Brow Beat

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Comes to TV in the First Trailer for Starz’s Adaptation

Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ricky Whittle) in the trailer for American Gods.
Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) in the trailer for American Gods.

Still from the trailer

In the world of American Gods, Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel, old myths stalk the backroads and byways of the new world. The deities of the book’s title are ideas brought to life by belief, a belief that slowly vanishes as human attention turns to other dreams and desires. Starz’s television adaptation of American Gods, which has been in development since 2014, has itself seemed like a fading idea at times. Now, however, the network has shared the first trailer for the series, which follows the ex-convict Shadow as he explores a world of divine conflict.

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Thick with strange portents and mysterious visions, this glimpse of the series will likely baffle viewers who haven’t read the novel, but the names of those involved with the series should be enough to excite. Most notably, co-showrunners Michael Green and Bryan Fuller should bring their own visions to the material. Green was responsible for the stylish but frustrating NBC series Kings, while Fuller has created a series of cult favorites, including Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, and Dead Like Me. Both producers have sometimes struggled with the limitations of network TV—as emblematized by Hannibal’s frustrating fate—but they’ll likely have more freedom on Starz. Indeed, the trailer suggests that Fuller’s dazzling imagery will be a significant part of American Gods.

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In front of the camera will be Ian McShane, who recently made a too-brief appearance on Game of Thrones and will be taking on a much larger role here as Mr. Wednesday, a figure whose true identity—and relationship to Shadow (The 100’s Ricky Whittle)—are central to the story’s arc. Though it would spoil the fun to go into details, the Irish actor excels at playing the kind of irresistible conmen who helped shape American culture, as he showed on Deadwood when he played the Mephistophelian Al Swearengen.

Though we won’t know until 2017 whether the show will live up to this trailer, there’s enough on display here to make us want to believe.

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