After a first season that saw mixed reviews, FX's American Horror Story has been nominated for 17 Emmys, which is good enough to tie the critically beloved Mad Men for the most nominations overall. Among the most prominent awards the show is up for are Outstanding TV Miniseries or Movie and Lead Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie for Connie Britton, although many critics faulted the direction of the show and the performances. No matter how many awards the show wins, the fact that it's been lauded to the point of having the same number of nominations as Mad Men is already a major victory.
Creator Ryan Murphy, who also has Nip/Tuck and Glee on his resume, was seen by some critics as American Horror Story's biggest liability. They thought his particular brand of glossy, almost corny television wouldn't translate well to the horror genre. Instead, Murphy used that criticism to his advantage and created what would turn out to be a show that was so over-the-top it was just as fun as it was scary.
Like the cast on Glee and the surgeons on the soapy medical drama Nip/Tuck, it was clear that Britton and the rest of the cast of American Horror Story were having a good time with their roles.
In an interview with TVLine.com, Murphy expressed his disbelief in the number of Emmy nods the show received.
In most cases, anything that remotely has to do with horror or the horror genre doesn't usually get a lot of love for whatever reason, Murphy said. So that was a huge hurdle. I was pretty sure Jessica Lange would get nominated and obviously the special effects, but other than that I had no clue. I was very surprised.
Like fellow Emmy stud Mad Men, American Horror Story put a lot of focus on the lighting and other seemingly small details that would set the tone for the show. Season one's story of a family that moved into a house with a deranged past wrapped up completely by the finale and Murphy then announced that season two would have an entirely new cast and plot.
Earlier this year Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter that instead of returning to Los Angeles, the second season would be set on the East Coast in an institution for the criminally insane. Cast members Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe will all be returning, although Murphy said they'll be playing entirely different characters than they did in the first season. Lange, who in season one played a neighbor who seemed to know an awful lot, will play the character in charge of the asylum.
The reaction on Twitter to the news that American Horror Story grabbed so many nominations has been as mixed as the first season's reviews.
One non-fan tweeted Why was American Horror Story nominated for so many Emmys? It's not that good. ALSO why was it nominated for more than [Game of Thrones]? #Barf #Stopit
Jersey Shore's Nicole Snooki Polizzi had the opposite reaction. She tweeted, American Horror Story nominated for an Emmy?!??? WELL OBVI my fav show !!!
The winners will be announced at the Emmys on Sept. 23.