All the “American Horror Story” seasons, ranked


The FX anthology series, “American Horror Story” has, since 2011, released 11 seasons, and isn’t stopping anytime soon. Here is my ranking of the AHS seasons, and whether you should binge a season, or skip it completely.

Disclaimer: This show is rated TV-MA and includes many themes that may be considered triggering by audience members. If you are sensitive to any of these topics, please continue with caution.

Since its premiere in 2011, “American Horror Story” has been a classic scary show enjoyed by many ages. It has won several Emmy Awards, along with plenty of other honorable nominations. Throughout its 11 seasons, and counting, the producers, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, have explored countless freaky themes and plot lines that always keep the audience on the edge of their seats. 

Since this show has gained so much traction, it inevitably receives a lot of backlash as a consequence. Many viewers seem to think that the seasons have progressively gotten worse throughout the years. Complaints have been made that the directors have chosen to exploit sexual situations as a distraction from the often messy plotlines. Though I agree that the earlier seasons are of higher quality, there is still much to be admired in the later seasons. I still found some of the later seasons quite enjoyable, even if they admittedly lost some of the horror aspect sacred to the brand.

If you ask me, the seasons that come out today are not even close to how terrible they’re made out to be. I think that the majority of AHS fans have been watching the franchise since its beginning and have simply grown out of its target demographic. This show generally seems to aim more toward a teenage audience, and long-time watchers may have just grown out of their taste for it.

But I haven’t.

So now, onto my personal ranking of all of the “American Horror Story” seasons. Be sure to leave your own ranking in the comment section! 

PS: This ranking will split season ten, “Double Feature,” into its two respective stories. I will not be including season 11, “NYC,” as it has not been fully released.


11) Season ten: “Death Valley”

I’m sure this is no surprise. This season is quite controversial for being what many call the rock bottom of AHS. “Death Valley” was the second part of the two-part season, “Double Feature.” The plot follows a group of college students who go on vacation, but end up having a freaky alien encounter in which they all end up pregnant —even the two men. Yeah I know, weird. Despite the bizarre plot, I was able to painfully make my way through the four-episode season. I definitely do not recommend it, trust me on this one. 

10) Season seven: “Cult”

This season seems to be pretty polarizing. From what I’ve heard from other AHS fans, people either love it or hate it. I personally did not enjoy this season because it was overly political. This season premiered in 2017, right after the presidential election that former President Donald Trump won, so of course, it was controversial. I appreciated how the writers showed flaws of both political parties to avoid fully slandering either one of them, but I still think it was overdone. In addition, the intense gore and detailed reenactments of real-life cults made this a hard watch. However, props to Evan Peters for his incredible performances this season not only as the lead, Kai Anderson, but also for his portrayal of multiple real-life cult leaders. That’s no easy job and he pulled it off.

9) Season six: “Roanoke”

“Roanoke” wasn’t necessarily a bad season, it was just boring. My main complaint is that the iconic theme song was cut, which I’m against because the intro sequence is by far the best part of the show. The plot was also pretty bland. It follows a reality TV show about a haunted house in Roanoke, North Carolina. It got confusing as there were actors playing actors playing actors -– it was a mess. Additionally, the gore became a little much as the season progressed. Quite a lot of insides on the outside, if you know what I mean.

8) Season eight: “Apocalypse”

This season was what many people call, “Coven part two.” “Apocalypse” is essentially a crossover between season one, “Murder House,” and season three, “Coven,” objectively the show’s two most popular seasons. It acts as a sequel to “Murder House,” picking up where its cliffhanger left off. It follows the apocalypse set off by Michael Langdon, the “antichrist” born during season one. It includes quite a lot of humor, which I personally enjoy. Though this season was entertaining, I have to admit that the plot has a lot of holes and is confusing most of the time. But at least we got more Violet and Tate!

7) Season ten: “Red Tide”

“Red Tide” is the first part of the two-part season, “Double Feature.” It follows a family who moves to Provincetown, Massachusetts. The father is an aspiring writer who is facing severe writer’s block, but later finds drugs that help him with this. However, they do have a minor downside, whoever takes them suddenly develops an immense craving for blood. This season, like season nine, was refreshing, as it in a way took AHS out of its dark ages. Well, until “Death Valley” rolled around. We got the return of AHS icons Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson. Overall, I thought the season was entertaining and I definitely recommend it.

6) Season four: “Freak Show”

The fourth season of AHS, “Freak Show,” took on lots of new creative ideas, such as musical numbers. I actually really admired this new originality. This season, obviously, focuses on a freak show. It takes a look at how the “freaks” are discriminated against and treated unfairly, which I think can also be a representation of our society in many ways. This season gets the number six spot because I feel at times the plot got messy and it felt like even the writers didn’t really know where they were trying to go with it. But I mean, getting to hear Jessica Lange’s character Elsa Mars sing “Life on Mars” by David Bowie was enough to save the season for me. Also, justice for Meep and Ma Petite. 

5) Season five: “Hotel”

This season is arguably one of the more memorable ones. It includes a stellar performance by Lady Gaga, and hilarious quotes that to this day are being spread all over social media platforms like TikTok. I loved this season’s plot, and the idea of the “Ten Commandments Killer” was so creative and engaging. I don’t think there was ever a dull moment. Especially towards the end when we got to a plot twist that genuinely caught me off guard. As far as criticisms go, I think it went a little overboard with sex and gore. But, it’s Lady Gaga, so I’m okay with it. 

4) Season two: “Asylum”

I’m sure this is a very unpopular opinion, as this season is cherished as the cream of the crop of AHS. Though I believe this season was amazing, it was a little too heavy and dark for my liking. I thought this season did a great job of portraying mental illness, and the struggles of those in the LGBTQ community in past decades. It can just be a lot to take in at once, especially for those sensitive to the topics in this season. But, I have to admit, the acting is phenomenal and the plot will draw you in like no other. I, of course, have to mention Sarah Paulson’s role as Lana Winters. Her performance was incredible and Lana Banana is such an icon. Also, bonus points for “The Name Game,” obviously.

3) Season nine: “1984”

This season is one of the more recent ones, its premiere being September 18, 2019, and it paid homage to the iconic slasher films of the 80s. The reason this season is ranked so high is because of how pleasantly surprised I was when I watched it. It seemed that the previous seasons had been declining in quality and that AHS was going down a dark path, but this season changed that. It was very entertaining; I loved the 80s aesthetic, all the characters, and the many plot twists. However, I was not a fan of the romanticizing of serial killer Richard Ramirez, which tends to be a common problem for AHS.

2) Season three: “Coven”

This season is immensely popular in the fandom, as it should be. This is a great watch for anyone who’s looking to introduce themselves to horror, and who also enjoys a good laugh. This season follows a coven of teen witches and their fight to find out who will become the new “supreme” witch. The characters are hilarious and you can’t help but fall in love with them. In addition, Jessica Lange’s performance as head witch Fiona Goode is one to remember. The only criticism I have is that it could have been scarier, as it is “American Horror Story.”

1) Season one: “Murder House”

Finally, the best season of American Horror Story has to be the one that started it all, season one, “Murder House.” There is so much to love about this season; characters such as Violet Harmon and Tate Langdon who carry the show, an excellent soundtrack, and a stellar performance from the whole cast. Not to mention one of the best AHS plot twists of all time. This season follows a small family who moves into a house, which they soon learn has a past of over 30 deaths. The scariest part about this house? Once you die, your soul can never leave. This season will take you on an emotional rollercoaster– you’ll laugh, cry, and probably cringe a few times. All in all, this season was an incredible start to the brand and is still enjoyable even eleven years later.

Though its seasons can range from amazing to what did I just watch, I’d definitely recommend you give the show a try. At least the first few seasons. My favorite part about this show is that it’s an anthology series, meaning you can watch the seasons in whatever order you’d like. Once you’ve finished your own binge, try creating a ranking for yourself and see how it compares!