There is always hesitation when a favorite novel is being adapted. A cherished book is like your child, and it’s hard not be defensive when it comes to these works – to find a balance in your mind between wanting everyone to enjoy this book and also it to be handled properly in adaptation. But the best thing to hear for book lovers is that their fave is not being made into a movie, but a television series. This opens up so much possibility to stay close to the source material, to not cut out anything really important to the novel, and to even expand on the existing universe.
Imagine our excitement when American Gods was slated for a second season by Starz even prior to the show’s premiere on April 30th. With already two seasons to look forward to, fans of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel were even more excited to see how this story was going to play out. The potential for additional seasons (or at least a third) puts less pressure on the creators to cram too much into too little time, leaving plot points or characters integral to the story on the cutting room floor. Instead, we’re being gifted with an expansion of the world Gaiman created, and with his involvement in the project, you almost feel like you’ve been handed a gift.
Not only are Gaiman’s readers’ reeling at the fortune of how much of the story we’re going to get, but Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are the creators with David Slade on as director and producer on some of the episodes. Fans of the television series Hannibal will know two of those names well. After the worry of adaptation passed, the next wave of panic was how the material was going to be handled. It’s quite visual and haunting, and when Fuller was announced as the person taking on this enormous task, all apprehension I had about the telling of American Gods fell to the wayside. Fuller’s Hannibal was so intense in its visual storytelling that I knew Gaiman’s material was in good hands. After watching the first episode, I’m certain we’re all in for a ride.
Many adaptations simply fall flat or deviate so far from the source material it loses something in the process, or the product just doesn’t live up to the hype. This is one of the only times that I haven’t been let down in the slightest – in fact, I was so pumped up for what’s to come after watching the first episode that I couldn’t get to sleep. My husband, who was hesitant to judge because hasn’t read the novel and only had seen a few episodes of Hannibal with me, commented on how great Ian McShane is for the part of Wednesday (we’re fans of Deadwood) and said that the beginning of the show reminded him of a mix between 300 and Hannibal, and I couldn’t disagree. He wasn’t interested in watching the show despite the trailers I’d shown him, but five minutes in, he was hooked. The characters have been brought to life by an incredibly perfect cast led by Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle (The 100), and I’m fairly certain at least one of the casting directors sold their soul for such an amazing group to fill these powerful roles. Told with a touch of humor and over-the-top imagery, American Gods is a force to be reckoned with.
If you didn’t believe the hype before, trust that American Gods is well worth your time and the add-on subscription to your Amazon Prime account. You can watch American Gods on Starz and Starz apps on devices and through affiliates on Sundays at 9 E/P. Be ready to believe.