Now, I know this one has been out for a while, but if you’re like me, these last few weeks, I have found myself in need of a few new shows to watch. I took a trip to Half Price books and picked up some box sets, and American Gods season one was one of them.
American Gods is a Starz project based on a Neil Gaiman book of the same name. Gaiman adaptations, in my not-so-humble opinion, have been good to great in their execution. Stardust, Coraline, and Good Omens come to mind. All three were fun projects, well produced and acted, and well written. American Gods is the same.
You don’t need to have read the book in order to enjoy the show. I am fairly certain that it would be more enjoyable if you have not read the book. Not much is changed, but the things that are changed, at least up to this point, have been good changes. The show is a slow burn, so it is not for everyone, but I would say it is slow in the way that Breaking Bad was slow. Things are still happening and characters are still developing, but there aren’t explosions or chase scenes in every episode.
The story primarily follows Shadow Moon, a recently released convict. He is recruited by Ian McShane’s Mr. Wednesday as a bodyman during a roadtrip that crisscrosses middle America. Along with Ian McShane are half a dozen familiar faces, including Crispin Glover in a role that fits like a glove. The story meanders, as Mr. Wednesday introduces Shadow to new characters with each passing episode, and pulling him deeper and closer to his true purpose and intentions. Giggity. Thgat reminds me: this is premium television, so there is a fair amount of skin, sex, and language throughout, so those with softer ears and younger eyes may need to wait to see this one for a while.
The dialogue is well written, the characters are unique and defined, and the commentary is present and tasteful. The action, when it happens, is hit or miss. There are times when it is impactful and exciting, but there are also times where it is lackluster. Now, considering this is a show that is story based, that isn’t too big of a deal, but it’s still a shame that such a good overall project can suffer from weak choreography.
That said, American Gods had me hooked. The performances are measured and believable. Well, as believable as they can be in a world of magic, resurrection, and horny legendary folk.The story leads you along, and makes you both anxious for it to get where it is going and curious enough to want to slow down and explore some of the places it makes you visit.
I’m a fan. I’ve almost finished season two, and I’m looking forward to picking up the season three dvd set when it eventually comes out. It’s not a Game of Thrones type show that will be spoiled for you the second it aires, so if you feel like waiting for it to find a home on a streaming site or run its course and land in a box set, I don’t blame you. However, I would recommend giving it a try. For those who enjoyed the pacing and character work of shows like Deadwood or fans of Gaiman’s other work, this is going to be a satisfying watch.
Give it a go. You can’t disagree with me until you do.
Guest post by Josh Price