Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Wednesday, September 12. All times are Eastern.
American Horror Story (FX, 10 p.m.): We know precious little about what awaits viewers of the eighth season of Ryan Murphy’s often entertaining, wildly inconsistent horror anthology, save a few tantalizing details. First, it’s a crossover of sorts between the first season (commonly referred to as Murder House) and Coven, the show’s sometimes great, sometimes dreadful, always wild third season. Second, Sarah Paulson is playing three characters. Third, Jessica Lange returns at some point. Fourth, Evan Peters plays a hairdresser. Fifth, Joan Collins and Kathy Bates and Stevie Nicks. Sixth, Billy Eichner screams at a plane. There are more such tidbits, but it basically amounts to a list of people to whom crazy shit will presumably happen. You know, basic American Horror Story stuff.
There’s one last detail, though, and it’s that this season is called Apocalypse. An early trailer gave us glimpses of a barren landscape, a plane in distress, a house that’s apparently safe from radiation, and a lusciously tressed Cody Fern, who gets a contented “Hail, Satan” from Kathy Bates by way of greeting. We’ve been burned by American Horror Story before, but cannot deny that this all sounds promising. Molly Horan will help us process our elation, our confusion, and if necessary, our irritation.
The X-Files, “Home” (BBC America, 8 p.m.): It’s day three of this march through the back catalog of Chris Carter’s seminal series, and while the marathon as a whole was our wild card yesterday, this particular episode is worth calling out. It’s one of the most frightening hours the series ever produced, and it’s possible you missed it the first time around—Fox aired it once, then bumped it from reruns until 1999, when (per NME) they took out an ad in TV Guide for a Halloween airing, calling it “an episode so controversial it’s been banned from television for three years.” The murder of a baby, and the Peacock family and their unusual sleeping arrangements are excellent examples of the ways in which grim humor can make a nightmarish story even more upsetting. In short, it’s the stuff of TV legend, and it’s airing tonight.