In this adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel, we get to see the wild world of America’s Gods, old and new, up close and personal.
I first heard of American Gods in the wake of finishing The Sandman comic books. After finishing that series I was told I must pick up Gaiman’s novel for more of the same existential, twisted, dark, and humorous content that Sandman is packed full of. I was not disappointed. The novel follows the exploits of Shadow Moon, just released from prison. Stranded somewhere in middle-America, he is recruited by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday to be an errand boy and/or bodyguard. What follows are a series of strange and sometimes violent encounters that shape the landscape of American belief.
With such a large theme and deep, existential content, it’s no wonder we haven’t gotten an adaptation sooner. The book often veers off the main plot to introduce us to gods new and old just trying to make their way in modern America’s nearly faithless environs. Episode One keeps these vignettes intact, and yet they don’t slow the narrative or seem out of place. From the strange dissonant theme to a bar with a giant alligator head for the main counter, this is an America full of the strange, and veteran director Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) visually delights in showing it to us in all its grimy, bloody, and sexy glory.
Amidst the chaos that is Shadow’s life, the show is able to maintain a steady pace, giving the audience enough time to drink in the strangeness without getting too bogged down in it. From a drunk leprechaun pulling gold coins out of thin air to a vape-smoking teenager shaking down Shadow with faceless goons, these scenes will enrapture you with their design just as much as the narrative they spin.
This show is a must-watch for fans and fresh faces alike. The sense of mystery, doom, and wonderment are a pleasure to experience, and you won’t be able to wait for the next episode. I know I can’t!