Earlier this week, the mystery surrounding American Horror Story Season 6 got a bit more complex, as FX boss John Landgraf revealed that the majority of existing teasers have deliberately misdirected fans on the theme. Now, a new official promo points in an intriguing direction, but we have to ask – did FX shoot itself in the foot with this “misdirect” approach?

For what it’s worth, American Horror Story teasers have always acted as vague and creepy portents of imagery from the season. We devoured every meaningless promo for Asylum and Coven, but knew by the days of Freak Show and Hotel that there was only so much value in covering creepy TV spot after creepy TV spot.

All the more reason, then, to wonder – why would FX deliberately inform press (and thereby audiences) that the majority of Season 6 teasers aim to mislead? The newest promo above offers at least some note of intrigue, to feature an alien-looking creature in a mist-filled environment, flanked by a futuristic, metallic font uncharacteristic of the franchise, but why ask reporters or fans to invest in or promote that, given its potential meaninglessness?


Best guess? American Horror Story: Hotel marked an especially-heinous downturn in critical praise, and I wonder if perhaps the fallout has finally arrived. FX knows the franchise has a built-in audience, and had some admittedly-fresh thinking to keep Season 6's theme under wraps, but may no longer care about the hype machine. Like that oft-spoken refrain of divisive superhero blockbusters, “we did this for the fans.”

And even then –  why tell us ahead of time about the misdirect? If there’s value in surprise, wouldn’t it make more sense to leave us guessing through the premiere, then walk back that teasers threw us off the scent? I’d forgive that much sooner than “hey, we’re going to lie to you for the next month,” and I imagine said fans feel the same.

I don’t know. I can’t see the value in continuing to cover these endless teases, knowledge-in-hand of their likely irrelevance, and I doubt FX stopped to think how even loyal viewers would interpret things after the fact. Call me when someone like Sarah Paulson drops legitimate character information like “Real. Live. Human.,” but can you imagine if a show on the scale of Game of Thrones made false teasers before a new season? Say what you will about Jon Snow; none of that spin ever came close to the amount of outright lying at work here.

Those following our American Horror Story Season 6 coverage are likely familiar with my ambivalence to the mystery, but this feels different somehow, newer. Not annoyance, maybe, but indifference. If anything, the campaign feels almost mean-spirited, to toy with the very fans they’re now directly marketing to, and that’s not somewhere FX has ever wanted to live.

You can check out the other (probably fake) teasers below, bask in my slightly-renewed dreams of heading to space, and stay tuned for real teases of American Horror Story Season 6 before its September 14 premiere.

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