April 30th is almost here – the premiere of American Gods on Starz. I’ve been following the progress of the American Gods TV series since the first announcements about it. When I learned Bryan Fuller was attached to the project, I was excited, but cautiously concerned. Fuller’s NBC series Hannibal felt the ire of fans for poor treatment of its female characters. I feared that complex ladies like Laura Moon, Sam Crow, and Bilquis would be slotted into shallow stereotypes.
Instead, it looks like American Gods has taken the exact opposite road!
“Oh my god, guys, there’s this show that we’re doing and the women are allowed to be actual human beings, can you believe it?” – Emily Browning
American Gods follows Shadow Moon, a quiet but physically intimidating man who’s days away from finishing a prison sentence. His world goes askew, however, when the death of his wife puts him in the path of Wednesday, an old con man with a mission and a few tricks up his sleeve. Shadow finds himself caught in a turf war between the Old Gods (Norse, Egyptian, Hindu, etc) and the New (Fame, Wealth, Technology).
The creative minds behind AG recognized that the original text was “a sausage party” and made a direct effort at expanding the roles of its female characters. Laura Moon, Shadow’s not-quite-dead wife is the most dynamic woman in the story. But most of her undead journey happens unseen. Episode four of the American Gods series will follow the events of the pilot episode, but from Laura’s point of view: this includes counting down to Shadow’s release from prison, the car accident and her death, and the start of her afterlife protecting Shadow.
Sam Crow, unfortunately won’t be in this season of American Gods. Interviews with Gaiman and Fuller indicate that only the first third of the book will be explored. But, as with any adaptation, some changes must be in play – Kristin Chenoweth as Easter is clearly in the trailers, though Shadow originally meets the saucy fertility goddess later on.
On the plus side, we’ll get to enjoy Gillian Anderson as Media (one of the New Gods) and seeing Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) in an extended role. Sure, her sex worship is one of the most memorable and iconic scenes from the book, but she has little to do with the original primary plot. Still, this series promises to be riveting, thought-provoking, and feminist, so you can expect further gushing and analysis in the weeks to come!
Join me in worshipping tomorrow night at 9pm on Starz, or through the Starz app.