How Are American Horror Story and American Horror Stories Different?

‘American Horror Stories’ is an anthological horror series. It is the direct spinoff of ‘American Horror Story‘ and part of the ‘American Story’ media franchise. Its creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, are also the creators of ‘American Horror Story’ and executive producers of ‘American Crime Story.’ As a spinoff, ‘American Horror Stories’ makes frequent references to the original series, effectively becoming part of its timeline. If you are wondering about the differences between the two shows, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.

What Are the Differences between American Horror Story and American Horror Stories?

The key difference between ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘American Horror Stories’ is the format. While both are anthology series, the original tells new stories every season, whereas the spinoff does so in every episode. In a since-deleted Tweet, Murphy wrote in June 2021, “Each episode brings you a different nightmare.”

However, the spinoff doesn’t fully adhere to this rule in its first season. Episodes 1 and 2 are used together to tell one story, and episode 7 is connected to those first episodes. Given that these episodes are about Murder House, the titular setting of the first season of the original series, the creators probably wanted to draw out the plot as much as they could.

Matt Bomer, who appears in the first two episodes of ‘American Horror Stories’ as one half of the couple planning to turn Murder House into a horror-themed homestay, was asked about his opinion on the anthological aspect of both shows in a July 2021 interview with Collider. He said, “I’ve always been a huge fan of anthology series. As a kid, I grew up watching ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales from the Dark Side,’ and shows like that. I was a big fan of that particular format and I was excited to see what Ryan [Murphy] would do with it because I knew he would definitely put his own spin on it. Having been a part of the AHS world before, I thought, ‘This could be interesting, if it’s not only episodic, but flirts with alumni and also certain mythologies and locations that folks who have enjoyed the show in the past have come to know and love, or hate.'”

Bomer has appeared in multiple seasons of ‘American Horror Story,’ portraying several characters. While the format of the original show allows its story to be elaborate and complex, the spinoff is fast and more intense. Both formats have their pros and cons. It’s ultimately about how they are utilized, and despite all the shortcomings of the spinoff, Murphy and Falchuk do a good job with both.

Dylan McDermott reprises the role of Dr. Ben Harmon from the first season of ‘American Horror Story’ in the season 1 finale of the spinoff. Asked by Collider in an August 2021 interview why he decided to return to the Murder House, the ‘FBI: Most Wanted‘ actor stated that he trusted Murphy.

“We [McDermott and Murphy] have a shorthand with each other,” McDermott continued. “Whatever he asks me to do, I just say, ‘Yes.’ I don’t even have to read it, at this point. I know that it’s something interesting and something fun and something that I can sink my teeth into. He told me early on that he was writing something for me, so I was immediately intrigued. And then, I found out it was Ben Harmon again and Murder House. It’s been 10 years since the beginning of ‘American Horror Story,’ which blows my mind. Going back there and having all these memories with Connie [Britton] and Jessica [Lange] and Evan [Peters], and Ryan, and this new format, and horror, and an anthology series.”

Read More: American Horror Stories Season 2 Episode 1 Recap and Ending, Explained