The best of Ryan Murphy


Kain Stobbe

Characters from the various Ryan Murphy projects listed

Glee, a teen drama that ran from 2009 to 2015 on Fox shocked the media as being the first of its kind in many ways. The 6th season long show consisted of a cast of diverse characters based on the whereabouts of their High School glee club. The show stood out to many at the time of creation due to the subject matter that was discussed within each episode such as body image, hate crimes, gun control, classicism, gender identity, sexuality, racial profiling, and more. However, the ways in which each topic was handled were often flawed and don’t stand the test of time in terms of political correctness in 2021. Music is an immensely important aspect of the show, with cast recorded albums being produced while filming. There are several musical numbers throughout each episode as well with flashy costumes to match, which play an important role in the development of the plot. At its beginning, Glee was made up of a mostly unknown cast, with members then going off of the fame from the show to jumpstart their personal careers.


American Horror Story, commonly known as AHS, is a horror drama series from FX that centers around a new storyline each season. Murphy is well known for using recurring members of the cast each season, some with overlapping plots. Since its start in 2011, AHS has garnered itself a reputation for being filled with familiar actors and actresses in the industry as well as some new up and coming faces. The show is made up of many intricate details that are often overlooked in other series, such as the elaborate and iconic costumes that are featured on the show. The set design is also used to rather enhance each scene as opposed to take away from it, and is almost as important as the characters. Audio is used frequently within AHS in regards to special effects as opposed to music to enrich the experience for the viewer. The show features a relatively diverse cast, such as many same-sex couples and actors who have disabilities.


Scream Queens
Scream Queens, spanning one season from 2015 to 2016, is a horror-comedy-drama mashup that centers around a group of college freshmen in a sorority. The star studded cast features Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, Keke Palmer, and more. Scream Queens starts off with a rather generic college story, until murders begin that causes chaos throughout the campus. The show is filled with edgy humor and does little to tackle deep societal issues. It is rather a surface level show that is made to entertain and does a very good job at that. The costumes that are worn throughout each episode are often extravagant, and used to enhance each character. The soundtrack does not play much of a part in Scream Queens, as well as the cinematography.


The Politician
The Politician follows Payton Hobart, a high school senior with his life all planned out with going to Harvard sandwiched between the life goals of being the next class president and being the president of the united states. The cast includes an equal mix of newcomers and lesser known actors like David Corenswet and Zoey Dutch, to a big list of Hollywood actors like Gwenyth Paltrow and Jessica Lange. They offer a variety of skill and emotion, with an awe inspiring leading performance by Tony Winner Ben Platt. The minority representation is important, but flawed, especially with LGBTQ+ characters. Peyton and his high society classmates use bright colors and defining pieces such as McAfee’s pantsuits and Alice’s pearls show the thought that is put into each of these characters and this story. With the soundtrack, the show makes sure to utilize Platt’s beautiful voice, and while it doesn’t always completely make sense with the story, I’m happy to hear it.


The Prom
The Prom is a musical comedy based on the original Tony-nominated broadway show. The movie follows Emma Nolan, whose rural high school cancels the prom after Emma asks another girl out. The viral news reaches down on their luck Broadway stars, played by A-listers such as Meryl Streep and James Corden, who decide to travel to Indiana to change the PTA’s mind and garner good press in the process. The Prom caught major criticism for their choice to have James Corden, a straight actor, portray Barry Glickman, a stereotypical gay man originally portrayed by gay actor Brooks Ashmasanks on Broadway. If you overlook Corden however, whatever your opinion, the movie portrays a beautifully sweet teen lesbian relationship and their unruly hearts. The cinematography and production helps to express what this show is at its heart: a celebration of love and pride. With a few new songs added to this musical extravaganza, the soundtrack will make you cry and laugh, as the rest of the movie does.


Assassination of Gianni Versace
The assassination of Gianni Versace is a docu-drama based on the assassination of famous Italian designer, Gianni Versace. This miniseries takes the viewer through the killing of Versace as well as the life of Andrew Cunanan, his killer. Murphy made the decision to use actors from the AHS franchise such as Finn Wittrock, Cody Fern, and Darren Criss to play the roles of each person in the story. The soundtrack was a significant part of the mini-series, and was used to complement the events that unfolded within Cunanan and Versace’s life. In addition, the costumes within the show are incredibly important to the production value of the storyline, as Versace spent the majority of his life designing clothing for his brand. The cinematography of each frame was clearly incredibly intentional, with precision in each choice. Diversity within the cast wasn’t exactly a focal point, however the story was planned to be as accurate as possible, which didn’t involve a necessarily diverse cast.