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1. American Horror Story

Network: FX
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Connie Britton, Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Frances Conroy
Premiere Date: October 5
Why we’re excited: Earlier this year, it was reported that Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk would return to cable, after overseeing FX’s dark hit Nip/Tuck, with American Horror Story, an enigmatic, hour-long dose of weekly, straightforward genre material. They couldn’t have picked a broader title, either; with its generic moniker, their new FX program left pundits and Gleeks in the dark as to what the hell the show is exactly.

Having seen the absolutely batshit pilot, we’re able to shed some light on American Horror Story, and, in turn, are also stoked. Dermot Mulroney and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) star as a husband and wife who, after he cheats on her, relocate to a creepy old house with their teenage daughter (Taissa Farmiga) to start over, so to speak. From there, the show devolves into a perverted spin on The Shining, with ghostly twins, a sexually motivated apparition dressed in a latex S&M outfit, an old woman who appears to be a horny maid in Mulroney’s wandering eyes, and a freaky, pint-sized demon garbed in a child’s pajamas.

And that’s just in the first episode. How Murphy and Falchuk will extend what seems to be a one-note haunted house spookfest into a full season’s worth of entertainment, let alone a multi-season series, is anyone’s guess. But, as the pilot solidifies, they’re swinging for the fences here. Jarring edits, unnerving music, and one of the eeriest opening credits sequences in years contribute to the season’s most sinister, and exciting, new show. We can’t wait to see how Murphy and Falchuk sustain the craziness, or, frankly, if they even can.

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