Will the Witches of 'American Horror Story: Coven' Cast a Spell on Viewers?

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For the past two seasons, the FX anthology series "American Horror Story" has captivated audiences with its addicting and tragic tales of hauntings and insane asylums. "American Horror Story" returns Oct. 9 with the third installment of the series subtitled "Coven." The announcement of "Coven" came as no surprise to diehard fans of the FX horror series; viewers speculated creator Ryan Murphy ("Glee") would tackle and explore the spellbinding topics of the dark arts after the finale of "American Horror Story: Asylum."

"Coven" is set 300 years after the Salem witch trials and will follow the remaining nearly extinct coven of witches. To keep the endangered witches out of harms way, the girls are sent away to a school in New Orleans where they will learn how to protect themselves. After hearing of the murder of a Salem witch near New Orleans, the long-absent "Supreme" (Jessica Lange) resurfaces and returns back from her glamorous life in Los Angeles to help protect the student witches and their secrets. "Coven's" themes will include witches, slavery, incest, witch hunts, and witchcraft versus voodoo. Along with a present-day storyline, viewers will see the series flashback to the 1830s and 1970s.

The new chapter of "American Horror Story" promises to be ripe with star power -- Academy Award and Emmy winner Kathy Bates ("Harry's Law"), and Academy Award nominees Angela Bassett ("Olympus Has Fallen") and Gabourey Sidibe ("The Big C") will join "American Horror Story" alum Jessica Lange in the newest incarnation of the horror drama. The female-driven anthology will see Fiona (Jessica Lange) and Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) as estranged mother and daughter. The pair will find themselves at odds early on into the season -- Fiona wants to prepare the student witches for battle, while Cordelia will seek peace instead of violence.

"American Horror Story" became an instant hit shortly after its premiere in 2011. The game-changing series has received critical praise and accolades -- "AHS" has won 13 of its 67 award nominations (with 21 pending) -- but that's not to say the show doesn't have its share of critical naysayers. Some critics and viewers alike are still not sold on the anthology series; they claim it's too dark and reviewed the second installment of the series -- "Asylum" -- as choppy and "too weird."

The self-contained miniseries has the rare power to draw fans and foes with its intriguing and unique set of characters each season. "American Horror Story: Coven" will surely premiere to magical ratings, not brought on by witchcraft, but by viewers tuning into see their favorite actors recreate themselves for a new horrifying season.

"American Horror Story: Coven" stars Jessica Lange as Fiona, Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie, Sarah Paulson as Cordelia, Emma Roberts as Madison, Taissa Farmiga as Zoe, Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau, Gabourey Sidibe as Queenie, and Evan Peters as Kyle.

"American Horror Story: Coven" will premiere on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 10 p.m. on FX. 

Check out episode photos from "American Horror Story: Asylum":

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