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March 30, 2017 1:04 PM   Subscribe

The new Starz series based on Neil Gaiman's American Gods, headed by critical darling and Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller (previously, trailer) now has character posters and the full opening titles online.
posted by The Whelk (81 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's looking much bloodier than I expected.
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


My body is ready.
posted by sparkletone at 1:13 PM on March 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's looking much bloodier than I expected.

My ex-spouse (who taught Sandman on a collegiate level) once pointed out that Gaiman's stuff is much bloodier than even the average fan realizes, because so much of it happens off-panel or is elided in the text. "Genteel gore" I believe was the phrase they used.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on March 30, 2017 [16 favorites]


Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
posted by corb at 1:20 PM on March 30, 2017 [18 favorites]


Gaiman has always had a classical sensibility to the redistribution of bodily parts and/or fluids. He draws from exceedingly dark (red) source material, incidental gore is simply to be expected. He works beyond the walls of the Brothers Grimm and the Andrew Langs.
posted by bonehead at 1:21 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


On one hand: Bryan Fuller, A+++

On the other hand: American Gods, D-

On the third hand: I have neither Starz nor the patience to pirate shows, so I guess I really don't have to worry about whether or not first hand can overpower second hand.

... though I will be reading the FanFare discussions to see how it's received.
posted by komara at 1:23 PM on March 30, 2017 [4 favorites]


Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy is just perfection.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:27 PM on March 30, 2017 [16 favorites]


Czernobog, Shadow, Mr. Wednesday, and Mr. Nancy appear perfectly cast.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:28 PM on March 30, 2017 [10 favorites]


where is the poster of my future wife Gillian Anderson as Media

(I understand why she doesn't get one but still that doesn't stop the wanty want want)
posted by barchan at 1:28 PM on March 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


I re-read American Gods every few years for fun, and while the seams show, it's just so much fun and so committed to its creaky premise that I don't care.

Only gripe: the otherwise very lovely but extremely thin Kristen Chenowith as Easter, a character who is clearly called out in the book as voluptuous. As in, plump, thick thighs, the whole nine yards.

Look, curvy girls need some representation too, is all I'm saying. At least give us the characters who are supposed to be curvy.
posted by emjaybee at 1:38 PM on March 30, 2017 [52 favorites]


Crispin Glover?!
posted by infinitewindow at 1:44 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm with you, emjaybee. I always pictured someone like Christina Hendricks in the role of Easter.
posted by barchan at 1:44 PM on March 30, 2017 [11 favorites]


Yeah Easter is the only "wha?" Bit of casting, everything else is dead on (including Crispin as uh ...our man in the unit )

I've managed to avoid a lot of promotion for this and let me say the old billboard. Neon drenched Americana look is p e r f e c t
posted by The Whelk at 1:46 PM on March 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


I really hope this is good. I have been avoiding most of the marketing for this, reading the tweets but not clicking on anything. It seems to me that they have at least tried to go for the same sort of feel as the book, which could be amazing. Remains to be seen how they manage, though.
posted by gemmy at 1:50 PM on March 30, 2017


This is the first time I've ever seen a site (the tvline page with the opening titles) crest 80+ trackers and ad sources in Ghostery/uBlock on Chrome. Needless to say, I clicked nothing and noped out of there as fast as possible...

...then got curious and opened the page in an incognito window with neither blocker running...

...then closed the first popup autoplaying video...

...then closed the second popup autoplaying video...

...then couldn't play the opening credit sequence.

I'll wait for the show.
posted by Shepherd at 1:52 PM on March 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


This is the first time I've ever seen a site (the tvline page with the opening titles) crest 80+ trackers and ad sources in Ghostery/uBlock on Chrome.

Firefox threw me a "You must enable DRM" message. Nope, nope, nope.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's a copy of the trailer up on YouTube for now.
posted by figurant at 2:07 PM on March 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


I mean opening credits.
posted by figurant at 2:11 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to this, I guess DTV is going to make me sign up for 3 months.
posted by Marky at 2:28 PM on March 30, 2017


I'm a little skeptical of Kristin Chenoweth as Easter, and I still think the book really falls apart at the last 3/4, but I'm interested in this adaptation. Sending good energy for it!
posted by yueliang at 2:34 PM on March 30, 2017


For some reason there are stories (and genres) I don't care for in novel form, but find incredibly compelling as TV. This looks like it could be one of them. I haven't read the book, but this looks really interesting!
posted by Kevin Street at 2:38 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm a tad bit fixated on Gillian Anderson delivering the Lucy line. You know the one. I can barely type right now.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:38 PM on March 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


Haven't read the book, but the posters are really intriguing!

the Brothers Grimm

? The original stories can be QUITE gruesome.
posted by praemunire at 2:44 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's something about serialization that makes some types of story more compelling. Gaiman's Sandman works beautifully as a comic book series, but I'm not sure it would be a good novel. With urban fantasy it really seems to help (imo) to dip into the story slowly and build strong characters, then gradually reveal the weirdness underneath seemingly "ordinary" reality.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:55 PM on March 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm sort of amused, because Gaiman is the acclaimed author who always leaves me cold (the writing is fine, I just never really care about any of his characters and end up putting down the book and never picking it up again) and Fuller is the acclaimed showrunner whose stuff I invariably hate (_Dead Like Me_ I bailed on because I find the 'you should totally kill all these innocent people and if you don't you are just a weakie failure' club vile, _Pushing Daisies_ I think I made half way through one episode before the candy coated whimsy irritated me into turning it off, and _Hannibal_, yeah no. )

So I guess I'm glad they are working with each other instead of creators I like and might feel compelled to check out? Sort of a media version of the Carlyles' marriage?
posted by tavella at 3:14 PM on March 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


I still think the book really falls apart at the last 3/4

Yeah, I just read it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and my notes were basically "drags a bit in the last third," which was being sort of kind about it.

Still, I'll watch a bit of this, sure.
posted by uncleozzy at 3:19 PM on March 30, 2017


I'm planning a group pilgrimage to house on the rock in a month as preparation. I am so ready for this.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:27 PM on March 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


Yep,
that site with the credits attempted to store 39 trackers and ad block shut down 43 more!

82 is a record on my machine too!

Sites like this are electronic/internet viral/fungal vectors.
posted by CrowGoat at 3:39 PM on March 30, 2017


Ok fine, but when do we get a Small Gods tv show?
posted by ethansr at 3:53 PM on March 30, 2017 [12 favorites]


sorry to be a buzzkill everybody, but I saw it at sxsw already and its fucking awful. It's visually and aesthetically stunning with no expense spared on production design and casting, but it has like the worst script ever.

Characters speak their feelings/problems/issues right off the bat without any nuance or subtext. Which leaves the cast with no room for any actual acting to be done.

They alternate between corny jokes sloppily pulled from the book, and pointless physical violence without any emotional context to make us actually give a shit about what happens next.

The scenes barely connect to tell a coherent story, and the plot just sort of speeds along, never really stopping to show us the magical and mysterious places in America that the book was all about.. It's just all one big budget sex and violence shock value cum bucket.
posted by mit5urugi at 4:02 PM on March 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


Firefox threw me a "You must enable DRM" message. Nope, nope, nope.

Really, if American Gods was being written today, DRM would have to be one of the new crop.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:04 PM on March 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


sorry to be a buzzkill everybody, but I saw it at sxsw already and its fucking awful.

I bet you get invited back to parties.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:05 PM on March 30, 2017 [16 favorites]


Serious question: what's the best show to ever air on Starz? I can't think of a good one, and I got bad vibes from this when I read that HBO couldn't make it work and Starz picked it up immediately. Also, the mood of the opening titles is so clearly lifted from Fincher's GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO that it's kind of embarrassing. I guess what I'm saying is I sure hope this is good but man do I not trust Starz to get it right.
posted by Mothlight at 4:13 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Gaiman namechecked M&I Northern Bank in the book. That was the first place I had a savings account as a teenager in WI. Had no idea that he'd been in Wisconsin long enough to notice such things, so I'll have to give at least the 1st two episodes a go, just for that alone!
posted by droplet at 4:15 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


Serious question: what's the best show to ever air on Starz?

If I may answer your question with a question...

Are we having fun yet?
posted by Shepherd at 4:34 PM on March 30, 2017 [11 favorites]


I liked the imagery in the intro. The new gods/old gods blend worked really well. The world tree, Medusa with fiber optic hair, the 3rd eye as camera lens, the menorah with the i/o ports, the shroud with what looked to be circuit etchings, the sphinx robot dog, the laughing Buddha with pills, Ganesha riding on a jet engine instead of a cloud, neon cowboy, crucified astronaut, etc. All in the end are parts of a totem pole capped by an eagle. Great imagery. I just hope the show has substance to back up all this style.
posted by domo at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Serious question: what's the best show to ever air on Starz?

If you didn't like Ash vs Evil Dead, you might be a Deadite.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


Fuller is almost always style over substance and I expect no difference with this project but in general the style is worth the weakness in the other aspects of the end product. That being said I think a show like Legion has shown that you can have style without sacrificing substance so if this has a horribad script then yeah we might have some issues (although I will definitely watch.

I can understand the concerns about Chenowyth but on the other hand I feel like Fuller projects typically need a critical mass of former Fuller project actors so perhaps Chenowyth and Orlando Jones is necessary from that perspective after all there is no Lee Pace or Caroline Dhavernas to meet those requirements. Granted Anderson and Tucker and Davies were on Hannibal but you generally need some of the old quirky actors as well.
posted by vuron at 5:14 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


"Serious question: what's the best show to ever air on Starz?"

I only get to watch them later on DVD, but I really liked Spartacus and Black Sails, albeit for different reasons. Both shows were heavy on sex and violence, although Black Sails eased up a bit and became more of a drama (with pirate action) in later seasons. Both of them were rough at the beginning but found their footing and got better as they went on. Starz does have interesting shows. (Just compare Black Sails with NBC's Crossbones, to see what greater creative freedom can do for a series.)

Can't say I associate Gaiman's storytelling with sex and graphic onscreen violence, so if that's what the pilot is like I hope it slows down and does more worldbuilding in later episodes.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:22 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Serious question: what's the best show to ever air on Starz?

oootlander?
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:24 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


Outlander is another example of a fun, guilty pleasure type show that's based on source material I can't get into. And it seems there's quite a conflict online between fans of the books who don't like the changes made for TV, and fans of the television series who haven't read the books.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:29 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


The highest rated (IMDB) series on Starz "There Will Be Blood (and BOOBS)" network.

Spartacus.
Outlander.
Pillars of the Earth.
Black Sails.
Boss
Power
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:42 PM on March 30, 2017


I still think the book really falls apart at the last 3/4

I mostly lost interest when the new American Gods in the title were just vague notions of Media and Internet and so on. I mean, the old gods weren't Inclement Weather or Writing or Crops, they were Thor and Thoth and a zillion harvest gods that all had traits beyond what they were the "god of." It just seemed like such an abject failure of imagination to have Media instead of having the god of media be Jim Kirk or Bob Barker or otherwise thinking about who the god of media would be, etc.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:09 PM on March 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


If you didn't like Ash vs Evil Dead, you might be a Deadite.

That's the one I've enjoyed! I haven't tried Outlander yet. I will definitely be in for the full season of American Gods since it's one of my wife's favorite books so I'm crossing my fingers, but I was seriously bummed when HBO turned it down.
posted by Mothlight at 7:31 PM on March 30, 2017


It just seemed like such an abject failure of imagination to have Media instead of having the god of media be Jim Kirk or Bob Barker or otherwise thinking about who the god of media would be, etc.

Minor gripe, shouldn't Media be really old? Like an Egyptian scribe or the messenger from Marathon?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:37 PM on March 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


I mean, the old gods weren't Inclement Weather or Writing or Crops, they were Thor

Thor is derived from thunraz, a word for thunder. Jupiter is from Iou-pater, or sky-father. Thoth is from dhwty, or hbj-ty, meaning he who is like the ibis (and Thoth had many more names, which are mostly able to be translated pretty directly as attributes or areas of influence).

So yeah, the old gods were "Inclement Weather" and "Writing" and "Crops" to start with. They just evolved -- over centuries, often including mistranslation and being forced into foreign alphabets -- into words that don't sound to us like those.
posted by Etrigan at 8:02 PM on March 30, 2017 [19 favorites]


Yeah, Media could be really old but have a sidekick. Like an egg, or maybe some kind of weird stoner frog? Idk
posted by Existential Dread at 8:04 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


In an odd coincidence, Gillian Anderson did a photoshoot ages ago as... well.

I wonder if Fuller had seen this (not that he wouldn't have cast her anyway)
posted by tzikeh at 8:12 PM on March 30, 2017


This is one time where I'm hoping for significant divergence from source material. I loved American Gods (the novel) right up until the climax. The ending just left me wondering what the hell the point was to it all. Real let-down given the quality of the rest of the book.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:01 PM on March 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm a little surprised at the mixed opinions on American Gods, but thinking back at it, it definitely struck me as a book with a lot of interesting ideas and a big interesting world that spent most of its time telling a story that didn't really take advantage of that world. I've been thinking about this after having read John Scalzi's latest and feeling that he seems to be drifting into writing stories that raise interesting questions that the story has no intention of actually addressing. American Gods has a lot of that - it's got ideas for days that could very easily have been cut except for the fact that they'd expose the core story as being flimsy, which is subtly but critically different from having ideas for days that reinforce the core story in oblique ways.
posted by Merus at 2:13 AM on March 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


I loved American Gods (the novel) right up until the climax. The ending just left me wondering what the hell the point was to it all.
This is a hallmark of Gaiman's work and one of the things that made me fall out of love with it.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:37 AM on March 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


Neil gave an hour-long interview on Australian radio (podcast) earlier this month. He mostly talks about his new non-fiction book Norse Mythology, though he frequently segues this into how this influenced American Gods. That interview has pushed the former into the queue on my (ever-growing must-read list.

Speaking of must-reads, Conversations with Richard Fidler is my must-listen podcast. I highly recommend diving into the archives.
posted by adept256 at 4:28 AM on March 31, 2017


For years and years I had people tell me, "oh, you MUST read American Gods, you will LOVE it" but I've always been lukewarm on Gaiman who isn't half the writer he aspires to me. He falls decidedly flat next to people like China Mieville, Philip Pullman, Nick Harkaway, and, heck, even Jonathan Stroud. So, eventually I read American Gods and it wasn't at all what I expected. It was flat-out awful.

I am bracing myself for the wave of "oh, you MUST watch American Gods". I won't be, even if the cast looks fine.
posted by kariebookish at 5:02 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


The only Gaiman book I have read is Good Omens and It's a great book, but that may be because he wrote it with Pratchett who is the greatest english writer of the 20th century.
posted by Pendragon at 6:11 AM on March 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


That's interesting you say that, because I've long held a theory that Gaiman and Pratchett spent an afternoon in a pub together and one went off and wrote American Gods and the other Small Gods. They both hinge upon the same premise that gods lose their powers and diminish as they lose believers.

Small Gods is the better of the two. Douglas Adams was of the same (zebra) stripe as Terry when he wrote:

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”


Terry always used this kind of cheeky humor when writing about religion and other difficult subjects. It's a technique that can go horribly wrong of course. You want people to relax and see the absurdity of things, and perhaps have a giggle, not toss the book aside in indignant rage. Gaiman knows he can't walk this fine line, and I've never giggled while reading his work
posted by adept256 at 6:47 AM on March 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


That's interesting you say that, because I've long held a theory that Gaiman and Pratchett spent an afternoon in a pub together and one went off and wrote American Gods and the other Small Gods. They both hinge upon the same premise that gods lose their powers and diminish as they lose believers.

That's a pretty common trope when talking about gods, though (I think I first encountered it as a kid with the old Sam Neil miniseries about Merlin). I don't think you can reduce it to those two.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:53 AM on March 31, 2017 [1 favorite]




I always pictured someone like Christina Hendricks in the role of Easter.
posted by barchan at 4:44 PM on March 30


My mental image was Anna-Nicole Smith in her heavy years.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:58 AM on March 31, 2017


He falls decidedly flat next to people like China Mieville, Philip Pullman, Nick Harkaway, and, heck, even Jonathan Stroud.

Oh, is this the part of the thread where we're all smug about things we don't like? Because I think China Mieville and Philip Pullman are pretty garbage too. I haven't even read the other two blokes because I try not to read books written by men anymore.

In all seriousness though, (well I do seriously think Mieville and Pullman are way overrated) I think the source material and the show runner could be a really exciting combination. I really loved "Wonderfalls" and I found the first two seasons of "Hannibal" riveting and mind-twisting, so I have my fingers crossed that some kind of amazing alchemy will happen with this property.

And I would pay (some small amount) of good money to get the deets on whatever the hell giant mess is ongoing with the "Star Trek: Discovery" series! What is up with that?!
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:12 AM on March 31, 2017 [6 favorites]


It's dead, Jim.

Well, they would say its not, but it keeps getting put back and none of the signs are very healthy. I would say it has zero support at CBS.
posted by Artw at 7:24 AM on March 31, 2017


I've long held a theory that Gaiman and Pratchett spent an afternoon in a pub together and one went off and wrote American Gods and the other Small Gods.

Presumably Douglas Adams was on the next table over and sketched the outline for The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul while they were talking?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:03 AM on March 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


My favorite version of the gods-need-believers trope is in P. C. Hodgell's Kencyrath series.
posted by nonane at 8:12 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


He falls decidedly flat next to people like [authors I like for various reasons].

That's understandable, but doesn't tell us anything about Gaiman. I enjoyed American Gods because it's got a bunch of half-baked tangents mixed in among all the god/mythology stuff, like the protagonist going to live in a small Mid-Western town. For whatever reason, the descriptions of Shadow's apartment and his interactions with the townspeople, which by themselves would have been boring, take on a delicate light in relation to the larger plot. That was a big surprise because I never knew I could be sensitive to that "scene" (?), and I'm still enjoying it. Kind of like finding out that Norman Rockwell was a secret minion of the Mole People; his paintings take on a new meaning.

He falls decidedly flat next to people like...

That's the way I feel about Gaiman generally, so I prefer other people's interpretations of his work. My favourite is Lenny Henry reading Anansi Boys, because he brings a bunch of accents and a great sense of humour to the whole thing - he's an appropriate voice for the book. I liked hearing Gaiman himself reading The Graveyard Book, because he's able to place it in this culturally English voice and class, which I assume makes more sense than it would if I'd read it.
posted by sneebler at 8:53 AM on March 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


Dunno. There are problems with most Gaiman-sourced screen productions. The glaring exception being Neverwhere, which was intended to be low-budget television urban-fantasy romp with a script designed with care and depth for the purpose, focusing in equal parts on character, plot and wonder, re-written on the fly with him on set. I don't think we're getting that with this adaptation, but the cast looks fantastic.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:55 AM on March 31, 2017


I'm going to go ahead and let myself be excited about this, because the source material is just flawed enough and I read it just long enough in the past that I'll be able to just enjoy it or not on its own merits rather than constantly comparing it to the book.

Maybe this belongs more on MeTa, but what's with the whole "Gaiman's work is overrated so I don't care about this show" in this thread? How is that contributing, exactly?

I suppose I will never understand how variants on "your favorite band sucks" need to be voiced, especially by people who are presumably no longer in Jr. High School.

posted by aspersioncast at 9:31 AM on March 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


There is a current very long Meta about how the stupid US politics megathreads are/are not sucking all the life out of the other FPPs and here we have a chance to discuss something potentially fun or colorful or interesting, from two different high-profile creators, and yeah instead we've got all this thread-shitting from people who are too cool for Gaiman. I'm bummed by it too .

I know everyone is pissy this year because things are pissy, but do we have to actively contribute to Metafiler being even more of a drag by being all Comic Book Guy about things instead of keeping our traps shut or trying to add some fun or pizzazz to a thread?
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:35 AM on March 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


I don't have Starz, not gonna pirate it, and I find that Fuller's style is impressive but his overall delivery is somewhat unreliable. So I likely will never see this. But damn, McShane just nails it in that trailer. The way he says "today is MY day" slays me.
posted by Ber at 10:58 AM on March 31, 2017


I'm glad I'm not the only one dissatisfied by the casting of Easter. I love Kristin Chenoweth, but she doesn't fit the character in my head. Everyone else does, perfectly.
posted by sarcasticah at 11:10 AM on March 31, 2017


(Also pretty tired of the "Neil Gaiman sucks" comments. If you're not interested, fine, but do we really need to be all shaming of people who do like his writing, and are excited about the show?)
posted by sarcasticah at 11:14 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


My favourite is Lenny Henry reading Anansi Boys, because he brings a bunch of accents and a great sense of humour to the whole thing - he's an appropriate voice for the book.

This is an amazing audio book - one of my all-time favorites and a true stand-out for the voice actor adding loads of depth to the work. Also the audio book that gave me my Metafilter user name.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:21 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also pretty tired of the "Neil Gaiman sucks" comments

I don't think Gaiman sucks, although I think his work is often a bit overrated, especially American Gods, which suffered from a weak and confused ending. This is especially problematic in American tv, where the goal is to stretch everything out until most of the audience gives up, then rush the ending. However, Fuller has shown that he can manage a satisfying ending under difficult circumstances, and, while the novel has faults, it also has a load of good ideas and images, big and small, and tv thrives on that, so I have hopes....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:50 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Seems a lot of people like and dislike Gaiman and a lot of people like and dislike Fuller, which, maybe only the intersection of people who like them both will be happy with this show, or maybe the people who only like Gaiman will be sold on Fuller, or maybe the people who only like Fuller will be sold on Gaiman, or maybe it'll be the next Game of Thrones and take America by storm, or maybe it'll be absolutely terrible and no one will like it at all.

But, well, it's not out yet, so who the hell knows?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:57 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't have any super strong Gaiman opinions, but I'm way into Bryan Fuller, and yet when I read people criticizing his work I'm often like "ok, I can see how a person would feel that way about it." They're just looking for fundamentally different things in a TV show than I'm looking for.

Which is why I can't take the very classy 'cum bucket' review upthread seriously, because this show is based on the work of two people who both generate extremely divisive opinions about their work.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:01 PM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's not too unreasonable that two friends and collaborators shared their ideas and wrote separate books about them. And if they did, I can see why they didn't collaborate with this idea. Terry would have wanted to use his own hand rolled pantheon in the Discworld universe, and thereby sidestep the issue of offending the religious by using his trademark comedy. Neil has just written a non-fiction book called Norse Mythology, and if you listen to the podcast I linked above, you can hear the respect he has for it. Even if he had the talent of Douglas Adams, who did have Thor as a comedic figure, I doubt he'd go that way.

In the hypothetical afternoon in the pub, I can see them agreeing on a few things. Discworld is Terry's and Neil can't be in the canon. Also, you're not funny Neil, that's not your talent. Neil wouldn't want jokes about the real world gods he had so much respect for, and I can see Terry agreeing. He wouldn't be too comfortable writing them. His Discworld analogs are pretty close to the bone without being outright mocking.

So they took the idea in their own directions in their own styles.

Good Omens, which they co-wrote, was published in 1990. Small Gods in 1992. American Gods in 2001. You may think that nine years difference is telling. However, between Good Omens and American Gods Terry wrote seventeen Discworld books. Neil only two. He's a slow cooker where Terry is a writing machine. I may add, Neil also had a good long time to read Small Gods at least once. Perhaps that's where the parallels come from?
posted by adept256 at 12:01 PM on March 31, 2017


However, between Good Omens and American Gods Terry wrote seventeen Discworld books. Neil only two.

...plus nearly 100 comic books, including virtually all of Sandman.
posted by Etrigan at 12:20 PM on March 31, 2017 [7 favorites]


I look forward to seeing this in about five years, because I don't have Starz and am not going to go out of my way. It'll show up somewhere accessible to be sooner or later and I will watch it even if everyone says it is bad. However, word on the street is that Good Omens is going to be a miniseries and I will do what I need to to see that.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 12:24 PM on March 31, 2017


I definitely have, uh, personal issues with Gaiman's work (and if you look through my posting history you can figure out what those issues are), but before I became aware of Gaiman as a person I read almost all of the original Sandman run, as well as his novels. I think there are some valid issues with his work, like his inability to write endings well, his florid style, the presence of MPDGs in his work, and some of the questionable or careless use of mythology in his work. I don't think he's great at playing to his strengths, and I think his outsized celebrity and willingness to read his own press have had a detrimental effect on his work.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:22 PM on March 31, 2017


Glad to see I'm not the only one who read American Gods and Long Dark Teatime of the Soul and wondered what the British authors had with Odin.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:22 PM on March 31, 2017


Well, half the country was Vikining for a good long stretch. You can still see it in the place names.
posted by Artw at 7:23 PM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


..some of the questionable or careless use of mythology..

This is the place I started from with his work, really.

I am Scandinavian and I grew up steeped in Norse mythology. I've mentioned this before and received slap-downs here on MeFi ala "they are just old stories, get over it" - but these stories matter and, for some of us, they matter hugely. I find his use of them really problematic. I have this strong sense of "they are not his to retell" which is obviously something I need to unpack in my own head.

At the end of the day, I just wish people would stop telling me about this incredibly overlooked author who writes about stuff from my background and omg, I am going to love him. It gets tedious.
posted by kariebookish at 5:49 AM on April 1, 2017 [5 favorites]


At the end of the day, I just wish people would stop telling me about this incredibly overlooked author who writes about stuff from my background and omg, I am going to love him.

Credit where credit is due, part of the premise of American Gods is that

SPOILER WARNING

Mr Wednesday isn't Odin, he's sort of a reflection that was summoned up by immigrants' memories of the original. I think the same goes for the other traditionally-named deities. And the effect is compounded by the fact that the New World is somehow unhealthy for gods, so in some sense he's sick, and weak. IIRC Shadow meets the real Odin at the end of the book, although we don't see much of him.

I am Scandinavian and I grew up steeped in Norse mythology. I've mentioned this before and received slap-downs here on MeFi ala "they are just old stories, get over it" - but these stories matter and, for some of us, they matter hugely.

Norse mythology is part of English heritage and I think it's fair enough for English authors to have recourse to it even if it has different and greater significance in other places. That being said, I see where you're coming from and I think in most cases it's laziness: deities are a useful placeholder for "magical humanoid beings that are distinct from humans" and assigning familiar characters from Nordic mythology lets the author get away with less exposition. There's the daddy-god, the grumpy-god, the sneaky-god, and so forth. If trademarks weren't so much a thing, I bet a lot of these stories would be about Superman, Batman, and The Joker. They'd probably be better, too.

The counterpart of this is stories like Diana Wynne Jones' Eight Days of Luke where the story is its own thing, and would work without the divine intrusion. The Norse pantheon appears as a plot complication, not as the driving force, but it adds another level of complexity to the plot and (especially for younger readers) a sort of thrill when the story says "it was all true after all!" That may have become a cliché, but I think this sense of the numinous is a valuable thing and I regret the fact that I am too jaded now to appreciate these revelations.

Anyway, American Gods: I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. Gaiman needs a more ruthless editor, but apparently he's reached the point where literally everything he ever wrote is publishable.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:15 PM on April 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


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