1. Keep putting Jessica Lange through the ringer.
Next season, Lange will “play a real glamour cat sort of lady.” I have no idea what “glamour cat” means, but I’m into it. One note, though: don’t go easy on her just because she had a rough time in American Horror Story: Asylum. Yes, humor is nice — I think we all enjoyed the song-and-dance diversion in “The Name Game.” But Lange’s been incredible at portraying Sister Jude’s descent into madness. Make sure the glamour doesn’t undermine the grit.
2. Find more excuses to get Evan Peters naked.
Know your audience. Peters is a tremendous actor — kudos to Ryan Murphy for showcasing him so well — but he’s also real easy on the eyes. There’s a reason he has so many adoring fans, even if their unapologetic devotion was a little creepy during the first season. (Remember, he was a mass murderer and rapist.) Honestly, I don’t care what it takes to make Evan Peters’ ass a supporting character again, but go wild with it. Give the people what they want — nay, what they need.
3. Bring back Lily Rabe.
I can’t stress this enough: Rabe is a vital part of Murphy’s ensemble. She’s a wonderful and fascinating actor, who has shown impressive range. I’m glad to see that Lange, Peters, and Sarah Paulson will be back, but Rabe definitely belongs on that list, too. This time around, maybe she kicks ass for the forces of good. If this is really going to be a season “about female power,” then by all means, stack the cast with the best women you can find. Then let them play in your twisted world.
4. Don’t be afraid to pull from your other shows.
No, really. Ryan Murphy now has three vastly different shows on television, and I actually think he could use that to his advantage. If any of the Glee kids ever get a day off, maybe find a use for them on American Horror Story. It’s always fun to see familiar faces in a new context: I, for one, would love to watch Chris Colfer and Lea Michele dirty it up on AHS. They can both be “glamour cats,” but really, I’m open to whatever works.
5. Be a good feminist.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t much that offended me in American Horror Story: Asylum, but as in any Ryan Murphy show, there were a few questionable moments. While I believe Murphy to be a very progressive writer, his treatment of female sexuality and reproduction is sometimes less than tactful. So hey, how about a season in which abortion isn’t treated as something horrific? Or even a season in which there’s an actual positive female character? (Lana was going in that direction, but then she sold out.)
6. Dial it back a little.
Relax, I’m not suggesting American Horror Story turn off the crazy, but maybe let’s not make it a total clusterfuck. This season had zombies, Nazis, aliens, the Devil, the Angel of Death, a serial killer Santa — need I go on? Most of these elements worked for me, at least on their own, but all together, it was occasionally a real drag. This show is enough of a success that it will likely be on the air for some time, so hey, no need to shove everything into one overstuffed season.
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