Season one of American Gods has drawn to a close. It is not exactly a close adaptation of the book: characters that even those who have read it recently struggle to remember (they’re mentioned in passing in the tiny lead-in stories to one chapter) have large parts in two or three of the eight episode season, the real emotional heart of the story are a couple of other characters we rarely see in the book but who appear a lot here, while the main characters of the book do a lot of dry discourse and some action scenes but a lot of it is stuff that’s not in the book, although thematically it remains on point.
That said, nearly every performance is wonderful, I enjoyed the story we were told and it did remain close enough to the source I can’t really complain that it wasn’t an adaptation of the book so I should have little or nothing to complain about.
Sadly that isn’t the case. While I enjoyed the show, and I did, it never quite gelled for me. I think, in part, that’s because a lot of the changes felt glaring and necessary, despite me not having read the book for getting on for fifteen years. If they’re that big, and I’ve missed many others too I’m sure, I’m left wondering why they were made. In part, I’m sure, I’m not a huge fan of Bryan Fuller’s style as it’s evolved over the years (I enjoyed Dead Like Me, not such much he’s been show runner on since then) and all his visual tics are on display here. If you like the way he sets and colours his scenes I’m sure you’ll lap it all up. I find in most scenes it sets my teeth on edge and when you get a scene where it might be suitable it doesn’t have the impact it should.
None of these issues stopped me watching the show. The story is good, it’s just not the story I was expecting, and the acting really is top-notch. I could grit my teeth and put up with the rest of it and you might even like it. But I think it’s well worth a look.
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