Skip to content

Review: American Gods (Starz) – Worthy of your worship

By on May 1, 2017

American Gods

American Gods

American Gods begins with a group of Vikings, stranded on a beach pleading to the supernatural forces for wind. It is not until the group splits and starts a bloody battle that a pleased Odin sends a breeze to fill their sails and shake the trees. It is a first introduction into the relationship between gods and men, tit for tat, prayer and action.

But the Vikings are not the main story of the series, which is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. The main story of the series revolves around Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle, The 100), a convict who is released early when his wife dies in a car crash. In time, he is employed by Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane, Deadwood) as a bodyguard.

Moon accompanies Wednesday – who we know is Odin in disguise although Moon does not know – on a trip with an unspecified aim, but great importance. They speak with several figures who turn out to be supernatural beings, who all seem to long for the days of old. Slowly but surely, it becomes clear this trip of Odin is the first step towards a war between the old gods and the new.

The stakes are high: in the universe of American Gods gods only exist because people believe in them, and people have started to believe in technology, industry and commerce more than they believe in figure like Odin. The old gods are standing up, bonding together, and taking a stand. And Shadow Moon is stuck in the middle.

This series is one of those series where you have a vastly different experience if you have read the book. I have not, but those who have report that the different storylines present in the series are a lot more interconnected than they seem at first glance. But as someone who hasn’t read the book, it does not bother me that I do not know how. Those who read it may notice jokes and nods to future happenings, whereas those who did not read it can fully immerse themselves in the experience. Shadow Moon is bewildered in this new world he has been thrust into, and as an unsuspecting viewer, you feel the same bewilderment.

The series is full of dry humor, blood and sex. Not suited for children, is what I’m saying. But very much suited for those who like series like Game Of Thrones, for the violence at least. As far as the story is concerned, there are, of course, some nods to modern day issues such as the need for overstimulation, leading people to look at their phones while looking at the TV so they won’t get bored. But the series also puts this in some sort of perspective; where we are now worshipping the gods of technology, industry and commerce, we used to worship violent war gods and lustful temptress deities.

American Gods is one of those series that makes you wonder why you like it so much. There is no one element that sticks out, they’re just all good. A good cast, a good script, a good premise, it’s all there. There is action, there is mystery, and there is humor; something for everyone. And with the old gods stemming from all cultures and places on Earth, there is a god for everyone as well.

American Gods is in between seasons. Season 2 will premiere in Midseason 2017-18.