American Gods: Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Fight *Spoilers*

Last night, I saw the first chapter of American Gods, the new series on STARZ. It’s based on the novel American Gods by British author Neil Gaiman. Until last night, I had resisted adding STARZ, due to the enormity that is my monthly cable bill.

After my free STARZ months, I said a reluctant goodbye to The Outlander.

Recently, I learned that A Handmaid’s Tale was part of the Hulu lineup.  There are too many good shows and not enough time to watch them all, especially when it costs more. Then I read that Starz was airing a ten part series, based on American Gods, a book that I had read and greatly enjoyed. My resolve developed a serious wobble.

STARZ had me at hello, American Gods.

As the first episode ended, did I have any regrets? Absolutely not!

Rather than the soul, American Gods concerns the dark recesses of the human heart, where magical thinking, desires and grudges reside, overruling logic and dictating our choices. The opening credits alone are worth a look. The lush visuals of American Gods reflect myth and machine. They create a jumble of the bizarre and the beautiful, a dreamlike landscape, inhabited by fearsome creatures.

Gaiman’s American Gods is a war story. The old gods, brought to our shore by immigrants from different parts of the world, prepare for battle.

The first sequence involves a god carved from driftwood

Vikings land on a hostile New World shore. The bugs alone make this place a no go for the exhausted Norsemen. When the lack of a strong wind prevents their leaving, they create a god, hoping it will intercede and convince the stubborn wind to let them leave.

The god is greedy; it wants blood offerings.

The wind finally comes when half of the invaders are dead, the result of a mass sacrifice. Reluctant to linger and chance the wind changing its mind, the Vikings abandon their god in the New World along with their unburied dead.

In Episode One, “The Bone Orchard,” we meet Shadow Moon, an inmate serving time in a 21st Century prison.

On parole and on his way home for his wife’s funeral, Shadow (Ricky Whittle—The 100) becomes the reluctant employee of Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane—Ray Donovan, Deadwood plus too many to count).

A slick con artist, Mr. Wednesday embroils Shadow in the doings of the old gods, who are now scattered across the American landscape.

After losing a bar fight with Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber—Orange is the New Black), a six-foot plus leprechaun, Shadow begins to doubt his sense of reality and his commitment to his employer, Mr. Wednesday. Wednesday knows that America’s new gods are homegrown. Fathered by innovation, birthed and nurtured by commerce, the new gods mean to destroy the old ones.

Neglected and forgotten, the old gods, especially Mr. Wednesday, will not go gentle.

Knowledge of Shadow as Wednesday’s new bodyguard, brings the wrath of one of the new gods, bratty know-it-all and nightmare, Technical Boy (Bruce Langley—Dead Waters). After grilling him on Wednesday’s plans, Technical Boy orders Shadow’s death, a fate Shadow barely escapes, as the episode ends.

Starz is currently airing American Gods with the last episode debuting on June 18th.

So, do any Americans, descendants of immigrants, believe in the gods of the old country?

I think some do. Ask football fans how many rituals they perform to make sure that their favorite team will win. But don’t ask them during a game; that’s bad joo joo.

 

 




Featured image via IMDb

 

Profile photo of Marjorie Kaye

Marjorie Kaye

Writer/designer, M. K. Noble lives in Southern California. After working as an actress, a casting director, and a teacher, she published a short story and co-authored articles on the science of dreams published in The Huffington Post. Discovering that her family history included a great uncle who had been an inmate at the Ohio State Penitentiary which burned to the ground in 1930, she began to write about the fire. Her grandfather’s stories about being a “charity kid” in an Ohio orphanage during the early 1900’s and what she learned about the prison fire led to the novel, The Demon Rift. Babylon Dreams, a novel taking place in virtual reality is her second novel. Currently, she is working on The Daevas, a novel chronicling the life of a woman who is stalked by demi-gods and Shemathra’s Realm, a sequel to Babylon Dreams. She blogs at Marjorie Kaye's Book Blog.

Skip to toolbar