UH, THE F*** WAS THAT?!
American Gods is a show developed by Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies”, “Hannibal”) and Michael Green (“Logan”, “Heroes”), it’s an adaptions (Though I guess many would say loosely) of the highly acclaimed, and popular Neil Gaiman novel under the same name.
The show has a premise we’re all familiar with at this point, a mortal (seemingly at least), is introduced to the world unseen by a mysteriously charismatic individual. In this case, the mortal is Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and the mysterious magical guide is Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) or as he’s better known, “OOOOOOODIIIN”!!! The pair go on a road trip to places unseen in order for Wednesday to recruit men and women for a war.
We discover that there is a war brewing between the old gods and the new gods, Wednesday, is an old god, who feels like he is being pushed out of the times and replaced by the new models, of which he doesn’t approve.
Here’s my problem with most of this show, or this season, Shadow is supposed to be our avatar into this world, however, I never found him engaging, in fact for the most part of this season, he’s arguably the worst kind of protagonist, a reactive protagonist. For those of you that are unaware of screenwriting terms (nerds), a reactive protagonist is a character that doesn’t drive the plot, the plot drives them.
A perfectly recent example of this would be Felicity Jones’s character in Rogue One, she doesn’t make things happen, things happen to her. This makes it very hard to have an emotional tether to a character that doesn’t move unless the plot propels them too, and when the plot isn’t moving they can be rather boring to watch.
Also, a lot of what goes on in the first season, I feel like could’ve been dealt with in the first 4 episodes. Most of what happens is set up for the pay off of things we don’t get to see, and have to wait around for, this season is mostly just world building.
Now, I don’t mind world building, as long as in some ways it helps propel the narrative and for the most part, I don’t think it did. We get a lot of cool character moments in sacrifice of plot and narrative momentum, which is really great, and much-needed, otherwise this show would’ve been a vacuum.
It should be noted that Shadow Moon has a wife, er ex-wife, as they short of aren’t on kindly terms. His wife Laura (Emily Browning), is in fact a zombie. She was dead, then she came back to life, thanks inadvertently to the help of Mad Sweeny, a 6ft tall leprechaun (Don’t ask).
Laura in my opinion is one of the three most interesting characters in this show that kept me invested, amongst all of the cool and shiny surreal imagery.
Laura is a cold, unapologetic and cunning woman who has drive and wit, and I wish the show was about her. Browning give the character her all and really helps lift up the already great material she has to work with.
Ian McShane as Wednesday is also great, he has a booming and charismatic voice and although is a bit too cryptic in my view, he works brilliantly. You can instantly see why someone as directionless as Shadow would want to follow Wednesday. Plus McShane is great as the character (Did I mention that already?).
There’s a lot of things I could say about this season, but I don’t want to drag this review so I’ll make bullet points instead.
- I NEED MORE MR. NACY (Orlando Bloom)
- What’s up with the Solavic death god (Peter Stormer) and where did he go? Does he still want to kill Shadow?
- Why did Salim (Omid Abtahi) leave Laura and Sweeny high and dry? He’s gonna freak out that Lauara is dead, after he just banged a Dinjin? Weird.
- Kinda waste of Crispin Glover in the show.
- Gillian Anderson is F******* great as Media, more of her please.
- I would like the show to eexplore more of the world and less of the gods themselves, are there magical creatures too that exists?
- The pacing of episodes seem to float between brisk and slow
There are other things, but mostly that’s just my parting thoughts for now, I really have fun while watching the first season of American Gods, but given where we ended up…with Wendesday revealing himself to be Odin (Wasn’t a surprise) and starting the war between him and new gods, it felt very anti climatic. Hopefully next season will pick up with a bang.