Two months ago, American Horror Story: Coven series co-creator Ryan Murphy, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, teased fans with what to expect in the fourth installment of the hit FX franchise, stating:
“It’s set in 1950… If you look historically what happened in the year 1950, there’s some more clues in that year. It’s a period piece. We try and do the opposite of what we’ve done before. Jessica Lange has already started practicing her German accent so I’m very excited!”
Naturally, we all began speculating on what exactly Murphy was cooking for us.
The news came on the heels of news last fall that FX ordered a 4th season of its hit supernatural drama series, with the possibility that last season’s new cast additions – Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates specifically – would very likely be returning for a second trip down *dysfunction* lane, whenever season 4 goes into production.
Murphy revealed that he’d approached both actresses about coming back, and they both definitely wanted to. Although no official deals have been made public yet.
FX ordered 13 episodes.
Given that Murphy teased that the 4th season will take place in 1950, what kind of a role might Bassett be assigned this time around?
As for what the story might be, given the year, and the mention that star Jessica Lange would be speaking with a German accent, I can only guess that the historical event which will likely serve as the backdrop for the 4th season is the Cold War, which started almost immediately following World War II, and lasted through most of the 20th century, which saw the USA and the Soviet Union become Cold War adversaries, after being wartime allies. At the end of World War II, both nations emerged as the two world superpowers, as most of Europe had been divided by Nazi occupation and these two superpowers were essentially responsible for ridding Germany of any remnants of Nazi ideology, amongst other tasks.
If that were indeed what the backdrop for season 4 will be, it would certainly be somewhat in the spirit of the times, with the UK and Russia seemingly renewing old tensions, with Ukraine (specifically Crimea) being the battleground this time around.
I’ll leave any potential narrative specificity to all you historians out there.
1950 was also the year then President Truman authorized production of the hydrogen bomb, as well as the beginnings of McCarthyism.
Certainly lots of history to chew on there, for Ryan Murphy and the American Horror Story creative team to work with. The possibilities for what character Bassett could play may be somewhat limited, given the year Murphy will set the season. Or they could be limitless, if he lets his imagination roam. It is historical TV fiction after all.
Today’s news gives us another puzzle piece to consider: that the upcoming season will take place at a carnival, still set in the 1950s.
I must admit that I’m out of ideas, with this new wrinkle, as to what the season’s various narratives will follow. But the carnival aspect certainly provides the series’ writers with lots of potential material to work with.
The series’ last season – American Horror Story: Coven – is averaging 7.74 million total viewers, per episode, outpacing last season’s installment by a staggering 83% in total viewers.
This season’s cast includes, in addition to Bassett, Bates, Lange and Sidibe: Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, Alexander Dreymon, Josh Hamilton, Patti LuPone, and Danny Huston.
It is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.
The above image isn’t official by the way.