Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's FX series American Horror Story has been instrumental in bringing the anthology format to the forefront, making campy, over-the-top horror with dark humor easily accessible as each individual story is contained in a single season. Each season is a macabre mixtape of sexually charged, violent and provocative storytelling, with homages to classic horror films like Tod Browning's Freaks, Rosemary's Baby, The Shining and countless book, music and other pop-culture references.
The first season, Murder House, established the rules for ghosts for the rest of the series. Season 2, Asylum, is a series high mark as far as content and performance and planted the seeds of what would be a shared universe. The campy Coven in Season 3 made us love Miss Jessica Lange even more than we already did. Season 4's Freak Show was visually jarring but had plenty of heart. Season 5's Hotel cemented the shared universe and expanded on the rules set in Season 1, populating the landscape (hotelscape?) with memorable characters. And Season 6's Roanoke was just a major departure from what we were expecting as it spoofed ghost hunter reality shows and documentaries.
We are now footsteps away from the Season 7, Cult, which has so far filled our screens with nightmarish clown and bee imagery. In preparation, I am ranking the very best characters of the first six seasons.
So what made one character better than another? I took into account the story arc for that character, the performance or performances (Roanoke had actors playing re-enactors), great moments and supernatural elements. There's also an undeniable diva factor that applies to American Horror Story, which adds to the characters' lasting appeal.
As a warning, there are numerous spoilers for those not caught up on all six seasons of American Horror Story.