The long awaited adaptation of Neil Gaimen’s American Gods is up and running, so I had a look at the first two episodes (there’s 8 in total) to see how it was shaping up.
Gaimen had mentioned as long ago as 2011 that there was interest in adapting his award winning book. Well the good news is that the wait has paid off, as the first quarter is stunning both visually and dramatically. I haven’t read the book, and decided not to, so I had no pre-conceived ideas about how this show should look. So from my point of view, it all works well. There may be fans of the novel though that disagree, so a big “nah nah nah” to any of them that aren’t enjoying this, as far as going in cold goes, this show has “success” written all over it.
Starz network that is behind the show, seems to have handed the producers a healthy budget to work with.
The first episode , the Bone Orchard, has some stunning, and surprisingly violent scenes, in fact the violence came as a shock to me so early on. As the narrative unfolds, we follow Shadow-Moon (hippy parents?), waiting for release from prison, and the strange characters he meets along the way.
As there are only 8 episodes, I really don’t want to spoil anything here, so I won’t go into the plot and the motivations of the players involved, but needless to say, it is filled with the kind of scenarios that long time Gaimen fans will have come to expect. There are definitely elements of his seminal comic book title Sandman here.
There’s a terrific cast on board too, Ian McShane is sublime, and Ricky Whittle as Shadow-Moon has just the right amount of thuggish confidence and bewilderment to keep us engaged. Episode 2, The Secret of Spoons, keeps the heady pace of the first episode up. More is revealed to us, but the mystery at the heart of the story still burns very slowly.
We feel we should know who these people are, but there is just enough ambiguity in the scripts to keep us thinking.
The show flits from past to future, giving us clues to a story, and there is a feeling that something epic is waiting around the corner. Fans of Preacher and Netflix Marvel shows will have lots to enjoy here.
It’s smart, funny, violent and the music is great too. I’m along for the ride here and looking forward to the rest of the season. I gather it has already been renewed for a second run, so they must have done something right.
Check it out and let me know your thoughts!