Unlike many reviewers on here, I have waited until the end of the first season to actually review this series as a whole. I want to start off with the Pilot. When I first saw it, I had a lot of problems with it. It was messy, and some of the characters were dumb, and some of the acting was corny. However, after the Pilot ended, I realized just how intrigued I was by it. It sure was a messy Pilot, but that's the beauty of it. It was always moving, it wasn't your typical slow-paced suspense show.
In fact, that pretty much sums up the whole season. This is a crackling, fast-paced and entertaining horror series. I would never call this high- art, but that's what makes it great. The show doesn't take itself seriously at all, and it always remains fun, even when it's silly, and yet you get really invested in the story lines and characters. Sure, the performances are flawed at times, and the writing and directing awkward, but the fast pace in every episode doesn't ever let the viewer gasp for air. This is the true definition of a thrill ride. It also feels very experimental. It executes a lot of things in very unordinary ways, in ways that no other TV show does. It doesn't always succeed, but even when it doesn't, you can appreciate it.
Your friends might call The Walking Dead the better horror show, but I disagree. As far as Pilots go, no matter how entertaining or thrilling American Horror Story's Pilot was, the Pilot for The Walking Dead was better, masterful in every way. Since then, it's merely a good, sometimes great, TV show. It takes itself more seriously and is slower-paced, but it's problem is that a lot of times the writing just feels stale, recycled. You are intrigued by it, but it sometimes feels weaker than it should be. And the fact that it takes itself too seriously sort of dampens the fun one should be having with it, simply because its writing isn't strong enough to stretch out its story lines (like the two best TV shows on air, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, do). American Horror Story is better for these reasons- each episode by itself is exciting, it's always moving, and instead of trying to slow things down and makes its flaws more apparent, it even overdoes things on purpose. Messy, sure, silly, sometimes, but overall more intriguing, funner, and more exciting. I cannot wait for the second season of this, since I thought the resolution to the story of the first season was excellent, as well as the final shot.
P.S. Oh, I also want to add another note to take. The performances do hit their great marks, but the only truly incredible performance is Jessica Lange. Her character and performance makes all other supporting turns in television look stale by comparison, and all of her scenes are truly gold! She needs to win that Emmy next year! I want to see her back!