Because American Horror Story is set up as an anthology series, each season will have new characters and a new theme. In order to help separate the previous story from the upcoming one, the new season is getting an updated title as well. Ryan Murphy officially announced that American Horror Story's second season is officially titled American Horror Story: Asylum.
For anyone who missed out the second season will feature a brand new story set at an institution for the criminally insane during the 1960's. Adam Levine, Chloe Sevigny, James Cromwell, Lizzie Brocheré, Jenna Dewan, Clea Duvall, Franka Potente, Chris Zylka, Britne Oldford, Mark Consuelos and Joseph Fiennes make up the rest of the new cast, with Season 1 actors Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, Even Peters, and Lily Rabe all returning as new characters.
Here is what Ryan Murphy had to say about the new title: “We picked ‘Asylum’ because it not only describes the setting – an insane asylum run by Jessica Lange’s character which was formerly a tuberculosis ward – but also signifies a place of haven for the unloved and the unwanted... This year’s theme is about sanity and tackling real life horrors.”
The new season is also being referred to as a "cycle", so that phrasing may be used in the future to refer to future seasons (Cycle 3, Cycle 4...). A specific release date has not been set, but the show is currently filming and is expected to return in October. Interested in learning more about the new cycle? Here are some character and plot details Ryan Murphy revealed earlier this year (Spoiler Warning):
“It’s set in an institution for the criminally insane that Jessica Lange’s character runs, which is a really, really, really fun thing to do because you can write all these people locked up in it. And I guess if the first season was about infidelity, the second season is about sanity. What makes someone sane or insane? Sometimes the people you think are insane are actually the most sane of all. It’s fun to write about people who society throws away.
I haven’t said this publicly, but the new season is set in the sixties and Chloë Sevigny, for example, plays a character who was put in an asylum because she was a woman who likes sex, so her husband sends her away. At the time, you were able to put people away for that. Another character is institutionalized for being a lesbian. To me, there’s nothing more scary than somebody coming to you and saying they’re going to take you away and put you in a mad house and you have no legal rights and there you shall stay till the end of your days. That is a real horror. Everybody has felt people thinking, “You’re fucking crazy.” Even somebody saying that to you is scary.”