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Along with American Horror Story, Black Mirror is probably the big name when it comes to current television anthologies, but unlike Murphy and Falchuck’s series, Charlie Brooker’s wickedly dark and funny satirical genre show is closest in narrative style to Serling. Originally debuting on UK television on Channel 4, the series then made the move to Netflix where it saw an increase in international interest, not to mention having directors such as Dan Tractenberg and Joe Wright attached to episodes.
The series has the unique ability to be both funny, incredibly upsetting and scarier than hell. It can go from something as desperately sad as ‘The Entire History of You‘ to the absolute joy that is ‘San Junipero’. A fourth season is on the way. Long may it continue.
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