April 30, 2017
Soooooo, you might have seen me mention once or twice or maybe thirty million times on this site and Tubular that Starz was producing an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel, American Gods. I didn’t read the novel until 2012, and it hit all my sweet spots: it was a funny, sexy, scary hero’s journey that explores the power of metaphor, of symbols, of mythology and faith. And I loved it. And I thought it would make a wonderful TV series.
HBO thought so, too, and tried to develop it between 2011-2014. Though Gaiman himself was writing the pilot script, HBO didn’t think it was close enough to the book and eventually gave up on the project. But like any good resurrection deity, American Gods rose from the dead and found new life on Starz, helmed by the visual genius Bryan Fuller.
Having seen the first four episodes, I can say that as a fan of the novel, I am not disappointed. Fuller’s ability to make violence lush and gorgeous and his inimitable talent at capturing the sensation of being trapped in a dream state help bring this strange, surreal novel to life. And it is strange, and it is surreal. You’ve been warned.
So what is it about? For those of you who did not read the book and somehow have managed to avoid the avalanche of press about the series, a quick primer:
The short answer is: mythological gods brought to America by immigrant populations are losing their power to more modern obsessions or “gods”: namely media, celebrity, technology and drugs. And the old gods decide to fight back before they are forgotten forever.
The longer answer is: Our hero is the improbably-named Shadow Moon, a strapping African-American fellow who is released from prison a few days early when his beloved wife unexpectedly dies in a car crash. As he makes his way back home, he meets and is employed by a conman, Mr. Wednesday. Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon proceed to travel around the country trying to enlist the old gods in a war against the new. Hijinks ensue.
All of this is a long way to go to say that I am going to blog this series when it begins on Sunday, and I hope to enrich the experience of watching it by pointing out all the mythological, symbolic, hero’s journey goodness embedded within. I do hope I can con you into joining me on the adventure; we can seal the deal over shots of honey-wine.
Below you will find the trailer to the series and a number of short introductory videos of the various gods and mortals in play.
American Gods debuts on Starz on Sunday, April 30th at 8/9 p.m. and I am SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO SEE THIS.