Sunday, June 18, 2017

TV Show Review: American Gods

A mesmerizing adaptation of Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel comes to Starz with an eight-episode first season to start the journey. Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is released from prison early only to hear the bad news that his wife Laura (Emily Browning) is dead. Even worse, Laura was having an affair with Shadow's best friend Robbie (Dane Cook). Without a home to return to, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) on a plane home. Strange things start happening as Mr. Wednesday offers Shadow a job. In a bar, Shadow agrees to work with Mr. Wednesday and has to prove himself in a fight with Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), a hard-drinking, leprechaun with coin tricks up his sleeve. 

Hired on to work, Shadow first attends his wife's funeral where Robbie's wife, Laura's friend, offers to have sex with him. He refuses but leaves a coin from Mad Sweeney on Laura's grave, which brings her back to life. Shadow gets accosted by Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) and nearly strangled. He realizes working for Mr. Wednesday will be more dangerous than he thought as the god recruits other deities. They venture to Chicago where Shadow nearly loses his life in a game of checkers with Czernobog (Peter Stormare). 

Like in the novel, other gods gets their stories told like Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), a love goddess who swallows men worshipping her with her vagina to stay alive, Anubis (Chris Obi) a god of death directing the deceased to the afterlife, and Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones) brought over on a slave ship. Mr. Wednesady continues to recruit gods to his side though it doesn't always go as planned. The more popular new gods like Media (Gillian Anderson) and Mr. World (Crispin Glover) try to recruit Shadow to their side and get angry when they don't agree. 

Shadow and Mr. Wednesday continue to con their way around the country looking for recruits but Laura is right behind them with Mad Sweeney for company. Laura and Sweeney tag along in a taxi with Salim (Omid Abtahi) who is looking for a Jinn (Mousa Kraish). Mr. Wednesday sees the tide turning when a newly empowered volcano god Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen) from guns turns against him so Mr. Wednesday has to kill him. The finale sees Mr. Wednesday recruiting the goddess Easter (Kristin Chenoweth) at her party with various forms of Jesus and facing off against the rival gods.

There is plenty of absurdity and spectacle in the first season of this show. The movie follows pretty closely to the novel, which I just started reading again remembering that I enjoyed it several years ago though the show expands on characters backgrounds and takes liberties to make things a little more interesting. Starz puts out some of my favorite content when they debut a new prestige show, it usually rises to the top of my list. The cast is so impressive and the budget does not enough to make for some gorgeous scenes on the screen. I'd recommend this show to fans of the bizarre. 

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