Two seasons of Ripper Street and three of American Horror Story are currently available on instant Netflix
Ripper Street (2013) – TV-MA
“It’s been six months since the last Jack the Ripper killing, and East London is hopeful that his reign of terror might have run its course.”
Ripper Street is a nice period piece with modern sensibilities. There are some missteps along the way but it doesn’t miserably fail the historical tests like Copper and the new BBC Three Musketeers do. I was glad that they resisted the urge to ‘solve’ the original Ripper killings.
Ripper’s second season builds on the first. I really admired the character arcs as some of the characters find themselves trapped in self-destructive patterns of behavior while others grow, evolve, and/or seek redemption. The female characters are stronger this season, even though it’s difficult to feature them as much since the show is about a police squad.
This is an easy recommendation, particularly if you enjoyed the first season.
American Horror Story (2011-3) – TV-MA
“Exploring humankind’s unsettling capacity for evil, this darkly twisted drama plays upon the power of supernatural fears and everyday horrors.”
American Horror Story is definitely the kitchen sink of horror shows. The second season was set in an insane asylum and had all the usual horror tropes you would see there but also had Nazi medical experiments, aliens, a serial killer, and lots more. Each of the seasons takes a separate locale and tells a set of (mostly) separate stories. I say mostly because while the individual seasons are in separate locales and ages, there are familial links between the seasons.
Third season just became available on instant Netflix. It is called Coven and, naturally, features witches. Once again the kitchen sink aspect takes over as, in addition to witchcraft, we also have voodoo, another serial killer, ghosts, zombies, a Frankenstein-like creation, and lots more. We also have racism, date rape, gang rape, necrophilia, and all sorts of things that have the opportunity to offend.
American Horror Story in general, and Coven in particular, are ridiculously fast-paced. If you dislike any particular subplot, worry not as it will soon be disposed of. The word delirious often comes to mind as each episode seeks to top the last. I enjoyed it but could not show it to my wife.