Given his obvious fondness for the dark and twisted, it’s ironic that writer-producer Ryan Murphy’s biggest hit to date has been the sickly-sweet issue machine that Glee (Thu, 9pm, Sky1) often finds itself turning into. having returned last week from an early season break, this week it’s tackling the big stuff, as lumbering autotuned man-jock Finn and serial showtune abuser Rachel decide to go all the Way. In among all the Newsround Special-isms, it’s easy to forget that the appeal of Glee in the first place wasn’t just soft-rock anthems sung by improbably middle-aged teenagers but the barbed villainy of Sue Sylvester, who brought the acid with lines like, “I just prefer to think of the homeless as ‘outdoorsy’.”
Murphy’s previous TV outings set the scene for this interest in black humour and camp. his teen show Popular, which briefly appeared on Channel 5 before disappearing into the ether, inhabited a John Waters-y world, but it was drama Nip/Tuck (Mon, 3.10am, FX) that took it to a more grown-up place. Suspended between competitive machismo and bromance, plastic surgeons Christian Troy and Sean McNamara negotiated six seasons of guts, gore and a particularly memorable self-administered mastectomy with an electric turkey trimmer.
But it’s Murphy’s new series, the brilliantly macabre American Horror Story (Mon, 10pm, FX) that feels like the apex of all of this, as gynaecologists, high school and a heightened sense of old Hollywood glamour come together for a frankly bonkers haunted house tale. A couple in the present day move to LA to a bargain mansion to save their marriage, only to find that their dream home is cheap for an evil reason. There are nods to the Shining, a handful of gruesome murders per episode and an exquisitely awful nosy neighbour, played by Jessica Lange. In the States it’s had a ratings boost every week, making it an unlikely hit, so there’s a sliver of optimism for those who live in hope that the Glee cast will one day stop Believin’.
<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/nov/05/a-good-week-for-ryan-murphy?newsfeed=truetag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/nov/05/a-good-week-for-ryan-murphy?newsfeed=trueSat, 05 Nov 2011 00:07:21 GMT”>It’s a good week for … Ryan Murphy