American Gods made it’s much anticipated debut last night and we are equal parts confused and intrigued. See what we had to say below and please let us know what you guys thought as well. The more people we have talking about it the more we hope to understand!
*Also* There are some spoilers below since some of us have read the book. Be forewarned.
If you read the book is this what you expected?
Cara: I have read the book, so knew what was going on. The pilot is very true to the book. After reading everyone else’s responses, I realize that the show definitely seems to be a little more comfortable for people who’ve read the book.
If you didn’t read the book do you know what is going on?
Roz: I don’t really know what’s going on, but I know it’s more than a little effed up, and I’m more than okay with it. I suppose what I mean is that I’m cool being clueless about this because the show is visually appealing and the episode is haunting and intriguing.
Leah: What the fork is going on? I have no clue. It’s pretty to look at though so I am going to stick it out a few more episodes.
Alex: Though I haven’t read it, I’m familiar with the premise and read interviews with the cast, so I have a small grasp on what is happening. That said, it was a very bewildering start to a show, and I have no idea where Shadow’s story is headed. Definitely agree with the thought that it’s visually appealing and haunting, and I am very much intrigued.
The theme seems to be, “You are what you worship” Does that line up for you guys? Can you identify with the theme?
Roz: I think that theme makes sense so far, but I’m not sure what Mr. Wednesday is worshiping exact at the moment. However, I think that this is about who and what you choose to prioritize and how those priorities affect life. So far, Shadow Moon could use something that doesn’t revolve around his wife.
Leah: Shadow definitely has some worship issues when it comes to his wife. I agree with Roz though – priorities and how it affects you.
Alex: Based on the viking story in the beginning, and the little comments Wednesday was making about getting his hammer and his one good eye, I think he’s the god of war the vikings were sacrificing themselves to. My first thought was that Wednesday might be Thor, or Odin, but I’m not very familiar with Norse mythology. As we saw with the coin trick and his knowledge about Shadow’s life, he isn’t human, so I don’t think he’s worshiping anyone. Based on what that vaping twerp said at the end, he’s old and on his way to getting replaced, so I think he needs worship and isn’t getting any because the vikings are gone and people don’t worship war the way they used to.
Cara: The theme of the book is that when immigrants came to America, they brought their gods with them, but have since abandoned them. The gods are left to survive on whatever small bits of belief they can find. So, the leprechaun is based on a myth that was very different than what we know of leprechauns today. Mad Sweeney makes reference to this when he says leprechauns being short is a stereotype. What’s going on is that the old gods are lingering, but slowly dying off and being replaced by new concepts worshipped by Americans (technology, media, etc. ). So, it’s not so much about who the characters worship, but about who’s worshiping them. Shadow will be drawn into a kind of war between the new and the old gods. He is a very stoic and fairly bland character who sort of comes alive as the story progresses.
Confusing though they are, they scenes are very true to the book. The book starts with Shadow in prison rather than worth a coming to America scene. In the book the coming to America scenes are not linked to particular characters all the time, but they are in the episodes that I’ve seen so far.
Bilquis is exactly like the book. In the book she’s a prostitute, but also somehow seems more powerful than in the pilot. What happens in that scene is exactly what happens in the book though and a lot of the dialogue is directly taken from the book ( that’s true throughout).
One of the questions of book readers early on was if the Bilquis scene would be included in the TV show, given how strange it is. If I remember, they confirmed pretty early that it would be.
The technical boy has some upgrades, but is also true to the book.
Roz: I feel like this ride is going to be insane, and probably confusing, but that doesn’t matter as much to me when the production value is so high. I think this is as close to cinematography porn as I’ve seen in ages.
Leah: I’m going to stick it out because I am curious to see how this goes and I have seen the cast list – there are a number of people in the show I like. We’ll see.
Alex: I’ve always been a fan of both Gaiman and Fuller for their creativity, and those effects/dream sequences were awesome. Furthermore, as disturbing as that Bilquis scene was, you definitely won’t find that sort of thing anywhere else on television. Really enjoyed the leprechaun.
Cara: Overall, I loved it. The crocodile/alligator bar and retro hotel drive home the idea of a kind of mythic America that is fading away. I thought the pilot was beautifully made. Tonally, it’s right. Fans of the book will be happy, except the ones that want a shot for shot reenactment of the book.
There is a big question about one of the characters we see, but along it is also a huge spoiler.
I’m looking forward to discussing the show with you all.
American Gods airs Sunday on Starz