It’s not just about the tech, films, and music at SXSW anymore, and one of the highs of the festival is sure to be the premiere of American Gods, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s divine novel. It premieres on Starz on Sunday, April 30th. Read on for a recap of the pilot.
In the adaptation, Ricky Whittle plays Shadow Moon, a recent ex-con, who’s let out of jail three days early because his wife died in a tragic car accident. Things go from bad to worse when Shadow meets the shady Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), who offers him a job. He also encounters Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), who has a predilection for coin tricks and bar fights. Shadow’s worst fears come true when a chance run-in with Tech Boy (Bruce Langley) proves that working for Mr. Wednesday will be just as dangerous as he assumed. Meanwhile, elsewhere in America, we witness the love-and-praise-starved goddess, Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), who demands nothing less than complete submission, envelope her latest worshipper.
A short preview of the rest of the season revealed that the rest of Gaiman’s characters are all here–or will be–with Gillian Anderson as Media, Crispin Glover as Mr. World, and Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy, to name a few, on tap for upcoming episodes. Fans of the book will quickly notice the requisite timeline change in order to accommodate its serialization. Otherwise, the series captures all the gore, violence, and humor that those same fans will be praying for.
American Gods will be appointment television for me. If you’ve got a weak stomach or a shaky spiritual constitution (or even a solid one) be warned, it’s a wicked road trip through the American consciousness that reminds us all too clearly of who we really are.