BAT­TLE BE­TWEEN OLD, NEW

New Straits Times - - World -

LOS AN­GE­LES: A tele­vi­sion se­ries fol­low­ing an ex-con­vict em­broiled in a bat­tle be­tween an­cient mytho­log­i­cal gods and new man-made deities has tapped into a timely dis­cus­sion of Amer­ica’s his­tory of race, re­li­gion and im­mi­gra­tion.

Amer­i­can Gods, an adap­ta­tion of Bri­tish au­thor Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel of the same name, is reimag­ined as a stylised gritty saga. It de­buted on the United States pre­mium ca­ble net­work Starz this week.

The show has been com­pared to HBO’s hit me­dieval fan­tasy se­ries

Game of Thrones, but it ex­plores un­der­ly­ing themes of how re­li­gion be­came a part of the fab­ric of the US through its im­mi­grants.

“The use of the gods was ... to

talk about the way peo­ple come to Amer­ica and aban­don cul­ture, aban­don places they came from and what they brought with them, and what hap­pens to the things they’ve for­got­ten,” Gaiman said.

Amer­i­can Gods fol­lows Shadow Moon, who has been re­leased from prison to the news that his wife, Laura, was killed along with his best friend. On his jour­ney home to bury her, he meets Mr Wed­nes­day, once known as the pow­er­ful Norse god Odin, but now a grifter hus­tling on the strength of his charm.

Shadow, hired as Mr Wed­nes­day’s body­guard, is thrown into a sur­real world where magic and power lurk just be­hind the fab­ric of re­al­ity. Ten­sion brews among the old gods, which in­clude those drawn from Norse, African, and In­dian mythol­ogy, and new gods such as Tech­ni­cal Boy and Me­dia.

The TV adap­ta­tion fea­tures a racially di­verse cast, and its ex­plo­ration of race and im­mi­gra­tion col­lides with present day ten­sions in Amer­ica.

Bryan Fuller, who cre­ated the show with Michael Green, said

Amer­i­can Gods was writ­ten and filmed be­fore the Novem­ber election of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has sought to crack down on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and act more ag­gres­sively to de­port il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the US.

A scene from ‘Amer­i­can Gods’.

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