I remember reading the book by Neil Gaiman on which it is based many years ago. I loved it. The book’s story was original and the writing poetic. I looked forward to seeing the series.
It wasn’t at all what I expected. The series feels totally new. I recognized only the barest outlines of the story from the book — Shadow, Mr. Wednesday, road trips, the undertakers, that’s about it.
Visually, the series is a feast. It jumbles brilliant imagery with mundane detail as the most outrageous cast of characters ever assembled for a TV series struts across multiple timelines.
Performances are terrific. Ian McShane, a perennial favorite of mine, inhabits the Mr. Wednesday role with craggy and quizzical menace. Emily Browning as Laura Moon ramps up quickly and nearly steals the show, flies and all. Gillian Anderson as Medea is phenomenal.
Everyone is great, regardless of screen time. According to IMDb, Margery Simkin and Orly Sitowitz were responsible for casting. They deserve a major prize.
As fantastical as the show is, if you’ve ever driven around America on extended road trips you’ll see much to recognize. High and low art, beautiful and ugly, good and bad taste – all are on display here and jumbled together. It’s not always comfortable or squeaky clean. The violence and explicit sex are sometimes extreme. The (brilliant) choices of music will sometimes startle.
But all is fascinating. American Gods is, bottom line, a terrificTV series, starting with the most visually arresting intro ever.
Here’s the trailer:
For aNewDomain, I’m Dennis D. McDonald.
An earlier version of this movie review ran in Dennis D. McDonald’s DDMCD site. Check it out here.