American Gods is one of those series that you really want to tell people about but is so difficult to put into words. Adapted from the critically acclaimed Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, American Gods is a twisted blend of fantasy and mythology, a tangled mix of the old and the new.
The main storyline focuses on ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) who, following his early release from prison and the death of his wife, finds himself in the employ of the mysterious Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane). As they journey across America, Moon’s perception on reality is put to the test and he is forced to question the world around him.
Alongside the main storyline, each episode offers an insight into a different God and their journey into America. Whilst these little side-stories are uniquely interesting on their own, as the series continues the different storylines converge and we learn their place in Mr Wednesday’s ultimate plan; a war between the old Gods and the new.
I have read some reviews complaining about inconsistencies between the series and the source material, so if you are familiar with Gaiman’s novel then be prepared for unfamiliar storylines and new experiences. That being said, Neil Gaiman himself was an executive producer so if he is happy with the new additions, everyone else should be too, but that’s just my opinion 🙂
The solid storylines are reinforced by strong acting and an excellent cast list of household names including Crispin Glover, Gillian Anderson and Emily Browning, alongside (for me) some relatively new faces, my particular favourites being Pablo Schreiber (Mad Sweeney), Chris Obi (Anubis) and Orlando Jones (Mr Nancy).
What really sets this series apart, for me, is the aesthetic appeal of each episode, there are some amazingly fantastical scenes and an impactful use of colour. There is also an interesting mix of cinematic styles dependant on the story being told or the feeling being conveyed. Some scenes are reminiscent of films such as Stardust whereas others channel The Matrix or Sin City, so no matter your cinematic tastes, there is something for everyone.
At roughly an hour a-piece, the episodes are substantial enough for some solid story-telling without feeling rushed. My only bone of contention is that the series leads up to a highly anticipated battle but ends on a cliff-hanger, although this does offer the promise that the new season (which starts 11th March 2019) will have a somewhat explosive start.