AMERICAN GODS [Series Premiere Review]: Gotta Love These ‘Gods’.
Perfect. That’s the only way I can think of to describe Starz’ adaptation of my second-favorite book. Everything was just perfect, from the casting to the visuals. In my head, I always imagined Shadow as being just a touch lighter (hence the need for that line in the book), but Ricky Whittle’s performance is spot-on. My personal favorite part was the cemetery, in which we watch Shadow lower his wife’s casket into the ground and afterward sit there and ask her why she did what she did. Whittle and Betty Gilpin (playing Audrey, the wife of Shadow’s best friend) give us an incredibly emotional scene. But Ian McShane (Deadwood) as Mr. Wednesday was the highlight of the episode. He’s smarmy and charming and creepy and absolutely everything that Mr. Wednesday should be.
Technical Boy (one of the New Gods) is visually nothing like he is in the book, but as soon as he appears, you know exactly who he is. This interpretation is more slick than the chubby, pimply literary version, but he evokes an Internet that is nothing like it was in 2001. Beautifully shot with stunning imagery, American Gods doesn’t shy away from the graphic stuff, either. Blood spurts in glorious patterns in fights and the Bilquis scene manages to be both sexy and disturbing. If you’re not familiar with the source material, it can come off as just pretty weirdness, but that’s by design. If you are though, it’s an incredibly faithful adaptation, one that I’m eagerly anticipating the next episode of.. 5/5 Bar-Fighting Leprechauns.
Oh, you didn’t think you would get rid of me that quickly did you? Just one comic review and I’m out? I’m no one-review-chump, good congregation! This time, your favorite nerd “Cardinal” is here to bring you the good news of– what I’m calling right here and now, the “Stranger Things of 2017″, American Gods. Now, while I haven’t read the book since senior year of college, there are certain things that stuck with me and, by God, this pilot brings the book to life. Ian McShane is Mr. Wednesday and Whittle (The 100) is Shadow Moon. A.G. is one of those rare gems where everything is just right, from the casting to the directing to the writing to the acting –- it’s all just so perfect it almost hurts.
The battle between the gods of old and the gods of new has never been more wonderfully shot than now behind the artful hands of David Slade, with beautiful words from Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller. Those are extremely good hands. Trust me, I could write a damn thesis on this episode and break every little thing down, sure! But I won’t bore you with anything more than just– YES! YES! SWEET JEBUS, YES!! 4.5/5 Bibles.
Not having read the book at all (not so good at those), it’s still smart to assume that if it’s something by Mr. Gaiman, then it’s something worth checking out. But even all the way back at SDCC 2016, I had interest in his show. Why Fuller knows how to make good TV and McShane is one of the best actors on this planet — and I will sick a drunken Mad Sweeney on you if you don’t agree. I was fortunate enough to watch the first episode on a big screen last month, and, upon seeing it a second time, nothing was lost on the look of this show. American Gods looks more like a film than a serial. Much of the cinematography is massive wide shots that pull the audience into its grimacing environs, giving the production team more artistic ammunition. From the deserted island in the beginning to the crocodile bar later on, we’re given more than just a tiny town to this world.
Fuller takes a large amount of art from two of his projects and mixes them wonderfully. The smart and eccentric style of characters from Pushing Daises are thrown into a dark and violent realm of Hannibal. Although the pilot only gives us a few characters to work with, Shadow Moon is our ever-so-righteous ticket for this ride. In a land of crazies and immoral characters, we need a good-natured, stable soul to keep the show centered. Whittle never pushes either of his sides too far as he keeps the ex-con in his back pocket as his defense; but doesn’t push the “reformed good guy” act either. We also have Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) and Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) who come off as enraged forces of power that are not to be challenged in any way, and also pack completely distinct traits that don’t just throw them into cliché “bad guys.”
Above all else is the man that all these kids should bow down to in real life. Mr. Wednesday McShane plays the character like a lumberjack eating a fat juicy steak. As his words come out at a sly and steady cadence you can almost see him licking his lips as he deliciously bites into each line of dialogue. He might be not moving his body much, but the way he dances his proposition for Shadow Moon to join him is like the stripper to the groom at a bachelor party. The groom has to constantly fight to keep from giving in, knowing the result is nothing but terrible for his future. I can’t wait to see what kind of fortune is in store for Shadow Moon and the rest of the series. 4.5/5 Gold Coins.