All 12 American Horror Story Seasons Ranked From Worst to Best

All 12 American Horror Story Seasons Ranked From Worst to Best — Where Does AHS: Delicate Fall?

All 12 American Horror Story Seasons Ranked From Worst to Best — Where Does AHS: Delicate Fall?
With the American Horror Story: Delicate finale now behind us, we’ve officially experienced 12 full seasons of the FX anthology series. So let’s crown a Supreme, shall we?

It feels like the horror titan has thrown just about everything at us by now — from ghosts and demons to witches and vampires to cults and killers. And just like in SNL‘s “Pilates” sketch, “sometimes Kaia Gerber.”

One quick note: For the purposes of this list, we’re counting both parts of Double Feature (Red Tide and Death Valley) as separate seasons, since they were presented as two complete — albeit slightly truncated — stories.

Actually, one more note: This is all supposed to be fun, so don’t get upset if your favorite season isn’t ranked as highly as you’d prefer. It’s not worth your energy.

Read on to see how we ranked all 12-ish seasons of American Horror Story, then drop a comment with your own order.

13. RED TIDE (SEASON 10, PART 1)

13. RED TIDE (SEASON 10, PART 1)

13. RED TIDE (SEASON 10, PART 1)
Simple and spooky, the first half of Season 10 felt like a return to form for the long-running franchise, delivering the same energy that drew us to the series in the first place. It even got bonus points for letting us spend time with delicious characters like Frances Conroy’s eccentric Belle Noir and Leslie Grossman’s no-B.S. Ursula.

But as the six-episode saga slumped towards the finish line, culminating in a rushed finale that left way too many loose ends untied, we couldn’t help but wonder: Did the writers stop taking their little black pills?

12. NYC (Season 11)

12. NYC (Season 11)

12. NYC (Season 11)
In many ways, the feeling of existential dread looming throughout Horror Story’s eleventh season remains unmatched. Of course, it’s hard to beat the chilling tale of a serial killer targeting gay men in 1980s New York City, coinciding with the birth of the AIDS epidemic. Throw in a Cruising-esque mystery (via Russell Tovey as a down-low detective) and a leather-clad nightmare worthy of the Horror Story Hall of Fame, and you’ve got all the makings of a terrific season.

As with several seasons before it, however, AHS: NYC had all the right ingredients — it just needed more time to bake. Many of the characters fell flat, the plot was all over the place, and most viewers weren’t quite sure what to take away from the experience. Can we also deduct points for overpromising on Patti LuPone, who should have had far more screen time as bathhouse crooner Kathy Pizazz? The fact that the season was quickly burned off in two-hour installments over five weeks also suggested a knowing lack of faith from the Powers That Be.

11. DELICATE (Season 12)

11. DELICATE (Season 12)

11. DELICATE (Season 12)
Oh, you want to talk squandered potential? Let’s get into it.

Based on Danielle Valentine’s Delicate Condition, this female-driven season followed an ancient coven of super-powered beings — led by Siobhan, played by a well-meaning but underwhelming Kim Kardashian — who orchestrate the birth of their demonic messiah via the womb of a desperate actress (Emma Roberts). It’s an absolutely bonkers concept with endless potential for entertainment… so why was it so boring? What could have been a tight, thrilling two-hour experience was instead stretched over nine agonizing weeks.

10. DEATH VALLEY (SEASON 10, PART 2)

10. DEATH VALLEY (SEASON 10, PART 2)

10. DEATH VALLEY (SEASON 10, PART 2)
The black-and-white portions of this sci-fi throwback were fun, and Lord knows Sarah Paulson did what she could as Mamie Eisenhower, but this Horror Story — more than any others — felt especially unfinished.

So many concepts were hinted at but never fully explored, a strong example being the reptilian aliens who weren’t even addressed until the final hour. Considering fans have been waiting for a full-blown alien season since the Asylum days, they deserved something more concrete than this four-episode dip into the extraterrestrial pond.

9. FREAK SHOW (SEASON 4)

9. FREAK SHOW (SEASON 4)

9. FREAK SHOW (SEASON 4)
On paper, an old-timey traveling “freak show” should have been a slam dunk for American Horror Story, providing endless possibilities for tricks and treats. And don’t get us wrong, the season wasn’t entirely without merit; Twisty the Clown was iconic from his very first stab, and we remain in awe of Sarah Paulson’s work as conjoined twins Bette and Dot.

But just like Elsa Mars’ shortsighted leadership, this season’s ambition proved to be its own undoing. An endless parade of half-baked villains and needlessly complicated side stories among the “freaks” weighed down what could have been a solid season.

8. 1984 (SEASON 9)

8. 1984 (SEASON 9)

8. 1984 (SEASON 9)
After an over-the-top season as grand in scope as Apocalypse, the show opted to narrow its focus for 1984, limiting the escapades to the confines of a sexy slasher summer camp. (OK, it was just a regular summer camp. The “sexy” and “slasher” parts came later.)

But even with its engaging cast of eccentric ’80s stereotypes, the season’s whole die-revive-repeat concept grew stale very quickly.

7. ROANOKE (SEASON 6)

7. ROANOKE (SEASON 6)

7. ROANOKE (SEASON 6)
Easily the most divisive season American Horror Story has ever thrown our way, Roanoke was part-reality show, part-traditional spookfest — and all completely insane. Seriously, a dramatic reenactment of a bloody haunting that somehow ends at… Paleyfest? What were those writers smoking, and how do we get our hands on some of that good stuff?

The whole thing also felt very actors-on-actors, with Sarah Paulson playing Lily Rabe and Angela Bassett playing Adina Porter, to name just a few powerhouse pairings. And we dare you to complain about that.

6. CULT (SEASON 7)

6. CULT (SEASON 7)

6. CULT (SEASON 7)
American Horror Story said sayonara to the supernatural in Season 7, opting to tackle something far more terrifying: America’s political landscape circa late 2016. The whole thing felt way too real, even if Kai showing his devotion to Trump by literally rubbing Cheetos into his skin was a little on the nose.

And despite a few questionable tangents, we also have to commend Cult for delivering a full-circle, satisfying conclusion — a true rarity in this anthology series.

5. APOCALYPSE (SEASON 8)

5. APOCALYPSE (SEASON 8)

5. APOCALYPSE (SEASON 8)
Apocalypse essentially served as a follow-up to Coven, bringing back several beloved characters from Miss Robichaux’s Academy, while also introducing fans to a new generation of witches, warlocks and even the literal Antichrist.

Throw in some memorable returns from much-missed faces like Connie Britton and Jessica Lange (“I’m Constance Langdon, and this is my f–king house!”), and you had yourself a recipe for pure fan service. Sure, the whole “end of the world” thing was sidestepped pretty conveniently, but something tells us this story isn’t over yet.

4. HOTEL (SEASON 5)

4. HOTEL (SEASON 5)

4. HOTEL (SEASON 5)
Hotel marked the first season of American Horror Story‘s post-Jessica Lange era, and we certainly had our concerns. But Lady Gaga proved every bit her worthy successor with a Golden Globe-winning performance as The Countess, an intoxicating character with a unique lust for life.

If only the rest of the Hotel Cortez’s happenings — from that drawn-out serial killer mystery to those endless barstool monologues — were as sharp as The Countess’ signature nails, this season might have landed a few notches higher.

3. COVEN (SEASON 3)

3. COVEN (SEASON 3)

3. COVEN (SEASON 3)
This bewitching season marked AHS‘ first major gamble, tossing a generous helping of camp and comedy into the usual mix of carnage and creepery. And that gamble paid off big time, resulting in one of the show’s highest-rated seasons that viewers couldn’t get enough of — hence many of the characters returning five years later for Apocalypse.

Jessica Lange was at the top of her game as HBIC Fiona Goode, Angela Bassett was divine as Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and Kathy Bates crossed every line imaginable as the irredeemable Delphine LaLaurie. And those are only a few highlights of this delicious cast, which also included Frances Conroy as Myrtle Snow, Sarah Paulson as Cordelia Foxx and Stevie Nicks as herself.

(For what it’s worth, Emma Roberts’ Madison Montgomery was also clearly a precursor for the queen bee she would later play on Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens.)

2. MURDER HOUSE (SEASON 1)

2. MURDER HOUSE (SEASON 1)

2. MURDER HOUSE (SEASON 1)
When American Horror Story premiered in 2011, long before the first season was even referred to as Murder House, it was unlike anything else on television. Sexy, scary and absolutely unapologetic, it laid the groundwork for what would become one of the most engrossing franchises in TV history.

Rubber Man? Constance Langdon? Connie Britton’s hair? The mere mention of these iconic characters should be enough to inspire a rewatch.

The thing is, while Murder House undeniably created the blueprint, there was one other season that perfected it.

1. ASYLUM (SEASON 2)

American Horror Story (TV Series 2011– ) - Episode list - IMDb

American Horror Story gave a big ol’ middle finger to the notion of a “sophomore slump” with Asylum, a nightmare-inducing experience boasting some of the greatest performances and most memorable characters (Sister Jude! Lana Winters! Bloody Face!) to ever grace this franchise. We were also treated to a wonderfully twisted performance of “The Name Game,” which you can watch by clicking on the photo above. Go on, you’ve earned it.

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