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What do you when you've got a lavishly-produced pilot for a reboot of The Munsters that you've decided against taking to series? Well, if you're NBC, you burn it off on the Friday before Halloween, billing it as a one-night-only special event. And while Mockingbird Lane's mastermind Bryan Fuller still seems to think it could still earn a place on the primetime line-up, we're pretty sure this is the last we'll ever see of the new Munster clan, populated by Eddie Izaard as the vampish Grandpa, Jerry O'Connell as man-made monster Herman, Portia de Rossi as his wife and bloodsucker Lily, Mason Cook as the wolfish Eddie Munster and Charity Wakefield as the sole normal family member, Marilyn. Having now seen what Fuller's take on this unlikely project was, here are three reasons why we'd like to see Mockingbird Lane become an ongoing series... and three reasons why we wouldn't.
We'll say this for American Horror Story's Season 1 finale -- we were never certain exactly where it was going to go. And here's another thing: after a freshman year filled with freakish thrills and funny laughs (both of the intentional and unintentional variety), the last thing we expected from "Afterbirth" was that it would be so... well, sweet.
Hmm... are we positive that wasn't American Horror Story's season finale? Because last night's Tim Minear-scripted episode, "Birth," seemed to wrap up some of the show's more significant ongoing storylines. And yet there is another installment to go ("Afterbirth," natch). Sure you don't want to save some of that material for your sophomore year, Brad and Ryan?
For much of its first half, "Smoldering Children" suffered from the same inertia that plagued last week's American Horror Story. Vivien's still stuck in the loony bin, her twins -- including that apocalypse in fetal form -- are still in utero, Ben's still moping about the Murder House and the house's ghostly occupants are still trying to find ways to kill the endless amounts of time they now have on their hands. But then writer James Wong went and enlivened the proceedings considerably by pulling a Sixth Sense-style twist that revealed...
With Vivien locked up in the loony bin, her incompetent hubby Ben took center stage on last night's installment of American Horror Story. That's probably why "Spooky Little Girl" was kind of a drag, as The World's Worst Husband/Father/Adulterer/Psychiatrist mainly wandered around the house, avoiding the various phantom women throwing themselves at him and stewing over the news that only one of Vivien's twins is his. (The other -- as we know now -- belongs to Tate, but because gullibility is one of Ben's many, many flaws, he initially believes Hayden's insinuation that Morris Chestnut's security guard, Luke, is the baby daddy. Because she's been so reliable in the past.) The episode does get points for tying a classic slice of L.A. history into the show's mythology, with Mena Suvari turning up as Elizabeth Short a.k.a. The Black Dahlia, whose infamous 1947 murder (which remains unsolved) remains one of the most famous true crime stories of the 20th century. Oh yeah, and it appears that Vivien's about to give birth to the Antichrist himself. Wonder if he'll have his father's eyes?
It may have been the night before Thanksgiving, but the various ghosts and ghouls that haunt the Murder House weren't interested in taking a rest. American Horror Story aired one of its biggest (and best) episodes yet, "Rubber Man," which explored the origin behind that bondage-suited guy that assaulted Viven in the pilot. As per series co-creator Ryan Murphy's script, Chad (Zachary Quinto) first brought the rubber suit into the Murder House as a way to reignite the dwindling flame between him and his straying boyfriend, Pat (Teddy Sears). But when Pat soundly rejected Chad's advances, the suit was put aside and Tate donned it instead, murdering the house's current occupants and thus putting it back on the market for the Harmons to acquire. With that particularly mystery cleared up, the rest of the episode found Viven desperately trying to get her and Violet out of the house for good, but found herself blocked at every turn by its resident phantoms -- egged on by the increasingly sadistic Hayden (Kate Mara) -- and Ben's refusal to let her leave the state with their existing (and unborn) offspring. In a fit of ghost-inspired madness, Vivien fires a gun and accidentally hits her estranged hubby. At the episode's end, she escorted away to the loony bin to be "evaluated." With five chapters left to go, the battle for Vivien's sanity -- not to mention her babies -- is only going to get more intense.
After a few weeks away, American Horror Story co-creator Brad Falchuk returned to write the show's seventh episode, "Open House," which we suspect is the main reason why this was the weakest outing since the second hour, the last one penned by Falchuk and his partner-in-supernatural-crime, Ryan Murphy. The Harmon clan played only a minor role in "Open House" with the spotlight primarily shining on Constance and Larry, The Burn Victim Guy instead. Turns out that these two were once lovers and Larry even planned to leave his wife for the not-so-good widow next door... that is, until she set their bedroom on fire, killing herself and their two girls and giving her philandering husband those hideous scars. (So much for the original story that Larry had spun to Ben, which positioned him as the arsonist.)
And here we thought American Horror Story was going to keep teasing us about Tate's involvement in that school shooting incident for at least a few more episodes. But no, the show's sixth episode, "Piggy Piggy," opened with an extended recreation of that horrific event, in which the world's creepiest boy next door shot his way into his high school library and proceeded to murder, in extremely cold blood, the five students hiding there. Later that day, Tate was gunned down by the police in his bedroom at the Murder House, where he was living at the time along with his mother Constance and sister Addie. Although we had suspected that Tate had been a ghost all along, it was news to his girlfriend Violet, who understandably freaked out and made another suicide attempt that her phantom paramour saved her from in the nick of time. It's certainly not like her parents were offering their daughter much help -- Vivien's still hung up on the baby (at least, that's what we hope it is...) growing in her uterus, while Ben found himself preoccupied with a new patient (played by Modern Family Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet) and his estranged wife's too-cozy relationship with Morris Chestnut's studly security guard. Not that he has much of a leg to stand on when it comes to maintaining the sanctity of their marriage -- after all, the evidence of his indiscretion is still buried underneath the gazebo in the backyard.
American Horror Story went full-on Shining in the second and concluding chapter of its two-part "Halloween" centerpiece. The various ghosts that have been popping up all season long, from Moira the Maid to Chad the Fluffer, descended on the Murder House en masse last night, causing plenty of headaches for the increasingly unhinged Harmon clan. A few new phantom faces joined in the haunting, most notably Ben's recently deceased ex-lover Hayden and a group of high school students who credit Tate with their ethereal state of being. Speaking of Violet's creepy boyfriend, episode scribe Tim Minear dropped a doozy of a revelation on us concerning his lineage: it turns out that Tate is Constance's son. Though the episode was light on deaths (apart from the folks that are already dead, of course) -- a rarity for a Minear-scripted outing -- story nuggets like that made "Halloween Part II" the most substantive info-dump we've received so far.
Since it premiered on October 5, FX's American Horror Story has steadily grown into one of the network's most popular shows, hovering around the 3 million viewer mark weekly. Last week's episode, the first of a two-part Halloween-themed frightfest, proved particularly popular and so FX wasted little time announcing a second season filled with more thrills, chills, chuckles and dudes in rubber suits. ("Halloween Part 2" airs tonight at 10 PM.) Stars Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott -- who play estranged husband-and-wife Vivien and Ben Harmon who are forced to deal with the bizarre goings-on in their new home, the so-called "Murder House" -- recently spoke with the press about the show's complex mythology, how they balance the humor and horror and the paranormal activity they've encountered in real life.
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