Critical Condition: American Gods

American Gods (Amazon Prime, from today)


“Adapted from the 2001 bestseller by erudite geek icon Neil Gaiman, the new Starz series is the latest act of aesthetic derring-do and sophisticated irreverence from Bryan Fuller, the cult TV producer-god who made Hannibal Lecter mesmerising and biting again. Fuller’s eclectic work (which includes the more whimsical but no less heady Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies) takes on blockbuster genres in the manner of one of his influences, Stanley Kubrick, possessing it and reinventing it into idiosyncratic, immersive worlds. Working with screenwriter Michael Green and Hannibal helmer David Slade, Fuller uses American Gods to create an ironic hero’s journey epic, a big saga fantasy a la Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead that casts shade on the genre and transforms our country’s checkered history and high-low culture into a richly subversive mythology.” — Entertainment Weekly.

“Set in present-day America, this eight-part series proposes a universe where the ancient Gods who were worshipped and brought to America by our many immigrants clash with the modern ‘Gods’ of American consumerism. Or maybe that’s what’s happening. Starz asked critics not to reveal ‘storyline details,’ which is an easy request to grant as it’s not quite clear from the first four episodes what those might be. Like many modern cable series, Gods is a very slow reveal — so much so that unless you know what’s happening from the books, or you’re incredibly well-versed in multinational myths, you’re likely to find yourself perplexed.” — USA Today.

American Gods is less concerned with saying something, at least in its first four episodes, than it is with conveying a mood and a landscape. It’s not necessarily bad, but you have to want to see the world rendered in this way — to see a down-on-his-luck leprechaun hitchhiking through Indiana, or a djinn driving a cab in midtown Manhattan — to stay engaged with the series. The fourth episode finally gets around to explaining things that happened in the very first, which is a long time to wait for many viewers.” — Variety.

“After previewing four episodes of surreal flashbacks, intriguing cameos and vague hints at the larger plot, American Gods has barely advanced the central storyline. While there’s some pleasure to be derived from watching a series exhibit the audacity to spoon out tidbits on its own Twin Peaks-like terms, the project’s appeal likely depends on one’s tolerance for near-incoherence when arresting pictures are the tradeoff.” — CNN.

“After four of the eight episodes that will make up the first season, American Gods is still floundering. In the early going, the most pressing distraction — more so that the buckets of blood and intense sexuality — is trying to understand what’s going on and what the series is all about, beyond the fact that old gods and new gods are about to go to war. The series is both rooted in realism and rife with otherworldly activity. It’s as visually appealing as it is mystifying, like a comic book come to stoned life.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

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One Response to “Critical Condition: American Gods”

  1. 8/10 for episode 1 🙂

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