The title of the American Horror Story: Coven premiere episode tells you almost everything you need to know about this season in 10 letters. Campy. Witchy. Wonderful.
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What the title fails to illuminate, however, is how nuanced the first episode is. In fact, I'd venture to say that Bitchcraft is the strongest season premiere Ryan Murphy's anthology series has served up to date. From grave encounters to grave digging, the century-spanning hour introduces enough themes (racism, sexism, ageism, classism, ableism) to ensure the subsequent 12 episodes will be topical and titillating treasure troves of wicked goodies.
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I camped out on the American Horror Story: Coven premiere party red carpet and asked the actresses what they're most excited for the audience to experience this season. These are their answers:
"I love witches, when I was a kid I was obsessed with the witch movies and the witch shows, so for me to be playing a witch on TV is like a dream come true. There's something so cool about the magic of it all, and the fact it takes place in New Orleans. It's a little more fun. Last year was intense. This year is scary in a different way."
"I feel like it's nice for them to have a little bit more of a glamorous, sexy, fun time. I think it's fun for them. It goes dark place, but the design of it is to lure you in and then kill you."
"I want them to experience the horror, of course; every blood-dripping moment. But I also want them to be moved, and they will be. I can't tell you why, but this season is incredibly moving as well."
"I'm excited for them to experience all the things we're interested in as women and everything that makes women fabulous. There's camaraderie, betrayal, jealousy, intrigue, humor, issues of fertility and race and age and the ideals of beauty. That's why it's so amazing this show is written by men! You so rarely find that."
"It's terrifying. People who are into horror will flip. I read every script and can't believe the words and worlds that lie inside."
"I'm excited for them to experience the ups and downs of figuring out who is a good witch and who is a bad witch -- or if any of them are good or if any of them are bad. That's been the most challenging thing for me because I can't figure out who is who and what is what, but it's also what makes this show so fun. Just as soon as you think someone is one way, they totally change. "
"It's a really amazing thing to be a part of all these incredibly women, and I hope it's fun to watch this massive group of women be delicious."
"I'm so excited to be back and see what the fans are going to say; it's a different season. It's so different from the last two. It's dark but humorous and wicked and fabulous. I loved making it, so I hope they enjoy watching it!"
American Horror Story: Coven premieres October 9 at 10 p.m. on FX.