American Horror Story: Coven broadcast its second episode on Fox last night. Each series of the anthology show tells a different complete horror story, but with a returning repertory cast. It's always stuffed with great roles for women, particularly Jessica Lange, who won an Emmy for the show last year. This series is a Southern Gothic set in and around Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in New Orleans, and the cast seems to be having more fun than ever.
New addition Kathy Bates plays real historical New Orleans slave master and serial killer Delphine LaLaurie, a women far more terrifying than her role in Misery, although for the moment she seems to be safely under the control of the "Supreme" Fiona (Jessica Lange), a witch of unusual power. Fiona has returned to the Academy with the aim of teaching the younger generation of witches (Emma Roberts, Taissa Farmiga and Gabourey Sidibe) how to stand up for themselves, much to the irritation of her daughter Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), the school's current headmistress.
If that sounds cosily Hogwartsesque, it definitely isn't. American Horror Story: Coven is a bubbling cauldron of lurid visuals, screaming rows and high-camp horror. The perfect antidote, in other words, to all that tepid teen stuff that currently dominates the genre.