Over the next few months, we’ll see new series soar, old series sour, and so much Jersey Shore madness, we’ll want to shower. Let’s face it: The Fall TV season is intimidating. With dozens of new and returning shows hitting our small screens, we know we have some big choices to make. So, to help you determine what to watch, we’re digging deep into the most notable series premiering this season. Where did each show leave off? Where is it headed? And who should you watch it with? Today, we're checking out the return of American Horror Story now that it has buried the gimp in the leather suit and moved into an insane asylum. Are you quaking in your boots?
Series: American Horror Story
What Comes After the Colon?: Asylum
Premiere Date: Wednesday, October 17, at 10 PM on FX
Log Line: New story, new cast, new location, new ghosts, new bad accent for Jessica Lange, same old scariness.
Murder's In the House: This time around, instead of the California "Murder House" with all its deceased residents, the show is investigating Briarcliff, a former tuberculosis ward that became a mental institution in the 1960s that sounds like it's the name of a secretarial school. In modern America it is an abandoned, graffiti-covered relic much like an empty warehouse or Detroit.
Who Is Back: Jessica Lange, of course, this time playing a patrician New England nun named Sister Jude who has a bad attitude and lust in her heart. Sarah Paulson, who played a psychic last season, has an expanded role as Lana, a reporter who wants to expose what is going on at Briarcliff. Evan Peters, who was the man in the rubber suit is now Kit Walker a man who may or may not have murdered his wife. Zachary Quinto, one of the dead bickering gay lovers, is now a psychiatrist on staff at the hospital. Oh, and Ryan Murphy says that Dylan McDermott will be back in some capacity this year. As long as we get to see Dylan McDermott's back side, then everything is fine.
Who Is New: Shakespeare in Love star Joseph Fiennes is Sister Jude's scratch post as the cleric who runs the asylum, Babe lover James Cromwell is this year's creepy doctor who lurks in the basement, Argo escapee Clea DuVall is Lana's lesbian lover, Big Love sisterwife and hipster queen Chloe Sevigny plays a nymphomaniac, Lily Rabe as a stupid nun. Oh, and let's not forget Jenna Dewan (aka Mrs. Channing Tatum) and The Voice chair spinner Adam Levine as a pair of lovers visiting the asylum.
The Serial Killer: This year the big baddie is "Bloody Face," a creepy serial killer who skinned his victims and wears a corpse's bloody face as a mask.
Things in This Season that Ryan Murphy Is Obsessed With: Redheads, gay people, people with developmental disabilities, mean old blonde ladies, uniforms, bondage, S/M.
Worst Dirty Talk: "Do you want to do it in the death chute?" "Ready for an injection?" "Do it again and I'll blow you." "You can totally put it in my ass right now." "You can shave me bald as a cucumber and I'll still be the hottest tamale in this joint."
References to Women Receiving Anal Sex: Two.
Butt Shots: Two.
Sexual Encounters: Four.
Crazy Head Contraptions Like in Clockwork Orange: Two.
Worst Time Travel Joke: "30 cents a gallon? Just because you're out here in the sticks doesn't mean you can gouge people."
Creepiest Place Always: The woods. Nothing good ever happens in the woods in horror movies. It's not like that's where the teddy bears are having their picnic. People are always dying in them there woods.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: FX]
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Randolph Smiley (Robin Williams) is on top of his game--he's the eponymous star of the highest rated kid's TV show Rainbow Randolph has his own Times Square billboard and makes lots of money. Until that is he gets caught taking bribes from stage parents. Suddenly he becomes the social pariah of the millennium and of course gets canned. Losing Rainbow Randolph however leaves the network in a bind. Now they have to find a squeaky-clean replacement pronto. Enter Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton) and his alter-ego Smoochy an abnormally large fuschia rhino who sings children's songs about kicking drug habits and stepdads who aren't mean but simply adjusting. With his naivete unwavering ethics and unflagging ambition to make the world a better place he becomes the new number one show. Sheldon soon learns however how cutthroat children's entertainment can be as the powers that be try to corrupt his ideals. Meanwhile a homeless Randolph makes it his number-one priority to destroy the bastard who stole his life. Who's going to get Smoochy first the corrupt businessmen or crazy Rainbow Randy? Stay tuned...
When you hear the Smoochy cast list--Williams Danny DeVito Jon Stewart Catherine Keener--you automatically think mondo laughs. Added to the list is Norton who may not be known for his comedic talents but certainly adds credibility to the movie especially given that he rarely picks bad scripts. Luckily no one disappoints. Norton plays the straight guy with aplomb and shines brilliantly when singing his sappy yet lesson-filled songs. Keener whom we haven't seen since her Oscar-nominated turn in Being John Malkovich is also a standout as the jaded development VP who falls for Sheldon's sweet manner. She has an uncanny way of delivering lines that bite to the bone. And then there's Williams--as always he has extraordinary moments of sheer hilarity in the film. This isn't one of those films where the comedian has to attempt to act or simply be reined in by the director (as some have done) to give a good performance. Director DeVito (who also plays the greedy agent) is wise enough to simply turn the camera on the comedian and let him go. Just wish we could have seen more of him.
Ever wonder what it would be like to kill Barney? We're betting DeVito thought about it quite often--and things never turn out good for that purple dinosaur. The premise of Smoochy is one of the funnier ones in recent memory and seems to follow the dark comedic path DeVito has chosen in his other directorial efforts including War of the Roses and Throw Momma From the Train. Unfortunately Smoochy doesn't quite hold up to its hype (or its trailers) because basically it focuses on the wrong character. It's got some great moments granted especially when Smoochy is on his show. But instead of being about Randy's obsession to do away with his replacement the film chooses to follow Mopes and deal with the dirty business of making a kid's show which appears to involve the Mob (whatever). Smoochy would have been a lot funnier if Randolph could have finally succeeded in his quest instead of getting all sappy.