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American Gods - premiere episode

Well......what do we think? I'm....on the fence. Yes, it's going to have to start slow and build it's particular world and characters, but I was chomping at the bit and ended up feeling unsatisfied.

The truly bright spot for me in this premiere episode was the leprechaun who jumped fully fledged into the scene and just kept the energy sky-high. He was perfect in every imaginable way - looks, dress, swagger. I did enjoy McShane's Wodan....but felt the physical manifestation of the character was downplayed a little too much. Seemed to rely more on dialogue than being in-character. And the delivery a bit too pat? I know I'm being hypercritical but we've been waiting a long time and we know the cast and crew are stellar. So I really wanted this thing to have so much freakin' life in it that sparks would shoot out of the television set. That did NOT happen.

I'm struggling with Shadow. I want MORE from him. I didn't get a true sense of the character at all....and that was frustrating when the secondary charcters were so full of clean lines, such as Mad Sweeny and OMG Robbie's widow Audrey! She was an amazing suprised and another scene-stealer.

Was Technical Boy successfully portrayed? Or how about the disturbing scene with Bilquis? I'm still debating those.

It was interesting that The Viking who knows nothing about Gaiman or this novel or even the culturalization of personifying the Olde Gods was absolutely bored silly by the show. That made me sad. Technically it was appealing, very visual. But the scenes didn't seem to stitch together well and that left him continually in the dark. I don't want to TELL him the story because I do want the show to move at its own pace, but I'm not sure how many more episodes he'll sit through. Sadly, this is in direct contrast to LEGION which grabbed him by the throat right out of the gate.

So, those who are watching, what did YOU think?

OF course of course of course I'm over-the-moon for Mad Sweeney!!! Perfect casting. The guy is just chewing scenery left and right and leaving everyone in his dust -


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2017 07:58 pm (UTC)
I actually loved it. I really, really enjoyed the visual aspects, the opening credits alone are wow. I really liked the interactions and dialogue.
May. 1st, 2017 08:25 pm (UTC)
Oh that's wonderful to hear!! You were able to follow the story then. I agree, it's visually fantabulous!
May. 1st, 2017 08:04 pm (UTC)
In the past I've read Gaiman, not sure which book, or what books, I don't think I have read it, though...I did read a book called American Gods, but it was by Harlan Ellison. (Kindle knows Harlan Ellison's name!) What I recall of the Gaiman book is sketchy, tiny little people, a big monster-type. Sketchy.

I'm glad you're getting some love from the series. Sorry D wasn't enthralled. We want the ones we love to love the things we love. We just do.

I know you stream things, is this an Amazon stream? I haven't seen it advertised in Canada.


May. 1st, 2017 10:48 pm (UTC)
I'm going to stick with this...but the novel may be the better investment, M. We shall see!

I'm wondering if that's actually a Terry Pratchett you're remembering?

This is on Starz which is a subscription channel on amazon. Nothing is free anymore, is it?
May. 1st, 2017 08:55 pm (UTC)
Love your rainbow! :-)
May. 1st, 2017 10:48 pm (UTC)
Me too!!
May. 2nd, 2017 12:43 am (UTC)
ahahahaha, i was wondering about your take on Mad Sweeney :D i knew you would not disappoint ... (for the record i haven't seen any of this and may not until it's finished - planning on some sort of mighty binge at some point though)

my hot take: Mad Sweeney should not have such American dentistry-style teeth but ::shrug:: just sayin' that's my 1 second judgement from the clip.

Edited at 2017-05-02 12:46 am (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2017 01:11 am (UTC)
HEE!!!! Yep, he's not in my wheelhouse he IS MY WHEELHOUSE! And definitely agree with you on the chompers.

I envy your self control in being able to wait until the end of this season!!!! I think that's probably going to be the more rewarding way to watch!
May. 2nd, 2017 08:02 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of you the moment I saw him. He TOTALLY is the personification of your wheelhouse -- the question is, does he sing?

May. 2nd, 2017 07:35 am (UTC)
I haven't read that yet (Good Omens & Stardust the only Gaiman I've read so far) but the show looks interesting - I did see a review that complained about your same concrits. Slow to start and confusing to those who've not read the book. Might be worth spoiling the plot a little to make it more accessible?
May. 3rd, 2017 01:17 am (UTC)
I think I may have to spoil him a bit to get him hooked. Curious to see how S1.2 goes!

You haven't read The Sandman???????????????????
May. 3rd, 2017 07:36 am (UTC)
No! I'll have to see if the local library has it and/or American Gods. I read "Stardust" and I know a lot of people love his female Death (that's Sandman?) but Stardust made me think he wasn't great at writing women and the book made no lasting impression on me, so maybe he improved over time/that was an outlier.
May. 3rd, 2017 03:28 pm (UTC)
Stardust was an earlier work....and is weak. BIG on imagination, as per his usual, but small on realization. I think it's best as an early YA outing.

Try The Sandman which really is his masterpiece. It may not be to your liking but it does deserve a try as it really is a major part of our current cultural literature. It predates Stardust. But being a graphic novel it doesn't require all of the word count.
May. 2nd, 2017 05:14 pm (UTC)
I was underwhelmed by American Gods the series, but then I wasn't realy into the book either when I read it, so it might be because of the source material. Shadow is just not compelling enough a character IMO.

The Bilquis scene was okay, and yes the leprechaun was probably the best part of the episode, but I got annoyed by all the slow-motion shots and blood splatters in the air. It was the the kind of things I like the least on Hannibal and now Fuller and Co are doing it again. I just found those moments ridiculous and pretentious, aiming at style but only providing grotesque and not in the good sense of the word. And yes, I agree that, compared to LEGION which was actually well-written, really stylish and visually creative, this series looks at best mediocre.

So I was mostly bored by the pilot. Not sure, I'm going to stick to the show, even for Ian McShane.

As new shows go, The Handmaid's Tale, on the other hand is brillant. Visually flawless with great direction but without pretentiousness. It is filled with depth and good writing, and the performances are so gripping, making all the characters fleshed-out and interesting.
May. 3rd, 2017 01:20 am (UTC)
I loved the first 3/4 of AG...but it didn't seem to hold together and that was terribly disappointing. I'm hoping for more from the show. Gaiman has matured and Fuller is a damned good storyteller.

I agree the violence doesn't fit well.

I'm curious about episode 2. I want to give it at least a three episode try! Not a good sign when you and your exquisite taste find the pilot boring.
May. 2nd, 2017 05:45 pm (UTC)
Oh I had so hoped you'dd be watching this and revieving! I fell in love with the teaser trailer and I do hope I can get over my aversion of starting new things and watch i... or you know, pick up the book it is based on.
May. 3rd, 2017 01:18 am (UTC)
Aversion to new things? Why do you feel this way? Doesn't that keep you from enjoying so many good things?

The book might be worth picking up! Do you like Gaiman?
May. 3rd, 2017 05:51 am (UTC)
It's mostly the aversion to new series like... there are a lot I want to watch but the idea of starting with unfamiliar characters that I have to 'learn' anew is what stops me (also known as my incredible laziness). My 'watch list' is longer than a toilet roll at this point ;-;

And I admit I haven't read anything from him yet! But generally, books are easy for me to get into (probably cause I can read those on my commute, idk)
May. 2nd, 2017 08:10 pm (UTC)
Lots of thoughts!!

Shadow is a bit of a cipher, but he starts out that way in the book, as well. I feel like he was faithfully portrayed, and I really like the actor they chose for him, now that I've seen him actually onscreen.

So many good side-characters -- Robbie's wife was fabulously-portrayed, intense and raw and uncomfortable to watch, the same way you'd watch the trainwreck of a friend's life and feel helpless as an onlooker. Shadow's attempts at compassion for her grief felt very real, even during his own complicated mourning.

Mad Sweeney was fabulous. Hoping we'll see more of him!

I'm not totally sold on Mr. Wednesday's casting yet -- giving him time. I like his patter, and I think I'd like him more if I didn't have a fairly firm mental picture of the character -- but he may grow on me.

Bilquis was well-done -- again, an uncomfortable but excellent portrayal. They're definitely pushing viewers' comfort zones, and I'm okay with that for the moment.

I really disliked the amount of blood, and the slow-motion blood scenes. It felt egregious and unnecessary. The Viking scene was powerful on its own, they didn't need to focus on blood and viscera to make it work.

Credits are visually gorgeous, I hope the rest of the series will follow in *that* vein. I want to see the art in this, not just the ability to shock the viewer.

So -- first episode, powerful, flawed, promising. Looking forward to seeing where they go with this.

-- A <3
May. 3rd, 2017 01:16 am (UTC)
It's good, A, to be hearing some positive thoughts about AG. I want to like it. I want to LOVE it...but yeah, I guess there's no way the pilot could have ever possibly lived up to what was in my imagination. And you're right, Shadow starts off slow in the book. In many ways, I think AG was Gaiman's attempt to write like King. One and two dimensions is par for that course.

I agree with you about the blood. It's become Fuller's signature and I don't see how this violence can be sustained. It wasn't even sustainable in Hannibal and by the end of that show had become a parody of itself.

May. 3rd, 2017 03:16 am (UTC)
A Drunken Man's Praise of Sobriety

Come swish around, my pretty punk,
And keep me dancing still
That I may stay a sober man
Although I drink my fill.

Sobriety is a jewel
That I do much adore;
And therefore keep me dancing
Though drunkards lie and snore.
O mind your feet, O mind your feet,
Keep dancing like a wave,
And under every dancer
A dead man in his grave.
No ups and downs, my pretty,
A mermaid, not a punk;
A drunkard is a dead man,
And all dead men are drunk.

By William Butler Yeats
May. 3rd, 2017 03:04 pm (UTC)

Thank you for this! Thank you!
May. 4th, 2017 02:30 am (UTC)
You are most welcome; I am glad you like it.
May. 3rd, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure the premiere blew me away, but it felt true to the book. I really like Shadow, I feel like he really is just going through the motions in the beginning of the book so it feels right to me, reacting to things and trying to keep it together but not much else. (Also, he is sexy, though his shirt should not have been so clean after the fight) I did not like the Viking opener. It feels like they are forcing the reveal of Wednesday needlessly and they were going for humor but it seemed misplaced. (The ridiculous amount of blood there was supposed to be humorous but less so later? I feel like there's just a stupid gore quota all of these shows have to meet now.) I like Wednesday. The Bliquis scene had to be there but it was odd. It had to be though, right? I can't think of a practical way for it to happen. I'm excited for the rest of the cast, sort of like the book, I think the god cameos will continue to be the best parts of the show.
May. 3rd, 2017 10:55 pm (UTC)
All good points, K. And I am heartened to hear that you and several others felt good about it.

That opening was so unnecessary. For me it fell totally flat. But even with the voiceover, D did not put 2 and 2 together there. So it seemed even more pointless to me.

I've decided I am not okay with the way they filmed the Bilquis scene. It does need to be disturbing and strange and the actress was perfect! She seemed like a cat there at the end, all satisfied with her human sacrifice. And I LOVED her facial expressions as she was being worshipped. But I think the filmography/staging needed to be less graphic and more mystically disturbing rather than revolting.

I just googled Sweeney. Had no idea he's not Irish and that he's Liev's brother!
May. 4th, 2017 01:32 am (UTC)
???? Who says Sweeney's not Irish???

EDIT: duh; sorry; so-literal me - of course you mean "the actor who plays Sweeney isn't Irish." My mistake!

Edited at 2017-05-04 01:45 am (UTC)
(no subject) - Williams Micheal - Jun. 1st, 2017 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )