It's a happy Halloween for the folks at American Horror Story (starring Connie Britton, above). The kinky FX drama was renewed for a second season today.
The series drew 3.1 million Live+3 U.S. viewers for last week's fourth episode, its best performance to date. FX says American Horror Story is on track to becoming their highest-rated first season of any series ever.
This is all good news for FX Canada, which launches tonight at 9 p.m. with back-to-back episodes of AHS.
Apparently they're going to be dressing up in costumes tonight on Dancing with the Stars, which scares the hell out of me. The folks at SUN News get a big scare tonight at midnight when they lose their channel 15 bandwidth. Banished to digital hell! Now that's scary!!
SUN News aside, what are the five scariest shows on TV today? Resisting the temptation to put Oprah's Lifeclass on the list, here are my Top 5, in descending order:
5. Grimm (NBC/CTV; Friday nights): Despite being on opposite the seventh game of the World Series, Grimm got off to a strong start Friday on NBC--maybe because this is the Halloween show to watch if the others are just too scary. It did so well on CTV--opening to 1.53 million viewers--that they're moving it back an hour to simulcast it at 9 p.m. ET next week. More fantasy than horror, with some of the creepiness held in check due to broadcast standards, Grimm nonetheless has its moments of suspense. The idea of mashing a cop show with a fantasy series drawn from Grimm Fairy Tales does seem like a stretch at times. As my old pal Ed Bark says over at TV Worth Watching, "...it plays like a crime procedural set in Transylvania."
4. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (Space, Sundays; also on Comedy and MTV; Fearnet in the U.S.): By far the funniest show on this list. This Gemini-winner just returned Sunday for a second season. I chatted with co-creator Craig David Wallace last week for this feature I wrote for The Toronto Star. He explained how he and others were inspired by Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy back in the '80s, which accounts for the fact that there's plenty of comedy mixed in with the gore on this Winnipeg-based series. The Todd gang have fun, provide plenty of chuckles and chills and all on a Canadian budget! Now that's scary!!
3. True Blood (HBO/HBO Canada): Vampire, werewolves, witches--each season they pile on the supernatural gore. Who will hit this Louisiana town next season--the Creature from the Black Lagoon? Marg Delahunty? Somebody call 911 and warn Rob Ford! The sexiest horror romp on this list, and often the bloodiest. That's Canadian Patrick Gallagher (Endgame, Glee) getting in on a little fang time, above right.
2. American Horror Story (FX/FX Canada, Mondays): It's creepy and it's kooky, mysterious and spooky, and altogether ooky. Plus they live in the Addams Family house. Can these folks not see that? Why are they going up in the attic and down in the basement?? Get the hell out of that house!!! Way over the top, which is part of the fun. Jessica Lange (above with Francis Conroy) steals every scene as the sinister next door neighbour who makes Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard look like Glinda, the Good Witch of the East. Watch it with the sound up (the soundtrack is creep-a-licious) and the light's out.
1. The Walking Dead (AMC, Sundays). Season One was compelling, suspenseful and delivered all the fright you could take on TV. Season Two takes it all a step further. I tuned in for a few minutes last night and it looked like an entire town was being ripped to shreds by zombies. Cool!
Just good ol' fashioned, straight ahead storytelling, a simple premise taken to its scariest extreme by people who know how to thrill their audience.