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SXSW Exclusive BGN Review: ‘American Gods’

SXSW Exclusive BGN Review: ‘American Gods’

Are you looking for a very diverse fantasy series on television with incredible acting and some violence to boot? Well, look no further because American Gods will give you just what you need.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…

American Gods is an upcoming fantasy television series created by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) and Michael Green (Logan, The River) based off of Neil Gaiman’s bestselling novel of the same name. Stars of the show include Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Orlando Jones, Jonathan Tucker, and Yetide Badaki. It premiered at SXSW Saturday, March 11th and had the entire room in awe, hungry for more.

So, what is American Gods about?

If you haven’t read the book, you may need a little backstory to understand the first episode. There is war going on between the old gods and the new gods, and Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is caught in the middle. The old gods represent the spirits and mythological creatures immigrants brought with them to the United States. However, their power is fading as Americans begin to worship “new” gods in the form of media, celebrity, technology, drugs, and etc..

While on a plane headed to his wife’s funeral, Shadow gets an offer from Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) that puts him smack dab in the middle of this ongoing struggle. And that’s about all I can say without spoiling it.

Why should you watch it?

American Gods is bloody and beautiful and intense and empowering all at the same time. The violent scenes in the first ten minutes set the tone for the entire first episode followed by a jaw dropping supernatural sex scene. Let’s just say (slight spoiler here) a Black woman swallows a White man with her vagina…

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Hold on to your edges because they will get snatched.

Don’t go into this thinking you’re getting some cookie cutter fantasy. These gods are naughty and they’re good at being naughty.

Every actor in every scene makes a favorable impression, even if they’re only on there for a few minutes. Jonathan Tucker plays Low Key Lyesmith (I’ll let you guess which god that is), and even though his screen time is short, his impact on screen is still powerful. Pablo Schreiber plays the key role of Mad Sweeney and is the tallest and best leprechaun you’ll see. 

Not to mention, American Gods is incredibly diverse. Both showrunners (and Neil Gaiman) explicitly stated the importance of casting people of color and expanded the roles of the female characters in the novel. Yetide Badaki is extraordinary in her role as Bilquis, (a.k.a. Queen of Sheba), and we’ll be seeing more of her. Orlando Jones wasn’t in the first episode, but we can’t wait to see what he’s going to do in his role as Mr. Nancy (a.k.a. Anansi the Spider).

Final Thoughts

With its intensity, stellar acting, stunning visuals, and diverse cast, this is the fantasy series we’ve all been waiting for. When asked to describe the show in three words, Ricky Whittle responded with: OH.MY. GOD. (pun intended).

I completely agree.

For Game of Thrones fan who are craving diversity in fantasy, this is the one to watch. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this show. Check the premiere of American Gods April 30th on STARZ!

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