Can ‘American Horror Story’ make an Emmys comeback after acclaimed ‘Apocalypse’ premiere?

On September 12, the eighth installment of FX’s “American Horror Story” kicked off its highly anticipated “Murder House” and “Coven” crossover season titled “Apocalypse.” We are just four months into the 2019 Emmys eligibility period, but with the premiere having struck a chord with viewers, awards talk is already underway. Could that lead to a comeback at next year’s Emmys? (See the list of 2018 Emmy winners.)

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“Apocalypse” takes place in the near future, when the world is destroyed by missiles and nuclear winter kicks in. An organization by the name of “The Cooperative” is selecting young adults based on their genetic makeup to be saved from the apocalypse. Two of these survivors, Timothy (Kyle Allen) and Emily (Ashley Santos), are sent to Outpost 3, an underground base led by Ms. Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson).

They join several other survivors and are exposed to strict rules and severe punishments. We later jump ahead eighteen months, to find out that the situation at Outpost 3 has only further deteriorated. The episode closes on the arrival of Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), a person from “The Cooperative,” who announces that he will be the judge of who truly deserves to survive.

“American Horror Story” has had quite the good track record at the Emmys, with 89 nominations and 16 wins under its belt so far. The series dipped in nominations and was for the first time shut out in Best Limited Series for “Hotel” (2016) and reached an all-time low of four nominations for “Roanoke” (2017). However, it was able to climb back to seven bids this year for “Cult.” Most notably, Paulson (Best Limited Series/Movie Actress) and Adina Porter (Best Limited Series/Movie Supporting Actress) snagged acting bids, after the show was shut out from all above-the-line categories last year. At the very least, it proves that “American Horror Story” hasn’t lost all its steam just yet.

With several “Murder House” and “Coven” characters set to make an appearance this season, previous Emmy winner Jessica Lange and prior nominees Connie Britton and Frances Conroy are back in the mix. Also, after taking a year off from the show, Emmy champ Kathy Bates is also among the returning cast members. Unlike Britton, Conroy and Lange, who will be reprising some of their old characters, Bates has taken on an entirely new role. Not to mention, Emmy nominee Joan Collins (“Dynasty”) and “Versace’s” Fern are some of many additions to the already star-studded cast and could easily bring some extra heat to the show.

The premiere has already struck a chord with both viewers and critics. Brian Moylan (Vulture) calls the first episode “one of the strongest premieres in ‘American Horror Story’ history,” and praises it for having “a great balance between scares and camp.” Ben Travers (IndieWire) applauds it for ditching “the pretense of importance that weighed down an overly complicated ‘Cult’” and for delving “into the wicked fun Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s series can find at its peak.” And Daniel Fienberg (The Hollywood Reporter) says, “The bunker itself is a triumph of Gothic-meets-modern production design and spectacular costume work.”

With its star-studded cast, mesmerizing production values and intriguing story, “AHS” Season 8 has all the ingredients to become one of the series’ best installments. What do you think? Will “Apocalypse” send enough shock waves through Emmy voters’ homes to return big at next year’s Emmys?

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