Confession of a lifelong horror fan: The first season of FX's American Horror Story left me cold, more appalled than terrified at the overindulgent mishmash of psychosexual poppycock ensnaring unpleasant characters, plus the overkill of a house teeming with too many tedious ghosts, proving the adage that more can be less — effective, that is, although the hype and the buzz carried it to a whopping 17 Emmy nominations (in the miniseries category, where the competition is less fierce).
It wasn't the swords. It wasn't the sandals. For Rufus Sewell, the tough part was all the stinkin' mud. Playing a 12th-century stonemason in mega miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, premiering tonight on Starz at 10/9c, meant maintaining "a level of grime on my neck consistent with that of your typical farm animal," he says.
A small price, indeed, for what's shaping up to be the armor-clanking, leech-sucking, monks-a-poppin' drama of the summer. Pillars, based on Ken Follett's doorstop of a best-seller (all 973 pages of it), about the quest to build a Gothic cathedral in a fictional England of yore, runs eight hours over six Friday nights...