The sixth season of American Horror Story is haunted... by the spirit of reality television. And we can't stop watching.
Emulating unscripted/documentary television is risky. A series or movie either mocks the genre entirely (The Office, Best of Show) or it plays the faux-vérité feel so close to the chest you can't tell what's real and what's not (see 17 years of The Blair Witch Project phenomenon), but attempt to pen the spontaneous and it comes off rigid. With AHS: Roanoke, creator Ryan Murphy has it both ways, aping the format while sucking us into the actual drama of the feuding characters. Roanoke started off lampooning talking-head true crime shows, dipped a toe into found-footage mayhem, swung back to a riff that could stand up to UnREAL, and now is dangling mystery in front of us, killing each player off in slow, bloody succession. Without spending a second in the real world, Murphy's turned AHS into the murder-heavy version of Survivor. Every character from the show is in one house, and a title card at the end of "Chapter 6" teased the conclusion: only one will make it to the end. Instead of elimination ceremonies, we get sharp objects stabbed through chest cavities.