Netflix's Stranger Things had some influence on how the sixth season of FX's American Horror Story was presented.
It's no secret that Stranger Things took the world by storm when it was released in July, with fierce discussions about what happened to Barb (Shannon Purser), cool mashups with other mystery shows like Twin Peaks and a full appreciation for '80s nostalgia. With so much attention and love being given to the Netflix series, FX has already taken some lessons from its success.
FX president and CEO John Landgraf spoke with Entertainment Weekly magazine recently for their cover story on American Horror Story executive producer Ryan Murphy, explaining how season 6 took a page out of Stranger Things' playbook.
"I think part of why people have enjoyed 'Stranger Things' is that it was unexpected," Landgraf said. "We wanted to figure out how to give the pleasure back to the fans, and we thought a really fun way would be for them not to know anything."
Season 6 was largely shrouded in secrecy from the beginning, a huge difference from the usual media campaign for the show. In past seasons the theme, characters and plot had been teased months in advance of the new season's premiere. This time around, there was essentially nothing, other than some teasers about which actors would be returning, like Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett.
American Horror Story's sixth season, titled Roanoke, has also taken a relative simplistic approach to its horror, much like Stranger Things. Characters are more grounded and the plot is more linear, rather than having multiple stories all over the place (see: Coven, Freak Show, Hotel).
Even if the horror and plot is more straight-forward, the show's actors are having a great time with it. Paulson, who plays Shelby in AHS: Roanoke, noted that this season is a big departure from past seasons.
"I got the first two scripts and I just said, 'I think this is just the most fun! This is the most extreme departure," she said. "It's not operatic. There aren't a lot of fish-eye lenses. It doesn't look like 'American Horror Story' in the way that we have come to know it."
Of course, there will eventually be twists and turns in the road this season. Murphy has already teased that episode 6 will essentially turn everything on its head, and viewers will learn that "the thing that you think you're watching is not what you're watching."
American Horror Story: Roanoke airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.