American Gods (2017– )
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That's not what I wanted to write about, though. I was compelled to write the review because I gave up on the show after the constant politicizing became too much for me. And it's all intentional inserts on the part of the writers, because none of those scenes (listed below) are in the book.
American Gods is one of my favorite books. One of the reasons why is because it's apolitical. Or at least it ignores hot topic issues. Here is a list of things that don't exist in the books but were inserted into the show:
1)Black man being lynched. Including constant remarks from characters about the lynching. 2)Ignorant racist Czernobog 3)Anansi wearing 20th century clothing going on a civil rights rant in front of slaves on a slave boat. 4)Illigal immigrants' plight being lionized 5)Made up story of evil rednecks massacring illegals at the border 6)Illegals are the truly virtuous ones who carry Jesus with them. Jesus is in this, yes. 7)Evil white Christian rednecks shooting Jesus. So ironic! 8)Evil white American town that doesn't care about human life. 9)The true American spirit is evil and literally Nazi. I'm not misusing the word literally here by the way. 10)Stupid sexist leprechaun gets put in place by strong woman.
If you can stomach this kind of blatant, hamfisted condescending garbage from the smug writers, I guess you can give the show a try. It's certainly well made and acted, but the writers are terrible and I'm certain the quality will keep going down as they diverge more and more from the book and ignore Gaiman's writing in favor of their own.
Thanks for reading, if you did.
Great for people who enjoy mythology - if you know a bit about it beforehand it's going to improve the ride but not essential. Great if you enjoy fantasy. Amazing show. Watch it, it's worth it.
Only downside is - I think it should air on Wednesdays, not Sundays!
The problem is that the Hollywood producers and screenwriters think they can make a better story than Gaiman. About half the content of the show are entirely new stories and characters they've made up, and none of them hit the mark. Even worse, they appear to be vehicles for the writers to preach politics. This is particularly evident in episode 6, which is likely where some folks will stop watching the series.
Scene 1: Jesus Christ (none of this is in the book) is an illegal immigrant who walks across the Rio Grande --yeah he can walk on water that's one of his superpowers -- and when he gets to the other side a bunch of American border vigilantes wearing crosses shoot him. Bullets pierce his hands and feet and he dies laying in crucified stance on the beach. This is indulgent bad art.
Scene 2: The god Vulcan (also this is not in the book) has a gun making factory. The town is filled with people wearing Nazi-like uniforms, carrying guns, grimacing meanly at the camera...there's a lot of grimacing here. Oh and they lunch black people.
Not only are these bad heavy handed scenes that violate the style of Gaiman's work, they are all intended to portray a straw-man model of how Hollywood sees conservative middle Americans: gun carrying, racist, immigrant-baby-killing, Christians. Nothing ruins good fiction faster than the injection of partisan politics.
American Gods is a brand spanking new fantasy TV show based on a novel by British author Neil Gaiman. It's an eight-part series which depicts a running battle between the old gods and new in modern-day America; former HOLLYOAKS actor Ricky Whittle headlines alongside Ian McShane. Truth be told, it's a difficult show to love; more interesting than entertaining, and very slow in parts. The film has way too many scenes dominated by CGI used to depict otherworldly beings, but which add to the story in no particular way; they're just there as general backdrop. It also tries a bit too hard to shock with explicit sex and violence unrelated to the story. It's a pity, as there are hints of greatness here, and some moments are a lot of fun. Surprisingly, it's the episodes centred around Emily Browning's character that turn out to be the best, because they're story-centred rather than just aimless.
Even though the visuals are sometimes very gruesome, it perfectly fits the tone and story of the book and gave me almost the exact feeling that I had, when I read it. The actors are chosen well and especially the two main actors so far, Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane are doing insanely good jobs.
It might be confusing at first, but that is just the journey we are taking part in, when we follow Shadow Moon's story. It is confusing to him, so it is to us, he does not know what is going on, so neither do we. This is something several very negative reviewers of this should have realized: Even if you don't get what exactly is going on in the first episode of a show, it does not mean the show has to be bad. It is called suspense. The plot should not need to be spoon fed! Let the show carry you with it and learn what it is about the same way Shadow does and risk being surprised! Oh and on a special note, even though I do not know whether the review was done by a troll or not: No, the show is not another "typical TV show about vikings, knights and a lot of killing". If you think that, you failed basic comprehension.
The Bad: The show is riddled with terrible dialogue, boring sub-plots, and an overdependence on (cringeworthy) CGI & post-production, all of which make for a tedious viewing experience. Another problem is the genre - magical realism - if (literally) anything can happen in the show without any explanation, there isn't a single reason left to care about the show or its characters.
My biggest takeaway from this show is that magical realism is a risky genre for television and should not be taken up unless the showrunners know EXACTLY what the fuck they're doing. (Given that the showrunners have left the show, I reckon that to not be the case.)
You quite literally turned something good into nothing more than a festering cancerous lump in these talented actors careers.
Your self hatred is projected in every line of speech, in every scene. Your need to signal virtue bleeds into every aspect of the argument. Your hunger for relevance destroyed any and all creative process in the series.
There are more slaves now in Africa than there ever were in colonial times, children alone make up 71 million!!!! There were more Chinese and Irish slaves in America than African slaves. George Washington himself wrote that he thought so poorly of the German people that he had trouble believing they were indeed European. The Italians suffered enormously because of xenophobia. Don't believe me? Google it, read a book, learn history.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions!
Amazon have compared this show to Game Of Thrones in the advertising which is a bloody liberty as it's incomparable due to Game Of Thrones having a strong & clear narrative that grips you & doesn't let go - everything that American Gods does not have.
Over stylised production without narrative/story is a flaw far too many shows have. American Gods looks pretty but has no connectivity - just like the lead. There really is not much more to say about American Gods. Unoriginal sleight of hand with nothing of interest revealed.
Story! Characters! Empathy! Connectivity! Where are these things?
Ian McShane's talent is wasted here.
I am pretty sure this is another example of TV 3.0, as are other recent shows like Legion (which I still do not understand, but love) and Outcast (which I sort of understand, and also love.) American Gods seems determined to take this to an entirely different level. Even if you are a die-hard fan of VIKINGS (guilty), the opening sequence here in episode 1 where the first Viking to set foot in America is literally "arrowed to death" is, well, unforgettable.
I have no idea where this series is headed but, like the others mentioned, it is addictive and unpredictable. More, please.
**** Addendum ***** Sept 2017 *******
1. As I work my my way through S01 waiting patiently for S02 (Thank you Starz for answering our "prayers"), I still am not completely sure what I am watching but I am having a great time. There is a party in my brain. Everyone is invited.
2. This is my favorite "new" (as in "TV 3.0") show since Banshee, which seemed at first to be just another modern western (like Justified) but, the more you got into it, the more you realized it was insane and crazy and unpredictable and great fun. Like this show.
3. The casting is beyond brilliant. Ian McShane is not only an astonishing (and unappreciated) actor, but he has an empathy we can instantly relate to. If the world were to end tomorrow, and he was the one picked to give everyone the bad news, it would somehow seem more manageable. And Emily Browning, oh my, words fail me. If you were to take a moment to study the history of the Academy Awards (boring!) you would notice, the more physically challenging the role, the more likely the Academy was to honor it. Here, the ever-spunky Browning plays a dead wife who is determined to win back her husband even if she has to carry around a needle & thread in order to constantly sew herself back up. Unfortunately the Emmy people (who completely and unfairly snubbed Browning) seem to use a different playbook?
4. There are bits of astonishing dialog in this show that are already being mentioned in IMDb lists. From Git Gone (S01E04), this just a sample:
Anubis: "Was it love?"
Laura: "It wasn't. But I suppose it is now."
Anubis: "That is unfortunate. Love will always have you at a disadvantage."
Laura: "I think BEING DEAD has me at a disadvantage."
I loved season 1. In fact, I bought the book because of season 1. Then there were rumors that the show would be canceled and then the showrunners left. After a year in hiatus, the show returned and... Well... NO! Everything seems off.
Feels like a completely different show and not in a good way. Even the actors look like they are bored while the plot is a bit messy and not built properly. Something is missing and it does not have the magic of season 1. They try too hard to make it look "cool" and edgy and it doesn't feel natural at all the way they do it.
I don't feel entertained anymore. Hell, I don't even enjoy watching this. There are many good shows to spend your time. Maybe it's not for me. Either way I'm out.
5 stars for the first season, 0 stars for season 2.
But unfortunately it suffers for a sever lack of interesting storyline. The main character is extremely unrelatable and you really don't care about him at all. It has lots of unnecessary over the top sex scenes and violent cut aways which so far have little to nothing to add to the overall storyline and seem to be shoehorned into the story to add shock value. The whole thing feels extremely disjointed and plots slowly.
Because of the concept and visual appearance of the show I really want to like it. But its just so all over the place storywise, slow moving and generally boring.
It seems to be that unless you've read the novels and know whats going to happen.. You will not enjoy this show. Hate to say it.. but don't waste your time.
Music: Spot on! Very fitting for the emotion and gravity felt in each scene.
Story: Stays very close to the original book narrative, but gives some of the most fascinating characters a little more screen time.
Tone: Surprisingly whimsical at times. It may seem jarring for folks unfamiliar with the original work on the storytelling style of the show runners. There's violence and sex in abundance, but beneath it all, there's an existential dread among the Old Gods.
Could not recommend this show any more highly!
This series tries so hard to be better than its source material. It tries and it fails.
Art is about emotions. Any good artist will avoid emotions. This is the paradox American Gods does not understand.
Summary: Read the book.
Some people have taken issue with the violence and sex. I have no issue with that at all. In fact, I would have welcomed more of it.
What robbed the show of feeling timeless and intellectually sincere, however, was the near constant political messaging that saturated the experience with a relentlessness that seems somewhat malicious in hindsight. This is probably the most anti-conservative show I have ever seen, and all of its lofty artistic aspirations get left behind in its smug mission to caricaturize conservatives and their perceived viewpoints in wildly offensive and ridiculous ways.
Liberals will find much to celebrate, here, but for everyone else who is trying to escape the hysterical politicization of nearly every facet of media, it might be better simply to read the book.
It's a shame too, since there are real moments of brilliance when the writers remember to tell a universally poignant story instead of regurgitating leftist allegories.
I am guessing most the reviews were based on the first episode, these themes were minor in the first episode, but really got bigger and bigger throughout, till it became unwatchable. This stuff is killing Hollywood, personally I have canceled cable and not went to the movies in years now. until Hollywood stops shilling one point of view I will continue to boycott them and recommend everyone else do the same.