The eight-episode series executive produced by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green that debuts April 30 is do-not-miss television lived large on the big-picture topics and themes of our time as old-world deities and new-world manifestations spar and war across the American cultural tundra. Updated to 2017 from the 2001 publication of Gaiman’s cinematic yet seemingly unfilmable book, this Gods soars where the likes of David Cronenberg’s 1991 Naked Lunch adaptation sank, unveiling a challenging and exceptional result.
In fact, led by Ian McShane and a career-redefining performance from Ricky Whittle, American Gods may also be the best thing Fuller or Green have ever done – and those guys were behind NBC’s Hannibal and the R-rated blockbuster Logan, respectively.
One of the best new shows of 2017 in my book, the series directed by David Slade, Floria Sigismondi and Craig Zobel is, as I say in my video review above, a genre-busting and glorious buddy road show with McShane’s Mr. Wednesday and Whittle’s just-out-of-prison Shadow Moon heading down the interstate of the impossible and hidden. However, also at its deep ensemble-coiled heart of myths and the men and women who believe they master them, this American Gods has a love story, expanded characters, cops, robbers, dead celebs and legitimately deep thoughts baked in to bring to life the core American conversations of race, faith, immigration and civil rights.
To that end, there is a positively show-stopping turn by Orlando Jones as trickster god Anansi, aka Mr. Nancy, and a display of a vast new range by Emily Browning as Shadow’s dead but not gone wife Laura. Then, in a cast that would make up the full talent base of most other outlets’ entire schedule, there’s past Fuller collaborators Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth, both of whom illuminate here as Media and Easter; Kingdom’s Jonathan Tucker; the never-seen-enough Crispin Glover, Corbin Benson, Cloris Leachman, Yetide Badaki and Pablo Schrieber; and Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, among others.
So, click on my video review of American Gods to see more of my take on this Fuller-, Green-and Gaiman-EP’d effort from FremantleMedia. But know this: Whatever else you may be worshiping on the small screen April 30, you need to convert to American Gods.
This review originally ran on April 17