Put Some Gay In Your Day, Dallas!

This One’s Cuckoo

In a typical year, we’d be settling in for a new season of American Horror Story right now. But because we’re living that series title in real time, it’ll be 2021 before we get to the show’s fictional tenth season.

That’s entirely OK, though, because Ryan Murphy’s latest for Netflix feels like a more coherent version of his flagship TV anthology. In Ratched, which premieres tomorrow, Sarah Paulson steps into the uniform of Mildred Ratched, the iconic Nurse from Hell from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (also available to stream on Netflix should you want to watch it before this origin series) .

Much like AHS: Asylum, the eight-episode first season takes place primarily within the walls of a mental hospital, although one that’s much nicer (in interior design, at least) than the dreary Briarcliff. Like so many of the shows Murphy touches, there’s the requisite serial killer, gratuitous male nudity and occasionally absurd, WTF plot points—all things we crave and savor in a guilty pleasure such as Ratched.

Paulson’s performance, as usual, wows us with her ability to convey so many different emotions in subtle ways that transcend the melodrama at hand. The supporting cast, however, deserves an equal overdose of praise for making Ratched such a delight. Among the numerous stars making Lucia State Hospital and the town it’s set in such an enjoyable place to visit are Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon and Amanda Plummer in a role we could watch on a neverending loop. In fact, the entire series is so gorgeously shot, we could watch it with the sound off and enjoy it on a purely visual level, too.

Judy, Judy, Judy: Davis takes a stab at nursing.
Everybody must get Stoned: Sharon brings high fashion (and a monkey) to the table.
Did someone request a Plummer?

For the record, we devoured the entire season in a matter of days because, like Hollywood before it, the show deftly captures a bygone era of civility and glamour with every costume, set-piece and camera angle intricately woven into an elaborate tapestry of high drama.

Even though we’re sad to be done with all the episodes of Ratched, we’re beyond thrilled to know that Paulson, Murphy and company will be scrubbing in for a second season.

Just what the doctor nurse ordered.

Premieres tomorrow

Photo credit: SAEED ADYANI/NETFLIX © 2020