The ‘American Horror Story’ finale: And they died happily ever after?

I bailed on “American Horror Story” a half-dozen or so episodes into the first season. Just not for me. But my professional curiosity – coupled with a lack of original viewing options last night – led me to check out the season finale just to see what Murphy and Falchuk did in terms of wrapping up the season and setting the show up for the long haul. I’m mainly curious for the opinions of those who watched all the way through, but I have a couple of thoughts coming up just as soon as Lady Clairol and I get too chummy…

For a series that began in such an understandably dark place (check the title), the “AHS” finale was remarkably upbeat most of the way through. Ben dies, but the Harmons turn out to be much happier together in death than they ever were in life, and somehow (in ways the finale mostly avoided dealing with) the three of them plus Moira are able to keep the more hostile ghosts at bay and turn the murder house into a place where they can stay together and keep scaring off the poor living bastards who try to move in. Very odd, though perhaps if I cared about the Harmons more (which the episodes I watched didn’t really make me do), I’d have felt weirdly pleased that things turned out as well as can be expected for them under the dire circumstances. Heck, they’re even probably better off not having to raise the living baby, given how deeply the DNA of both Tate and the house are imprinted on the little monster.

But where on earth does the show go from here? Does it become a wacky dramedy about a family of ghosts trying to make things work inside the murder house? Do we say goodbye to the Harmons and just focus on Constance raising the murder baby? Does the show abandon everything and everyone from the first season and start fresh, as a kind of one season at a time horror anthology? Ryan Murphy and FX president John Landgraf are doing a press call later today(*), where Murphy might shed light on his plans (or play coy), but it certainly seems like the story of the Harmons and the house has been told. And while I don’t like the show, I’d be impressed if Murphy and FX were willing to acknowledge that they had exhausted the potential of this one area and could start over, just keeping the title. We talk about series and characters that outstay their welcome, but if ever there was a genre that would seem to allow for an annual reboot, it would be horror.

(*) UPDATE: On the call, Murphy told reporters that the show would, indeed, reboot itself for the second season, telling an entirely new story. Some of the actors might return, but playing different characters. Probably the wisest move, given how Murphy tends to lose interest in a lot of characters and story ideas after a while. Better to give the actors someone new to play rather than radically revamping a character you’ve grown bored with. (See Quinn on “Glee,” for instance.) 

So for those of you who watched from beginning to end, what did you think of the season and the finale? (The last few times I solicited comments on the show, many ran along the lines of, “Oh, it’s terrible, but I’m really enjoying it, anyway.”) And given how things ended, would you prefer the show start fresh, or do you think there’s a way to keep hanging with the ghost Harmons for years and years to come?

Have at it.