Based on Neil Gaiman’s gripping novel, American Gods is a fantasy and mystery drama by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. This series first emerged on television in 2017, airing on Starz, the American premium cable network. It was then made available for an international audience on Amazon Prime Video.
So far, there are two seasons of American Gods, released in 2017 and 2019. There is a third season expected to follow (at the time of writing). The series has been nominated for several awards over the years. These include Primetime Emmy Awards, Black Reel Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Satellite Awards and Saturn Awards. Indeed, the show won the Best DVD or Blu-ray Television Release in 2017 at the Saturn Awards.
The lead in American Gods is Shadow Moon, played by Ricky Whittle. He is due to be released from prison and is released early to attend the funeral of his wife, who has died suddenly in an accident. During this time, he meets Mr Wednesday, who is the god Odin (played by Ian McShane).
With little to go back for in his hometown, Shadow Moon takes a job with Mr Wednesday as his assistant and bodyguard. They soon become involved in preparation for conflict between the Old Gods and New Gods. The Old Gods, a group which Mr Wednesday is part of, are based on classical mythology. The New Gods are created by men, and they want to take over as the dominant force. This series follows the two characters as they travel across the United States and recruit for a war that may happen between the Old and New Gods.
Cast and characters
The main cast of American Gods includes:
- Ricky Whittle – Shadow Moon
- Ian McShane – Mr Wednesday
- Emily Browning – Laura Moon
- Crispin Glover – Mr World
- Bruce Langley – Technical Boy
- Yetide Badaki – Bilquis
- Pablo Schreiber – Mad Sweeney
- Orlando Jones – Mr Nancy
- Mousa Kraish – the Jinn
- Omid Abtahi – Salim
- Demore Barnes – Mr Ibis
There are also some recurring and notable guests:
- Gillian Anderson – New Goddess Media
- Cloris Leachman – Zorya Vechernyay
- Chris Obi – Mr Jacquel
- Johnathan Tucker – Low Key Lyesmith
- Dane Cook – Robbie
- Kristin Chenoweth – Easter
- Dean Winters – Mr Town
- Devery Jacobs – Sam Black Crow
The nature of American Gods and the traveling that the main characters endure means that there are some fantastic filming locations. In particular, the series was shot in Ontario, Canada, as well as Oklahoma and Wisconsin, United States. Some of the scenes are based elsewhere in the country. For example, some notable places include Hamilton Cemetery in Ontario for the funeral featured in season one. As Shadow was released from prison, McAlester State Penitentiary in Oklahoma was used as the backdrop for these scenes. In addition, Wyndham Street in Guelph was dressed up to look like downtown Chicago.
When the cast were filming in Vulcan, Virginia, they were actually in Cambridge, Ontario. For episode 8, which showed the mansion of Easter, this location was actually Hawkridge Farm in Caledon, Ontario. Furthermore, the second series is filmed in the House on the Rock, Wisconsin. In addition, other memorable locations include Motel America, Wisconsin.
The trailer for this fantasy television series was first released on July 22, 2016. The audience at San Diego Comic-Con International was able to enjoy the first look at American Gods, with opening scenes showing Shadow Moon in prison. He is told of the devastating death of his wife and released early to attend her funeral. His introduction with Mr Wednesday takes place on a plane and shows his interest in having a friend like Shadow Moon. The trailer goes on to introduce the magic and mystery of the series.
The rights for the novel by Neil Gaiman were acquired in February 2014 by Fremantle Media. Of course, the novel is also called American Gods. Fremantle Media wanted to adapt the novel to create a television series that was both exciting and mysterious. Bryan and Michael Green, in development with Starz, would work on American Gods and endeavour to follow the storyline in the novels – expanding them to make them even more engaging for a TV audience.
In addition, rights were acquired from the novel Anansi Boys – also written by Neil Gaiman. The hope was to combine elements from both of the books to create a fantasy drama that would be popular on television. Starz gave the series the green light on June 15, 2015, and the first episode premiered in April 2017 with positive ratings.
In 2017, the successful first series of American Gods meant that the show was renewed for a second season. For the second season, Jesse Alexander replaced Fuller and Green as the showrunners. The showrunner for the third season has been confirmed as Charles Eglee.
Episodes and reception
The first season of American Goods was met with a positive reception, hence the reason for its renewal for a second season. In particular, viewers loved the visuals and intriguing narrative of the show. Season one was produced in 2017 and there are eight episodes. This includes the following titles:
- 1 – The Bone Orchard
- 2 – The Secret of Spoons
- 3 – Head Full of Snow
- 4 – Git Gone
- 5 – Lemon Scented You
- 6 – A Murder of Gods
- 7 – A Prayer for Mad Sweeney
- 8 – Come to Jesus
The second season of American Gods also contained eight episodes. It had a mixed reception from viewers after different show-runners took over and favorite cast members were not featured. The titles of those episodes include the following:
- 1 – House on the Rock
- 2 – The Beguiling Man
- 3 – Muninn
- 4 – The Greatest Story Ever Told
- 5 – The Ways of the Dead
- 6 – Donar the Great
- 7 – Treasure of the Sun
- 8 – Moon Shadow
There is going to be a third season of the show. There will be 10 episodes and filming is initially planned to take place between September 2019 and March 2020. In addition, a fourth season is being discussed.
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