With witches an endangered species, Cordelia's Academy in New Orleans offers them a secure haven for learning their craft. Few takers as yet, in premises very large. Enter Cordelia's formidable mother, Supreme Witch Fiona (Jessica Lange delivering another tour de force). Toughen up, everyone - witches should be a force to reckon with!
13 episodes full of feuds, treachery, gruesome despatches (here coming back from the dead seemingly a way of life). Particular enemies are local practitioners of voodoo, witch hunters and lurching zombies.
After Season 2's decidedly grim Asylum, the creators aim here for something much lighter - some of the shocks decidedly tongue in cheek, occasional aspects so OTT they will provoke laughter rather than gasps. Note what happens to highly racist Madame Delphine (Kathy Bates excellent) when she emerges from one hundred and eighty years in a coffin. She is appalled to learn who the President now is. Later she is forced to watch the whole series of "Roots". Plus the sequel.
Chillingly, however far-fetched they may seem, the historical aspects are largely based on facts, the tortures inflicted as described
Some may feel the series could have been more focussed, certain developments rather casually contrived. In one of the three bonuses, creators confess only deciding at the last moment who the new Supreme Witch will be.
Stalwarts from previous series are joined here by interesting guest stars. (Long to be savoured is Frances Conroy in that extraordinary orange wig.)
Recommended to fans of the genre, provided they do not take it too seriously.
on 9 May 2014
It kind of baffled me when I read the reviews saying that this season is nothing compared to the first... As when my partner and I had finished watching it, we both loved every second of it and agreed that it was our favourite season! To be honest, all 3 seasons are intended to differ from eachother and that's what most people probably forget. Personally I thought this season was very good and still remained spooky but had a fun twist to it as there was witchcraft and voodoo magic. Yes, it's no AHS asylum or murder house, but that's why the producers do a different theme each season! If you like all the gore and twisted storylines but still have a taste and value for supernatural teen shows like Buffy, then you will most likely still enjoy this season as I did
on 17 December 2015
My favourite season so far. This instalment is not scary as such but it is very deep and I found it quite satisfying to watch. Some parts had me gasping in shock and others had my in bits laughing. This is a fantastic season and I would whole heartedly recommend that anyone add it to their collection.
Again the acting is beyond the call of duty on all fronts and the adding of Cathy bates just adds to it even more. Jessica Lange needs no introduction and is superb in this. My goodness that woman is fantastic.
DVD set of the third season of American Horror Story - entitled "Coven". This series is about a coven of witches and their rivals, the voodoo. It's well acted and well scripted. Any fan of Gothic material will enjoy it.
You can enjoy season three even if you haven't seen any of the previous ones - American Horror Story changes its characters and plot for each season.
on 21 October 2014
As normal, Jessica Lange and Sarah are amazing. And newcomer to AHS, Kathy Bates, is also an absolute treat.
The biggest tripe I have with this season, it that it's lost most of it's "creepiness" factor. I just didn't find Coven in any way creepy or scary which I really missed, as Haunted House and Asylum both have those aspects.
The plot was all over place. Important characters and organisations are hyped up but are gone within five minutes and have no overall affect on the plot whatsoever. A lot of loose ends either have no conclusion or aren't ended in the first place.
The best way that I can describe Coven, is a version of 90210 that has Witches and flashbacks.
I didn't hate Coven, but it was by far the weakest season IMO.
Biggest saving grace was probably Stevie Nicks. Many classics are played and she even performs live which is a real treat.
I'd give Coven a 6/10
on 5 January 2015
I have to confess that the first time I watched Season 3 of AHS I wasn't as keen on it as the previous two seasons, but having now watched it a second time on blu-ray, I can confidently say this is every bit as enjoyable, and in many ways the best season of American Horror Story yet. I should stress that this easily the least scary season yet, so bearing that in mind, there is a still a lot of fun to be had here. As always Jessica Lange is the true star of the show, this time showing off just how badass she can be as Witch Supreme Fiona, but if it weren't for Lange's involvement, newcomer Kathy Bates would have completely stolen the show as Delphine LaLaurie, AKA the ultimate racist.
The characters are all very colourful and very quirky, especially when compared to those seen previously on the show, so if quirky/eccentric characters are your thing then you'll definitely have something to find here. Sadly not all the cast are given a fair shot, such as Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters, who (despite being setup as the protagonists early on) are forced to take back seat roles as they relive the romance they experienced in Season 1, but as different characters.
As per usual, the season is a mishmash of ideas, and some do get frustrating after a while, such as the search for the next supreme which never seems to end, and when it finally does you'll likely no longer care. The New Orleans setting is definitely a highlight, and places emphasis on the 'American' aspect of the title as we get to glimpse moments of the city's rich and often very dark history through flashbacks.
Overall, there is a lot of fun to be had here, and it's every bit as addictive as the previous seasons, with significantly more emphasis on fantasy, eccentric characters, and humour. The inclusion of Fleetwood Mac songs and even Stevie Nicks singing and several points in the season naturally adds a sprinkle of personality to the show, but just don't expect to see the same kind of grim horror seen in the likes of 'Asylum'.
on 24 September 2015
The first series of American Horror Stories is, in my mind, one of the best TV shows ever produced. It was shocking, funny, disturbing and downright scary at times, with a great script, original ideas and outrageously good acting. It was always going to be a hard act to follow, and in my mind Season Two/Asylum failed to meet expectations. With the exception of a few excellent scenes, it wasn't a patch on its predecessor. So I had mixed feelings going into Season three/Coven.
The first few episodes did nothing to disappoint me. Jessica Lange was on top form (isn't she always?); Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe were front and centre where they belong; Taissa Farmiga, Jamie Brewer and Frances Conroy were back from Season One (because I cannot acknowledge the ridiculous part they gave FC in Season Two); and we had Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe as new members of the cast. What could possibly go wrong?
The problem was, nobody realised that while Jessica Lange can make the phone book sound thrilling, the best cast in the world can only go so far without a decent story. And the script writers really did their best with what they were given. There are a lot of good lines.
The first two or maybe three episodes are genuinely excellent, and really had me thinking this could be my favourite season yet, but then the series runs out of ideas and things just get silly. Almost everybody dies at some point in the season, but don't worry, nobody stays dead beyond the next episode, which while innovative the first time was frankly annoying by the eleventh or twelfth. They make a big deal that most witches have one or two powers, to make the Supreme sound like a big deal, but it seemed everybody was manifesting new powers at the drop of a hat whenever they were convenient. At one point around episode 10 (I haven't the energy to check) one character basically says "didn't I mention I was the world's greatest healer?". Really? You never got brought up before? A big deal is made about the rivalry between witches and voodoo, which goes back centuries. But these great women who can raise the dead, control minds and matter, and summon Gods (and still have great hair) drop everything and literally move in together after one incident that any of them should have been able to handle. And when we meet Kathy Bates' character, I though this was going to be a treat, and she was, she really was. But half way through the series they obviously forgot what they were going to do with her, or changed their minds. Anyhow, she spends the second half generally being a bit moany and sadistic, but doesn't do anything that influences the story. There is one scene with her featuring a box which I thought was going to be a really interesting sub-plot, but they drop it as soon as it begins to get interesting.
And I can only assume that Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga and Lily Rabe either were under contract, needed the money or didn't read the script properly. And as Evan only has about 20 lines that would be hard. They did their best, but the only directions they seemed to be given were to run on set and act Angry, Intense and Crazy (respectively).
Such a disappointment.
So why four stars? Well, at the end of the day, the series still remained really enjoyable for about two thirds of the episodes, even after all its shortcomings were plain to see. The acting was still great, with plenty of one-liners, even if I stopped caring about what was happening or who was going to die next (again). If ever there is nothing on TV, I still put disk one in the DVD player and I really enjoy the first few episodes. The last three or four episodes you can just skip. I doubt you'll remember them for long. And Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy are truly fabulous, and steal every scene either of them are in. When they are on screen together it's a delight.
I still call AHS my favourite series on television at the moment. I am looking forward to Season 4/Freak Show and Season 5/Hotel. But I hope the writers learn from their mistakes and get back to the screams and delights of Season 1 and actually earning the title of American HORROR Story.
on 26 August 2014
I have watched the two previous installments of American Horror Story, which were both amazing. Coven is no different. I am not a fan of horror, yet I find myself compelled to tune into this show every week. The main reason is Jessica Lange. I can say without a doubt that I believe that Jessica Lange is the best actress on the planet. I watch a lot of TV but this show is at the top of my list.
Coven is a little more light hearted than the previous seasons, however the main horror theme of witchcraft remains with the show throughout its run. Lange portrays Supreme witch Fiona Goode flawlessly! One thing that made Coven so amazing is the addition of Kathy Bates playing the villainous yet often hilarious Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Lange and Bates have amazing chemistry delivering Emmy worthy scenes! I was delighted when both actresses won an Emmy for their characters.
My only criticism is that it felt a little rushed towards the end and I was left a little disappointed with the ending but all in all another amazing story, topped off with incredible performances from Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe. Not as good as American Horror Story: Asylum but still worth every penny! I cannot recommend this show enough!
on 7 January 2015
A wonder to behold fine acting outlandish production a sinful pleasure for those who like this sort of thing. I sat watching it after seeing the other ones and was blown away and in some ways i liked this series the best. The first haunted house set the foundation the second series primed the canvas and coven finished the masterpiece a hard one to beat but roll on freak show!
on 19 January 2015
A number of others have already noted that of the 3 seasons so far, this is the weakest. However, the bar was set exceptionally high, especially by Asylum, which was always going to be a tough act to follow. Coven is still a very enjoyable series though. Perhaps that's the problem?! Asylum was brilliant but at times downright traumatic. In contrast Coven feels slightly tame (which is saying something given some of the scenes that the series produces!). The cast are as strong as before, however, and there are some really interesting ideas planted throughout. Perhaps there's too many ideas and each one needed more time to develop. Kathy Bates' character is great, but it's almost like they ran out of ideas for what to do with her by the end. Similarly, the idea of a battle between witches and voodoo priestesses was great, but this was allowed to fizzle out when it was probably the best opportunity for the show to really flex its muscles. I would definitely recommend the series, but I have higher hopes for season 4.