We’ve heard rumors for ages that there was to be a series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, waiting with bated breath for any solid news and speculating on whether it could be done right, but never could we have imagined a more perfect pairing than Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller. In development at Starz, the American Gods TV show will be
helmed by Fuller; the creator of Hannibal, Pushing Daises and Dead Like Me, and Michael Green who wrote for shows like Heroes and The River. In addition to penning the pilot they will Executive Produce along side of Gaiman on the series, being produced by FremantleMedia North America.
For those who don’t know the premise of the novel, it centers around an ex-con named Shadow who gets caught up in a war between the Gods of old (everything from Hindu to Norse), and the New Gods; created from our worship of technology and media. First hired as muscle, he finds himself helping the old fight for survival in a world that is slowly but surely turning its back on them.
Neil Gaiman said of the American Gods TV project, “When you create something like ‘American Gods,’ which attracts fans and obsessives and people who tattoo quotes from it on themselves or each other, and who all, tattooed or not, just care about it deeply, it’s really important to pick your team carefully: you don’t want to let the fans down, or the people who care and have been casting it online since the dawn of recorded history. What I love most about the team who I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that ’American Gods’ has attracted since the start. I haven’t actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them. The people at Fremantle are the kinds of people who have copies of ‘American Gods in the bottom of their backpacks after going around the world, and who press them on their friends. And the team at Starz have been quite certain that they wanted to give Shadow, Wednesday and Laura a home since they first heard that the book was out there. I can’t wait to see what they do to bring the story to the widest possible audience able to cope with it.”
A fan of the Author myself, and though I wouldn’t say obsessive, I admit that I have had debates on who would be best cast in which roles. Lamenting that Sammie Davis Jr. or Scatman Crothers are not alive to step into the role of Anansi, and determined that Anthony Hopkins could pull off a wicked Wednesday. Never quite settling on who should play the lead character, Shadow (and yes, I could keep going down the list of characters). So it is with a sigh of relief that Starz and Freemantle seem invested in giving the story the attention it deserves, and staying true to the source material.
Bryan Fuller, who has proven himself a Master of light and dark humor in shows like Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, of horror with NBC’s hit show Hannibal, and mixing the two elements with stunning visual style in the candy colored neo-noir series Pushing Daisies (starring Lee Pace, Anna Friel & Swoosie Kurtz), no doubt has the chops to make this particular story as intricate and visually striking as Neil Gaiman fans would expect.
It seems we have entered into a new renaissance in tv programming, with studios willing to take greater risks, after the success of shows like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. No longer only bankrolling tired sitcoms with the same 6 story tropes and canned laughter. The people have demanded more sophisticated, dark and complex story lines, and finally their calls have been answered. With shows like Preacher being developed at AMC, Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain on FX (debuts this month), and now an American Gods TV series on Starz, this may really be the golden age of television.