1. American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
Stars: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Taissa Farmiga, Denis O'Hare, Alexandra Breckenridge, Patti LuPone
Premiere date: October 9
Crazy fact: American Horror Story: Asylum received the most Emmy nominations of any TV show this year. That's right, the insane FX series in which a nun got possessed by a devil and turned satanically horny, James Cromwell created mutants using old Nazi tricks, and Adam Levine got slaughtered by a killer called Bloody Face beat out programs like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Perhaps the inmates really do run the asylum these days.
Or, more likely, the Emmy committee's members aren't as close-minded and anti-genre as those Oscar folks. The rampant nihilism and WTF-ness aside, American Horror Story, in its two seasons thus far, has been of the highest quality, marked by exceptional performances (all hail Jessica Lange), clever storytelling, and the magnetism that comes from watching serious actors let loose in the name of anything-goes wildness.
And the latest season, sub-titled Coven, should be even more of that. Set in New Orleans and Salem, the witch-centric season will also further prove that the American Horror Story franchise is TV's strongest supplier of robust female roles. Amongst this year's cast: Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Gabourey "Precious" Sidibe, and multiple Tony Award winner Patti LuPone. They'll all go up against AHS' patron saint of scene-stealing, Jessica Lange. The results will be epic. —MB