American Gods recently wrapped up it’s first season with an 8 episode run. It was adapted from the novel by Neil Gaiman and was developed by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal). Starz did an amazing job with this project. If you didn’t watch it yet, please do what you can to catch it, you won’t regret it. Starz may have finally put themselves on the map with FX(The Strain), AMC(The Walking Dead), and HBO(True Blood) as far as having high quality serialized book adaptations.
The most basic way to describe the premise of the show is that there is a war going on between the “old Gods” and the “new Gods”. We meet Mr. Wednesday(Ian McShane of Deadwood) and see him recruit Shadow Moon(Ricky Whittle) as they continue on their journey to strengthen their team. Along the way we are introduced to many more Gods, new and old. The show really plays out as an 8 hour movie, since we aren’t even introduced to all of our main characters until the season finale. Crispin Glover(Back to the Future) is perfectly creepy as Mr. World, the leader of the new Gods. And Emily Browning(Sucker Punch) and Pablo Schreiber(Orange is the New Black, also brother of Liev) also give standout performances as Shadow Moon’s wife and Mad Sweeney the leperchaun, henchman of Mr. Wednesday.
There are also numerous smaller roles filled by fantastic actors. Peter Stormare(Fargo) is Czernobog, Cloris Leachman(Young Frankenstein) is the Evening Star, Orlando Jones(Sleepy Hollow) is Mr. Nancy, Corbin Bernsen(Major League) is the new to the TV show character Vulcan, and Jeremy Davies(Lost) is Jesus Prime. All pop up throughout the season and are amazing in their limited screen time.
Gillian Anderson(X-Files) gives an amazing performance as the new goddess of media. The way they use her as she is reincarnated as various past media figures Lucille Ball, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland was one of the best parts of the whole season. It keeps you guessing and wanting to see where she’ll pop up next. Kristin Chenoweth(Pushing Daisies) is also great as Easter. Although she is only introduced in the final episode, I look forward to seeing more of what she can do in season 2.
The characters of Bilquis and Salim also have provocative sexual moments in the season. There is no way you are able to watch episode 1 or 3 without wanting to talk to someone about what you’ve just seen.
I’d be remiss to not mention the wonderful soundtrack they’ve compiled to compliment the show. We hear Iko Iko, In the Pines, Up Around the Bend, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, I’m Into Something Good, The Weight, I Put a Spell On You, C’mon Get Happy, Runaround Sue, and Daddy’s Home. Every episode is like a tour of our country’s musical history.
I don’t want to give away too many details, just want to let you know this show is amazing visually and well worth the watch. There are so many must talk about moments and well-developed characters. I mean, Dane Cook is in it, and it’s still worth recommending. It may be a little slow in the first 3 episodes or so, but once you realize what is going on and invest in some of the characters, you won’t be able to wait for more episodes. It is the rare adaptation that takes the source material and expands on it in such a way that makes it so much better. Catch up now and be ready for season 2 in 2018!