In "American Horror Story" (debuting 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday, FX), a dysfunctional family finds life unraveling even faster when it unwittingly moves into a haunted house.
The series comes from producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who collaborate on "Glee." Both being horror fans who wanted to shake up the genre, they began talking about "Story" about three years ago.
"It was always something that we were really interested in," Falchuk told reporters recently. "It was always something in the back of both of our heads. We're both obsessed with the genre ... and then it's how can we bust the genre up.
"What can we do to the genre to make it not the genre anymore while paying homage to all these things that we love so much?"
Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott play Vivien and Ben Harmon, a married couple trying to reconcile trust issues between them. After moving into a new home, where they want to start over again, the Harmons, along with their daughter, soon start to be manipulated by eerie forces.
Jessica Lange plays their strange next-door neighbor, Constance, and Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under") has a most unusual role -- as a housekeeper who's seen as a young vixen only by sex-starved Ben.
"I was instantly intrigued because of the genre ... in the vein of 'Rosemary's Baby,' or 'The Shining' and 'Repulsion' and all these Polanski movies ...," McDermott said. "So I was immediately obsessed with the idea of it."
Murphy had many cinematic influences going into "Story," among them being the late ABC soap opera "Dark Shadows."
"Even when we were coming up with this, I'm like, 'Remember how good "Dark Shadows" was and how gothic and it had all these sort of interwoven stories about sex and marriage and obsession?' And I felt that there sort of wasn't that on the air right now," he said.
Other highlights for the week of Oct. 2-8 (check local listings):
"Hunt for the I-5 Killer" (8 p.m., Lifetime). John Corbett stars in this true story of a killer suspected of murdering 14 and committing several sexual assaults along Interstate 5 between California and Washington state.
"Dexter" (9 p.m., Showtime). Dark angel Dexter Morgan wonders if he can go from sinner to saint as the new season begins.
"Around the World in 80 Ways" (10 p.m., History). "Boston Rob" Mariano -- you'd know the name if you watch "Survivor"; he's been a contestant several times -- is host of this global travel series. Each week he'll find new ways to navigate his journey without repeating one twice.
"Hung" (10 p.m., HBO). Prostitute Ray (Thomas Jane), who's also a high-school teacher, takes his secret sideline business to the next level in the third-season opener.
"House" (9 p.m., Fox). The season-eight opener: A year after he drove his car into a house, the not-so-good doctor is behind bars and giving out medical advice.
"Gene Simmons Family Jewels" (9 p.m., A&E). The new season opens with Shannon finally giving Gene an answer to his proposal.
"George Harrison: Living in a Material World" (9 p.m., HBO). Martin Scorsese directed this documentary about Harrison's life and career as told in the musician's own words.
"South Park" (10 p.m., Comedy Central). The 15th season of the Emmy-winning animated comedy takes off.
"Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution" (10 p.m., Comedy Central). The comedian hosts a showcase for his work and brings guests along to perform, too.
"Sanctuary" (10 p.m., SyFy). The fourth season sees Helen (Amanda Tapping) traveling to 1898 London to save Adam's daughter. However, if she's able to do that, she'll alter history with alarming consequences.
"Free Agents" (11 p.m., BBC America). Before it was a newcomer to NBC this fall, the sitcom about an office romance was a British hit. Now Americans can see where it all started.