Why 'American Crime Story' is so much better than 'American Horror Story'

以下内容涉及剧透 “美国恐怖故事: Double Feature.

The premiere of Impeachment: American Crime Story juxtaposed with latest edition of “美国恐怖故事” provides a stark demonstration of why the first of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series formats is so much better than the second — 即, because planting a foot in real-life events, however salacious, helps curb the producer’s more distasteful excesses.

The requirements of presenting material based on a true story imposes a degree of discipline thatHorror Storyhas lacked from the get-go. And while the show doesn’t hide its gruesome marching orders — “恐怖” is in the title, 毕竟 — the fact we’re up to a 10th season might explain why Murphy and his collaborators keep trying to outdo themselves, in occasionally hard-to-stomach ways.
While a lot of people obviously enjoy the show, “American Horror Story’slatest installment, subtitledDouble Feature,” is an especially grisly iteration of the formula. 如果有什么, the vampire-tinged plotwith writers essentially selling their souls and becoming bloodsuckers (not a subtle metaphor) in their hunger for successreflects the franchise’s worst instincts, both in its derivative touches and gratuitous gore, particularly with a subplot that involves the daughter of the central couple.
    Ryan Kiera Armstrong plays the central couple's young daughter in '美国恐怖故事: Double Feature' (Frank Ockenfels/FX).

    American Horror Story’shas a questionable history of combining sexual imagery and violence in past editions, as it constantly pushes content boundaries. Adding a young child (played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong) to the throat slashing and blood drinking feels icky in a different but equally gratuitous manner.
      As noted, “American Crime Storyrepresents an unlikely shingle forImpeachment,” certainly compared to the high-profile murder cases chronicled by the first two installments,The People v. O.J. 辛普森”The Assassination of Gianni Versace. But all three of those projects represent a vast improvement over the best of thatHorror Storyhas to offer.
        Impeachmenthas garnered mixed reviews, with some criticizing its lurid tone, which seemingly misses the point of why the producers and network were drawn to the subject matter in the first place. Part of Murphy’s brilliance has been in selecting attention-getting, easily promotable concepts — 在这种情况下, enlisting Monica Lewinsky as a producer, and inspiring bold-faced names like Matt Drudge help publicize it because he (更确切地说, Billy Eichner as him) is featured in it.
        The People v. O.J. 辛普森” might have sounded like a no-brainer, but the execution and topnotch performances lived up to the hype. The subject matter wasn’t as good inGianni Versacebut it was still plenty watchable, with a showy role for Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, who murdered the fashion designer in 1997.
          Murphy’s infatuation with presenting the underbelly of glamorous worlds like Hollywood and fashion has yielded mixed results, though it’s worth noting that even there, the work has been better when it’s restrained by reality. Compare “好莱坞,” his alternate-reality Netflix limited series, with the more historically grounded Feud: Bette and Joan,” his ode to Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
            Despite his move to Netflix, Murphy has remained a prolific provider for FX, 哪一个 recently announced 二 “美国人” offshoots of his anthology series: “American Love Story,” focusing on the relationship between John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette; 和 “American Sports Story,” about the tragedy surrounding football star Aaron Hernandez, which could easily be presented under theCrime Storybanner.
            In an age of abundant content, such high-profile stories break through the clutter, and true crime especially so. WhateverImpeachment’sshortcomings, 虽然, comparing it withDouble Featureillustrates that not all shows with “美国人” in the title are created equal, 然后 “恐怖” too often serves not just a license to kill, but the unfortunate temptation to engage in overkill.