Ben and Vivien Harmon (Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton) move from Boston to a restored mansion in California, believing it will be a new start for their troubled marriage. He's a psychotherapist and had an affair with a much younger woman. Their daughter, Violet, isn't too happy about the move.
Almost immediately strange things happen. The house comes with an old housekeeper, Moira O'Hara (Frances Conroy of SIX FEET UNDER). However, every time Ben talks to her he--and we--see a younger version of herself. And he's attracted to her. There's also a weird neighbor, Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) who has a daughter with Down-Syndrome--and two sons,who are both ghosts in the mansion. You see, anyone who dies within the grounds of the place becomes a ghost, but a ghost that can take physical form. We're introduced to a gay couple that lived there, prior to the Harmons, a Hollywood starlet who was slain and a mad scientist and his wife, all of whom interact with the family. Perhaps one of the more disturbing aspects is the daughter's relationship with Tate Langdon, Constance's mad-murdering son.
But why is all this psychic activity happening in the house? Maybe it has something to do with Vivien's unexpected pregnancy, as all the ghosts--and Constance--want the child.
The entire first season is a complete story-- nearly every question I had was answered by the last episode, In fact, the story skips ahead some years so we see who the next family that moves into the house is--and also what happens to the evil next door neighbor. AMERICAN HORROR STORY is, by far, the best horror television series since Showtime's the MASTERS OF HORROR.