Gaiman’s fantasy is your next must-see box set
GAME OF Thrones meets Monty Python” is how Rolling Stone describes the prologue for American Gods, the next mustsee box set, adapted from the novel of the same name by British- Jewish author Neil Gaiman. Gaiman, based in the US these days, has a cult following and has won many awards for his novels and his comic series The Sandman. He’s also a seasoned writer of screenplays. This is his first book to be adapted into a big-budget TV series.
The series centres on ex-convict Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) encountering a mysterious world populated by gods who have come to Earth, including the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, played by TV legend Ian McShane, and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber).
Gaiman told a magazine earlier this year: “The first signing of the American book tour was in the Twin Towers on June 19, 2001.
“If anything, I feel like I was writing about stuff that was in the wind, and the wind has just been concentrating over the past 20 years.”
Co-creator Michael Green, whose CV includes NBC’s Heroes and Smallville, is a Jewish New Yorker who, in collaboration with the other showrunner, Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) brings years of experience to the show.
Green told an audience recently that he and Fuller were excited about the show because it hits on subjects that people feel passionate about but TV often avoids, including religion.
“And the immigrant stories of people coming with their faiths, with their traditions, with their myths, with their beliefs, with their idiosyncrasies and then have to negotiate those against this new world they find themselves in.”
Green’s partner on the show, Fuller, says the fact that they came from two different religious backgrounds was something that they could play to when developing the show.
“One of the things that has been very rewarding for me in the experience has been just the partnership with Michael and being able to go into this well-loved book and come at it from two different perspectives of religious experience. Michael being raised Jewish, myself being raised Catholic, and both of us having a fondness for those religions and a curiosity about what constitutes those religions.
“It feels like this book is a great opportunity for both of us to have conversations about faith and our roles in the universe in a way that is every bit as fun as the stories that we grew up loving in science fiction and fantasy.”
Fans of Gaiman’s fantasy-infused work like The Sandman and Neverwhere will find that his fingerprints are very much on American Gods. The first episode features everything from Vikings and a leprechaun to a gang of cyber-thugs called The Children and a tree with talons. Expect blood, magic and a lot of surprises.
Let’s hope it will revive moves to make other Gaiman works into films or TV series. Many have had the rights purchased, but as yet too few projects have come to fruition. I was writing about \]^Þ that was in the wind
‘American Gods’ will be available to watch on Amazon Prime in the UK from May 1. The first season runs for eight episodes.
Ian McShane as the mysterious Mr Wednesday