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American Horror Story: Best Episode In Each Season (According To IMDb)

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 11/24/2022 Kevin Pantoja
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FX's American Horror Story became one of the most talked-about and influential television shows of the 2010s. Created by Ryan Murphy, the anthology horror series was led by his creative mind and a fantastic ensemble cast. It featured top-notch talents like Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Emma Roberts, Sarah Paulson, and more.

The intriguing thing about the show's premise was that each season would tell a different story. The cast mostly stuck around, but each played someone different as the series covered a haunted house, mental asylum, slasher story, and more. We thought it would be interesting to see which episodes in each season, based on their rating on IMDb.

Updated on November 24th, 2022, by Kevin Pantoja: FX recently completed season 11 of the acclaimed and hit anthology series American Horror Story. Despite its success, not every season of the show has been considered great by critics and fans. That means that certain seasons have had higher highs and lower lows than others. Still, each season's very best episode received an impressive score with IMDb users even if the rest of the episodes didn't. For the best seasons, the highest rating is indicative of how great it all is.

Season 11: NYC

The Body (7.1)

Unfortunately, the most recent season of American Horror Story has the disappointing case of being the one with the least impressive best episode. IMDb ratings across the board were lower for season 11 on average than in previous years.

RELATED: 10 Horror Movies & TV Shows Set In New York Like AHS: NYC

"The Body" episode of NYC involved the finding of a dead body and the story of how it got there. The New York City setting was used well while the installment was also praised for the backstory it gave to key characters like Patrick and Sam.

Season 5: Hotel

Battle Royale (8.2)

The fifth season of American Horror Story was subtitled "Hotel," and took place inside the mysterious Hotel Cruz in Los Angeles. While this was the first season to not include Jessica Lange or Frances Conroy, it did bring in Lady Gaga for a memorable turn.

"Battle Royale" was the penultimate installment. It was praised for the way that it brought key elements of the plot together to set the stage for a thrilling finale. Fans also loved the surprise appearance of Queenie, a character from the third season. Though this episode drew a series-low (for the time) 1.84 million viewers, it was a strong edition that helped bump the audience back over 2 million for the finale.

Season 7: Cult

Mid-Western Assassin (8.1)

With more ratings than "Battle Royale," season 7's "Mid-Western Assassin" comes in slightly ahead. Dubbed American Horror Story: Cult, this set of episodes was something completely different. Instead of a traditional horror setting, it centered around the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Cult added Alison Pill and Billie Lourd to the star-studded cast. "Mid-Western Assassin" was the sixth episode and it dealt with the controversial subject of a mass shooting. It was especially touchy since it aired just days after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Audiences appreciated the subject matter and the episode was praised by most outlets.

Season 6: Roanoke

Chapter 6 (8.3)

American Horror Story: Roanoke was another case of Ryan Murphy trying something new. Details about the plot were kept secret coming in. The first half was a paranormal documentary, while the back half was a found-footage take on the attempts to film the documentary's sequel.

RELATED: 10 Horror Movie References Made In Roanoke You Didn't Notice

Each episode in this season was simply named for chapters, so "Chapter 6" was obviously the sixth episode. This was where the format moved over to the found-footage style. Fans seemed to like the concept and a lot of positive words were said about the work by the iconic Angela Bassett, who directed the episode.

Season 3: Coven

Head (8.3)

Season 3 of American Horror Story was known as "Coven" and centered around a group of witches in New Orleans. It was the first season to introduce recurring cast members like Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe. "Head" was the ninth installment.

This episode saw a lot of story threads move forward with the finale on the horizon. Cordelia recovered from a vicious attack, while Fiona looked to form an alliance with Marie Laveau. The most memorable bit was Queenie forcing the severed head of Delphine to watch civil rights news footage. It was wacky and showed that the series could go that route when it needed to.

Season 9: 1984

Final Girl (8.3)

The most recent entry on this list, "Final Girl" was the season finale of American Horror Story: 1984. This season was influenced by the popular slasher films of the decade like Friday the 13th. The title of the episode was a reference to the trope surrounding the girl who survives at the end of these stories.

What made "Final Girl" so unique was the way it played with the timelines. Part of the story took place in 2019, while the rest was in 1989. This wrapped up the arcs for characters like Benjamin Richter, Brooke Thompson, and Montana Duke. It also gave us one of the most heartwarming endings to any AHS season.

Season 1: Murder House

Smoldering Children (8.4)

When American Horror Story first hit the scene, it was unlike anything else on television. Known as "Murder House," this inaugural tale focused on a family who moves into a home that is haunted. We watched as stories unfolded involving some of the former residents.

RELATED: 10 Murder House Easter Eggs That Show Up In Later Seasons

"Smoldering Children" explained the origins behind Larry's significant burns and told another sad story for someone who lived at the house in the past. The hour was praised for the way it continued to throw surprises into the mix such as the revelation that Violet never survived her suicide attempt. She was a ghost just like Tate. That's all just the tip of the iceberg for this enthralling episode.

Season 10: Double Feature

Gaslight (8.5)

Season 10 marked an interesting change of pace for American Horror Story. One criticism the show often faced was that it crammed a few too many storylines and ideas into one season. So, this season was split into two tales, which allowed those concepts to breathe.

The first half focused on vampires and the penultimate installment in that section was "Gaslight." It was a high point of the season and felt like the culmination of the story with Alma officially becoming a villain and her mother Doris tragically being let go to become a pale vampire creature.

Season 4: Freak Show

Orphans (8.7)

The tenth edition of American Horror Story: Freak Show was titled "Orphans." This season was set in the 1950s and followed one of the last freak shows in the country. It also boasted Twisty the Clown, who was arguably the most terrifying character in the history of the series.

"Orphans" did a lot for American Horror Story. Along with a great performance from Naomi Grossman and some frightening moments, this installment made history. It marked the first time that two seasons intertwined, as characters from Asylum appeared. It let the audience know that this was all one shared universe.

Season 2: Asylum

The Name Game (8.9)

American Horror Story: Asylum was one of the wildest seasons in history. Aliens, exorcisms, serial killers, gruesome experiments, and more. "The Name Game" was the tenth episode (clearly a good number for the show), and is named after the 1964 song with the same title.

For most characters, this installment marked a turning point. Sister Jude was subjected to the treatments usually reserved for patients, while Dr. Thredson got closer to killing Kit. The storylines regarding Dr. Arden's experiments and Mary Eunice being possessed were also wrapped up.

Season 8: Apocalypse

Return To Murder House (9.2)

The middle seasons of American Horror Story were met with less positive reviews than the earlier ones. Season eight attempted to right the ship by pulling off a crossover. American Horror Story: Apocalypse brought together characters from both Murder House and Coven. It was a rousing success and an improvement on previous seasons.

"Return to Murder House" was the sixth episode (directed by series vet Sarah Paulson) and it did exactly what the title laid out. We got back to the setting of the first season and saw the return of Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, and Jessica Lange. In fact, Lange earned an Emmy nomination for this episode. Combining two of the most popular seasons led to a high point for AHS.

NEXT: 10 Most AHS Powerful Witches, Ranked

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