Cast: – Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Ricky Whittle
Genre: – Fantasy, Drama
So, one of the biggest blockbusters of the year and the most awaited TV show for a long time aired on 30th April 2017.
It is based off a book by Neil Gamon. I haven’t read the book as of now, so I shall be reviewing the TV show as a solo act and not comparing it to its source material.
So, American Gods follows the story of a convict Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) who is released a few days early from his prison sentence of 6 years to attend the funeral of his wife – Laura Moon (Emily Browning) who died in a car accident. On his way back home, he meets a man who calls himself Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane – real identity withheld) – a god, who recruits him for a job. Shadow knows there is something weird about Wednesday but goes with him anyways after a bit of persuasion. He meets his associate Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) who is a leprechaun serving Mr Wednesday. Wednesday is set out to gather allies, other gods who will side with him in the war against the new gods – Technology, TV etc.
Now, I might have given a spoiler stating that Mr Wednesday was a god but it’s a necessary disclosure.
The cast was the greatest part of the show second to the script and creative content. This is what I felt about the cast:-
- So, Ian McShane by the looks itself is a very seasoned and a high – class actor who has played amazing roles in the past and pulls off a Mr Wednesday as well. You know from the very beginning based on character dialogue and interactions that his character has a very long past and you run your head through all texts of mythology trying to figure out which god he really is. Some of you might have figured out first hand but I didn’t, my mythology is a bit weak.
- Ricky Whittle was the main character playing a Shadow Moon. The sceptic who knew God existed but never thought he would be in the company of one. He is an everyday Joe, who is shocked, confused and bewildered at the whereabouts of his employer. You see the sceptic in him all the time, confused as to who Mr Wednesday meets or “why are these various weird gods talking to him?” or “What is he?”. I have only seen him before in the 100 which is not that great of a role.
- Emily Browning plays the wife of Shadow Moon who dies and is brought back to life a little while later due to some reasons (I might have spoiled it a bit but there’s a lot you still don’t know.) Her act is okayish, not very convincing but pretty good considering her acting career. She is a singer and acts rarely.
- Pablo Schreiber plays Mad Sweeney a Leprechaun who pulls gold out of thin air. A new variation to the mythical characters historical depiction. He is probably the most mysterious character in the show out of all of them and personally my favourite.
- The scariest part of the entire runtime is Anubis (Chris Obi) – god of Afterlife. He is a side character and not the main one but his interaction in the show and his voice scared me. It shows how a dead person’s soul is metaphorically compared to a feather to decide their fate of the afterlife.
So, the show is a very well scripted and designed to perfection. Personally, when it started I was sceptical as to whether I would watch it or not. I wasn’t very eager but a few friends recommended I thought why not give it a try. The first few episodes had a lot of explicit scenes required to build character (a lot like Game of Thrones) but from episode 4 it was a solid show with refined material and amazingly depicted the content they wanted to put across.
I liked the most of the show was how it took into consideration every person’s belief. But the show is based on the fact that America is formed based on beliefs and each belief has a god related to it. They have shown slaves being transported on ships worshipping their gods which the white masters knew nothing of OR tribal men worshipping their god Nunyuninni who nobody else knows about etc. These are all prologues to the episodes which really get you engrossed in the show. I loved how they dissolved material and kept you hooked because at the end of every episode when you lie down to think about it, you will have questions wondering what, how, when and finally the succeeding episode answers them. Such is the mystery of this show.
Personally I liked the 4th episode – the one that tells the backstory of Shadow Moon and the 7th episode that tells the history of the Leprachaun – Mad Sweeney.
People create gods when they wonder why things happen. Do you know why things happen? Because gods make them happen. You wanna know how to make good things happen? Be good to your god. You give a little, you get a little. The simplicity of that bargain has always been appealing. That’s why we’re here, and that’s precisely why I matter. – Mr. Wednesday
So, the show is basically a war between the gods. The old gods – Gods that made Nature, food, seasons, life, death etc are fighting over their influence on the human race against the new ones – Technology, TV, materialistic world etc. Like in every war you have the ones that are the head of opposing sides and they need to pull people in the middle onto their sides, so there you have – The god of death (Peter Stormare) , Goddess of Fertility (Bilquis – Yetide Bedaki), God of war/ ammunition (Vulcan- Corbin Bernsen) amongst other gods.
Now, I am a Monotheist – a Muslim and I believe in one God – Allah but it is just fascinating to see the show’s take on how God’s fight for control over their age of influence and how mankind is helpless when they are stuck in the middle of the ones they worship because there are really no atheists. Everyone worships something and each category of faith creates a new god. I also liked how the show included the variations in people’s faiths like the different skin coloured Jesus’s and how different people’s faiths contradict with other people and cause conflicts but they all exist. So, the slightest change in worship is also taken into consideration.
My Rating :- Amazing Concept and execution