FX has certainly had an interesting approach to the marketing of this season of American Horror Story. Usually, the theme is revealed a decent amount of time in advance of the season premiere, and the released teasers capitalize on the theme. This year, however, they did something infuriating: they released a series of creepy teasers with no real connective tissue or indication of what the story would actually be about.

It was even speculated that the season would actually just be called ?6, because of the prevalence of the name in the teasers.

This Wednesday marked the premiere of the season, and with it, the theme, and it’s a pretty interesting one. Rather than simply focus on a single theme they went with a twofold approach. The first and most obvious one, at least initially, is that they’re going with a documentary-esque approach, wherein the events are being portrayed through “re-enactments” with cutaways to interviews with the “real” people behind the story.

As a sucker for older shows like Unsolved Mysteries, which I used to watch practically everyday during the summer while growing up, this approach has warmed my heart and piqued my interest. Call it cheesy (and it is), but there’s something truly special about horror when it’s given the context of reality. Sure, you may know the story is fake, but if it a film or series has an approach where it treats the subject matter as truth, it helps to make the mystery all the more intriguing (just look at The Blair Witch Project). such is the case with this season of American Horror Story, which has been given the subtitle My Roanoke Nightmare.

The subtitle itself reveals the secondary theme, in that it revolves around the real-life mystery of Roanoke, the very first English Colony in the New World. The colony disappeared without a trace, taking the truth with it. It looks like this season of American Horror Story will tackle that very mystery.

Looking back on all 26 teasers that was released for this season, its’ now made clear that most of them were misdirects, and only one of them was actually applicable to this season:

That’s all pretty cool in retrospect, even though I started to lose interest in the teasers, as they revealed nothing new. 

The ambition for this season doesn’t stop there. There is also a third thing this season is doing that no others have done before it: it’s tying together within the American Horror Story mythology. If you’ll recall, back in Season 1, there was a reference to the Roanoke colony. As far as we can tell, that’s the first instance of other seasons being referenced in any capacity, and based on an earlier interview with series co-creator Ryan Murphy, this may be something they’ll aim to do in all future seasons.

Last month, when talking to THR, Murphy said:

“You’ll see it this season, and then you’ll really see it after this season. We lay a lot of pipe, and you’ll see it explode in seasons seven and eight. They haven’t officially been picked up yet by John Landgraf — he and I always talk at the end of the year and decide how many we want to do. But John has always said, and I have always agreed, that this is a show that could be like The Twilight Zone and run for multiple, multiple seasons and have its own inner mythology. So that’s how we’re approaching it. I’ll keep doing it for as long as we have the ideas and the momentum. I really love doing it.”

This could be the first season that actually works to establish its own inner mythology, which is all sorts of exciting.

What did you think of the first episode of American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare? Do you like this unique approach they’re taking? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and contributor at LRM Online. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.

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