American Gods: season 1 episode 1 – The Bone Orchard spoiler free review
Starz network’s highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is forthcoming, and ahead of its official release we bring you a spoiler-free review of the pilot episode in hopes that we’re able to satisfy your curiosity as well as give you an idea of what to expect. For those who have read Gaiman’s novel, this is adaptation is faithful enough to satisfy while offering some creative twists that are sure to intrigue and delight.
Faithful readers who are concerned that the network might tone down the source material can rest assured that no such thing happens here. There is no censorship whatsoever, in fact the series takes aspects of the novel to entirely surprising levels, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Viewers new to the material, welcome to the wonderfully weird world of American Gods, where Shadow Moon, a naive ex-con who has recently lost everything, is tossed amidst a battle brewing between Old Gods and New Gods as they fight for relevance within the hearts and minds of humans. Through Shadows eyes, viewers learn about the gods existence and their tumultuous relationships, initially causing him to question reality as well as his own sanity.
It’s worth noting that this series is not for the faint of heart. It’s weird for the sake of being weird, and will likely to put casual viewers to the test. How that will affect its longevity remains to be seen, as this is a series made for fans, by fans, and isn’t intended to please the majority.
Those familiar with Bryan Fuller’s previous works, most notably NBC’s Hannibal, are sure to take to American Gods more readily than viewers who aren’t. Hannibal was ultimately cancelled by NBC after Fuller slowly turned the Hannibal Lecter crime procedural into a blood-soaked surreal gothic art series. Stylistically the two are similar, often comparable in tone and cinematography as well as macabre and bizarre imagery.
STARZ network didn’t shy away from theses aspects and instead opted to embrace them. Furthermore the creators have taken what some might consider outdated concepts and made them feel both modern and relevant, reflective of our current state of society. The introductions for each of the eclectic characters are memorable, and they are then explored and expanded upon in refreshing ways, with a truly stellar cast portraying each one brilliantly.
Here Fuller and Green have skillfully managed to weave together a narrative that is undoubtedly difficult to adapt from page to screen, and have created a comprehensive series as opposed to one-off episodes. This is in no way an episodic series and is never treated as such. Instead it carefully takes its time to focus on worldbuilding and character development and does so rather enticingly.
American Gods is a visual, auditory, and sensory offering that delivers a truly visceral experience. Its strikingly vivid, sensual, and often unsettling imagery, combined with lush characters in an intricately woven and wholly unique tale, manages to feel both earthly and otherworldly. Much like many of the gods within, it can be cruel and unforgiving and is sure to shock and unnerve viewers at times. In spite of this, or perhaps even because of it, American Gods is altogether magical and magnetic and one that many are sure to worship.
For those interested in keeping track of the many characters, check out: Getting to know Starz network’s American Gods characters
And for a more detailed look into the series: Everything we know about Starz network’s American Gods adaptation
Image credits: STARZ, Amazon Prime Video