First episode impressions: ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’

“American Horror Story: Asylum” (9 p.m. Central Wednesdays on FX) departs from the first season’s present-day haunted house and visits an insane asylum in 1964. The setting is evocative and different enough that this is clearly a new world — there’s no need to think back on the pretty-good-then-pretty-bad first season (some actors are the same, but none of the characters are). But at the same time, “Asylum” is undeniably a Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk production, so we get more showy visuals and quick, arty cutaways than engaging characterizations or intriguing mysteries.

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Best TV decision in recent memory: ‘American Horror Story’ to start new yarn in Season 2

I loved “American Horror Story” when it first started out, then kind of cooled on it toward the end of the season. It didn’t become flat-out bad, but it wasn’t as scary and surprising as when it first started. But the recent announcement that Season 2 will feature a new cast in a new setting has me excited about “AHS” again.

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What happened to Sophia? (and six other burning TV questions)

Part of why it’s been a great TV season is that there are so many compelling questions that keep us watching from week to week. And these aren’t just a matter of “Oh well, I’ve followed it this far so I might as well keep going” like I sometimes felt with “Lost.” A lot of shows this fall actually have mysteries where I want to know the answer. Here are seven of the most burning questions among currently airing shows (No, I haven’t forgotten about “Who killed Rosie Larsen?,” but I’ll save that for when “The Killing” returns). (All times Central.)

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The new fall shows — not too shabby so far

I’ve done “first episode impressions” of the noteworthy new shows this season, and many TV critics have done the same. We do this because it’s fun and quick-hitting more so than because it’s an accurate and fair way to judge a show. Indeed, my views of some shows have changed quite a bit in the month or so since the pilot episodes aired, so here’s a rundown on where I now stand with these series, ranked in order of quality. (All times are Central.)

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