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Tag: Neil Gaiman

Decrypted: American Gods: New series is as good as the book

Enlarge / Wednesday (Ian McShane) meets Shadow (Ricky Whittle) under some extremely dark and mysterious circumstances. (credit: American Gods / Starz)

Welcome back to Ars Technica's podcast Decrypted, which is all about the TV we love to analyze. Right now, we're watching American Gods, a new Starz series created by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) and based on the bestselling novel by Neil Gaiman. The first episode aired Sunday night (or Monday in the UK on Amazon Prime), and, in our first episode, your host Annalee Newitz (that's me) talks to Ars staffer Sam Machkovech about whether the show is really about religion or just the experience of immigrating to America. Plus, we compare the book and the series.

I've just finished reading the author's preferred version of American Gods (which is about 14,000 words longer than the one originally published in 2001), and Sam read the book when it came out (though he went back to it to refresh his memory before the podcast). We talk about how Fuller translates Gaiman's dreamy tone into a compelling story and how he makes some seemingly unfilmable moments into incredible feasts for the eyes. We also have some thoughts about protagonists Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Wednesday (Ian McShane). Basically: damn they are amazing actors.

We can't help but discuss all our feelings about Technical Boy, the god of... what? Computers? The Internet? Videogames? Vaping? Plus, we dissect the older gods we meet in this episode and what they represent in their new American context. The terrific thing about this show—and the novel—is the multi-layered story that lends itself to endless analysis.

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American Gods may have finally nailed the modern-fantasy formula on TV

AUSTIN, Texas—TV pilots ain't what they used to be, as the Netflix model takes much of the weight off a first episode's shoulders. Series can take their time revealing characters, unfolding plots, or even having much plot take place in a single episode.

Weirdly, the first hour-long episode of Starz' new American Gods series feels like a relic of that older era—in all of the best ways. This is TV built to stun, with equal parts momentum and cautious pauses, and it won't embarrass fans of its source material. The Neil Gaiman novel of the same name has no shortage of mystery, intrigue, and surprise in its first few dozen pages. Starz' take on the book manages to follow its every major plot thread to a satisfying degree, all while setting into motion a solid framework for how we should expect the modern-fantasy epic to unravel.

Vikings soaked in corn-syrup blood

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