The story is intriguing and does not call to mind anything else on television. However, the series may lose footing if the story tries to go in too many different directions. Plenty of background information is relayed in the pilot: a man with burns obscuring his face killed his family when he lived in the house; Ben cheated on Vivien with a student, so they moved to Los Angeles with Violet; Violet is a cutter, drawing her to an equally disturbed young boy, Tate. Some of the characters are fascinating in their mystery, but if too much is revealed, this element will vanish. The editing is one of the most interesting aspects of the episode - jump cuts that zoom in and out are used especially well to increase edge. There doesn't seem to be a theme that the show means to address. "American Horror Story" would indicate that the show addresses fears that concern the average American, but already so many of them are set up. Perhaps all the resources will be exhausted before the show really has a chance to develop.
-"Do you ever get tired of cleaning up other people's messes?" "We're women. It's what we do."
-The fight between Vivien and Ben is raw and realistic. It is easily the most gripping acting display of this first episode.
-Dylan McDermott. While handsome, he doesn't seem to have the chops to play on the same level with his female costars.