Ryan Murphy's fast-paced, gripping, and raw series is also very well-cast. From veteran actress Patti Lupone ,who marvelously plays Avis Amberg, to newcomer Jeremy Pope who steps into the role of Archie Coleman with great conviction. The meticulous attention to set, prop, and costume design immediately transports viewers into the luxurious, glamour-filled post-war, Tinseltown days of old. In true Murphy fashion, Hollywood is provocative and in your face and often a rare depiction where the tables are turned and the voices of the marginalized are trumpeted, and rewrite history through the narrative. That said, the ugliness and oftentimes demeaning social norms among the elite in Hollywood are depicted brazenly, and the unspoken compromises that overshadow success inspire some in-depth thought about whether making it big in Hollywood is worth it.
Without being preachy, the series does an excellent job of highlighting the social and political climate during the 1940s, and sheds a light on the hardships of women of color in Hollywood, homophobia, life in the closet, privilege, and more. While there are too many graphic scenes for this to be considered appropriate for the whole family, there are many thematic topics such as compromise, integrity, racism, sexism and social activism that can be discussed with older teens. This series also does an effective job of paying homage to women who were trailblazers in Hollywood, like Dorothy Dandridge, Hattie McDaniel, Lena Horne, Anna May Wong and Irene Selznick.