Dear Ryan Murphy,
I hope this finds you well. As you might know, we're now nearing the halfway point of American Horror Story: Hotel. Solid season so far, by the way. I'm really enjoying all those references to The Shining and the seriously gruesome and numerous deaths. When the season started, I even thought this season had the potential to be the best installment yet. Which, I guess, is still to be decided. That said, I have a point of contention I really must get off my chest. It's been bothering me all season long, and despite my continued hopes, it has not been remedied.
Every single episode so far has lasted longer than an hour.
You might think I'm joking, but it's actually driving me up the wall. The season premiere was 62 minutes long. Which, you know what? Fine. It's the premiere. I get it. There's a lot to set up. But then the second episode was 74 minutes long. With commercials, it ended at 11:40 p.m. That's an hour and 40 minutes. Now, I can't speak for the other viewers out there, but when I tune in to watch your lovely show, I do not sign up to watch a minimovie every week. When it's a Wednesday night and you're keeping me up until nearly midnight, you're going to hear about it.
After the first two episodes, conditions still didn't improve. The most recent episodes have been 56 minutes, 50 minutes, and 60 minutes, respectively. Sure, they're technically at or under the one-hour mark, but they still go well past 11 o'clock with commercials. TV block scheduling is an institution, Mr. Murphy. Isn't there some unwritten rule, some code of conduct that urges everyone to stay within their given time slot?! I mean, sure, shows will have two-hour finales, and maybe they'll go over a minute here and there, but you're doing this every damn week. When will the madness end?! When will my Wednesday nights once again yield a full, refreshing slumber?!
I know what you're thinking. You've got stories to tell. It's unfair of me to place limits on an artist. But hey, I'm not going to just point at your problems and whine. I have a couple ideas that might make it easier to ring it in under an hour — commercials included.
- Consider adding more episodes to the season. I know it's fun to have keep the episode count limited to the ~spooky~ number 13, but if you want to pack this much into the season, I think you can take more time to tell the stories. That monster second episode could easily have been two. It's OK. The Walking Dead is amazing, and they hover around 15 to 16 episodes. You can do this.
- Consider hiring a new editor or refining your own editing skills. You know, sometimes I think these episodes could use a good editing eye. Did we really need 10 extra minutes of Lily Rabe spastically tossing her hair? Did we really need an extended sex scene of The Countess and Tristan having hot bathtub sex? Was Naomi Campbell necessary at all? You might insist yes on all counts, but I think with some second thoughts, you can find a way to trim down a few scenes. Think of all the fun DVD extras it will yield later!
- Cut some of your extraneous characters or side plots. There are seriously, like, 90 plots and subplots in American Horror Story: Hotel. Just a ballpark estimate. We've got the Ten Commandments killer, all this vampire stuff, that crazy revenge plot, the haunted hotel and all its ghostly guests, and way too many characters to keep track of. Hell, where did that Addiction Demon guy go?! Where's John and Alex's daughter? What happened to the Cortez Hotel's new owner? You have a lot of great ideas. Just, maybe . . . maybe all of them don't need to be included.
So, I think that about covers everything. I hope we can reach a compromise soon. I hope I can go back to the simpler times, when Thursdays didn't feel like a weekly struggle with death. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
A Very Tired American Horror Story Fan