Spoilers, obviously.

The season eight premiere of American Horror Story has received (mostly) positive reviews from critics.

In the lead up to its return, details of the season remained tight-lipped, but series creator Ryan Murphy revealed that the season – sub-titled Apocalypse – would be the much anticipated crossover between Murder House and Coven.

The premiere, set in a not-so-far future, depicts the end of the world (shock!) at the hands of nuclear missiles, which subsequently leads to a nuclear winter.

Kat Rosenfield from Entertainment Weekly gave the episode an A−, and said the premiere “wastes no time” in wreaking havoc upon the world. “The missile that obliterates Los Angeles hits before the title credits even roll,” she wrote.

USA Today was equally praise-worthy, claiming American Horror Story is “back to fine and freaky form” and praised the “propulsive, riveting” opening sequence.

Daniel D’addario of Variety also commended the “moments of genuine pain gleaned from the first moments of the episode”, but criticised the “aimless” next 45 minutes. However, he said the show has still remained its charm from the first season.

The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon was particularly won over, claiming Apocalypse is the craziest, “best instalment since Coven”.

“This is looking like an American Horror Story season we might actually follow to its end of days,” he said.

Other critics haven’t been quite as generous, however. The AV Club‘s Molly Horan called the premiere “stale” and admitted: “This might be the first AHS premiere that doesn’t provide at least one jump out of your seat moment.”

Matt Fowler of IGN said, despite his initial excitement, that the execution of the premiere was “campy and muddled”.

“Somewhere down the line, the franchise stopped evenly mixing its sinister elements and snarky quips, which has defanged the show a bit,” he wrote.

However, Fowler did add: “The beginning and end of the episode though, featuring the exodus from LA and the arrival of the antichrist, help juice things up.”

Apocalypse is notable for boasting the biggest cast in the show’s history, featuring AHS veterans such as: Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy, Taissa Farmiga and Jessica Lange.

It airs Wednesdays in the US on FX, and will premiere 27 September in the UK on Fox.

Related: American Horror Story: A definitive ranking of all seven seasons. 

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