Jeremy Eaton

Radiation... you are a cruel mistress. For example: Recently I microwaved a spider and ate it—fully expecting to attain superpowers. (Yes, yes, I know the only sure method of getting superpowers is to irradiate a bug in a laboratory setting—but some of us aren't that fancy, you bourgeois classist!) Similarly, one of my uncles got cancer, and required radioactive treatments... but did this sudden infusion of radiation give him the ability to jump 30 feet in the air, or see through people's clothes? No, HE DIED. See? Radiation is a load of bunk!

I can't think of a single real-life example where squirting radiation into our bodies makes us amazing. And that's NOT the bill of goods I was sold by Marvel comic books! In those stories, radiation gave Spider-Man the ability to climb walls, allowed the Human Torch to fly around town on fire, and enabled Hulk to SMASH. And yet all it did to my uncle was make him throw up into a toilet and DIE. That's bull-plop, my friend. BULL... PLOP!

Now, I'm no scientist (we hold this truth to be self-evident), but apparently radiation can be the prime culprit behind bodily mutations—as in the case of those cows you see with five legs and two faces (EEK!), and sadly, in humans as well... which is the subject of the newest installment of American Horror Story debuting this week, subtitled, Freak Show (FX, Wed Oct 8, 10 pm).

Did you catch the previous seasons of AHS? Quick refresher: Season one was set in a haunted Hollywood mansion, and was AH-MAY-ZING. Season two was in an insane asylum, and was BO-RING. Season three happened in a New Orleans witches coven, and was WHAT? And season four is set to go down in a 1950s traveling oddity exhibit or "freak show" (as it was called back then). Happily, according to creator Ryan Murphy, this season will veer away from its supernatural predecessors, and focus strictly on... heh, heh, hehhhh... horror. (Or as I like to slowly say it, "HORRRR-ORRRRR-ORRRR.")

Former cabaret singer Elsa Mars (played by AHS alum Jessica Lange) owns and operates the traveling show populated by a cast of variously mutated misfits, including Kathy Bates as a bearded lady (!), Evan Peters as a boy with lobster hands (!!), Angela Bassett as a woman with three boobs (three exclamation marks), and the lovely Sarah Paulson as conjoined twins (?)... that means she has two heads (!!!!!!!).

The troupe travels to Jupiter, Florida, where the local hillbillies are not exactly thrilled with their arrival, and do everything they can to harass the poor performers. Things then go from bad to worse when the town begins experiencing unexplained creepiness... and murder. (Or as I like to slowly say it, "MURRRRRR-DER-RRRRR.")

American Horror Story: Freak Show also features what may turn out to be the most terrifying character ever to appear on television, "Twisty the Clown." Need I say more? (Please say no, because I didn't bring any extra underpants!)

Anyway, fingers crossed that Freak Show will return AHS to its super creepy beginnings, and they'll focus on what they do best. (Psst! That would be "HORRRR-ORRRRR-ORRRR!")

This Week on Television

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8

8:00 CW ARROW

Season premiere! Arrow meets his newest nemesis, Vertigo, and his sidekick, Nausea.

10:00 FX AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW

Season premiere! Police make an icky discovery at a farmhouse, courtesy of Twisty the Clown! (EEEK!)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9

9:00 FOX GRACEPOINT

Detectives find some surprising (and don't forget awkward) evidence in Chloe's room.

9:00 ABC SCANDAL

Olivia takes a "scandal vacation" to help an old friend find her missing daughter.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10

8:30 ABC CRISTELA

Debut! An ambitious Mexican American law student tries to make it on her own in this sassy-pants sitcom.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11

11:30 NBC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Hosted by ex-cast member (and beloved) Bill Hader!

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12

9:00 AMC THE WALKING DEAD

Season premiere! Rick and his pals devise a way to escape the crazy clutches of the Terminus gang.

10:00 SHO THE AFFAIR

Debut! A married schoolteacher makes some bow-chicka-wow-wow with a local waitress.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13

8:00 FOX

GOTHAM

The city council prepares to vote on a controversial measure: yes or no to bat-costumed vigilantes?

9:00 CW JANE THE VIRGIN

Debut! A religious virgin is accidentally artificially impregnated—and hilarious anti-abortion hijinks ensue!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14

8:00 CW THE FLASH

Oh, and radiation treatments don't make you run faster, either.

9:00 NBC MARRY ME

Debut! Ken Marino and Casey Wilson star as a couple whose road to marriage is more like a trail of diaper gravy.