Tag Archives: Michael Green

‘American Gods’ Season 2

It’s been almost two full years since the first season of American Gods wrapped up, with major behind-the-scenes overhauls making the news with relative frequency. Firstly, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green departed after supposed creative disputes, including disagreements with co-executive producer Neil Gaiman, author of the show’s source novel. Then, a couple of key actors from the first season – specifically, two previous Fuller collaborators in Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth – opted not to return in solidarity with the departing showrunner. Thirdly, replacement showrunner Jesse Alexander, who had worked on Fuller’s Hannibal as a writer-producer, was reportedly relieved of duty late in the production of Season 2, not allowed to oversee the show to completion despite not being officially fired.

Fans of the first season, or even fans of the book who didn’t like the first season, would be right to be worried about the end result of this fraught return to the screen. That said, some may find this clash between conflicting visions of the future strangely appropriate for the narrative’s battle of wits and woe between gods of the old ways and deities of the new ones…

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American Gods – Episode 8

Considering their show is so much about taking a leap of faith, it’s appropriate that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green took their own one in ending the first season of American Gods on a cliffhanger before they even knew for certain that a second season was to be greenlit (spoiler: it has been). It’s a pretty satisfying one, too, thanks to the quality of the rest of the episode. Some non-book readers may be wondering when the heck anyone is going to get to Wisconsin, but, for the most part, viewers will have their faith rewarded…

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American Gods – Episode 7

One of the greatest assets of this first season of American Gods has been the breathing space it allows its various subplots, as well as its breaking away from traditional episodic structure, be it devoting an entire instalment to a flashback or lavishing a lot of attention on the various side vignettes of Neil Gaiman’s source novel. It’s an enjoyably weird show, one that prefers to luxuriate in a particular mood, before actually explaining what it’s just shown you.

Unfortunately, there can be a breaking point regarding a show’s otherwise pleasing qualities, and Episode 7, “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”, hits it. That’s not necessarily down to the instalment being bad per se, nor its storytelling quirk (the ‘Coming to America’ prologue device becoming the focus of an entire episode) being inherently objectionable. The direction (from Adam Kane) and performances continue to be very engaging, and Pablo Schreiber and Emily Browning would be wise to submit this episode for any Emmy consideration, in light of the dual turns they get to play with (and play well)…

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American Gods – Episode 6

Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen) is the first deity introduced in American Gods that doesn’t appear in Neil Gaiman’s novel, although was reportedly created by Gaiman himself, specifically for the series. Considering the skeleton of the book that needs to (mostly) be followed for the show’s main narrative, it’s not surprising that Vulcan ends up a one-episode-and-done deal in a pretty concrete fashion – sacrificed by Wednesday, in response to his betrayal of Wednesday and Shadow to the New Gods. He’s based on the Roman god of the forge, metalworking and volcanoes, and while he crafts Wednesday a sword in the old way, guns are more his forte these days and his volcanoes are now fiery lead vats with which to create them; not so much a god of open flames, as a god of open fire…

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American Gods – Episode 5

Not that the previous four episodes of American Gods were lacking in flirtation with horror, but Episode 5, “Lemon Scented You”, is the show’s most showily spooky outing to date. David Slade, at the helm for the first three episodes, has numerous horror films on his resume, but Episode 5’s director, Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice and, like Slade, a Hannibal alumni), gets a lot of body horror moments to play with, from reanimated Laura’s interactions with Shadow, Mad Sweeney and one unlucky morgue employee, to the squirm-inducing contortions that various police officers find themselves in after an encounter with the New Gods. Oh, and a sentient tree grows up through a corpse and tries to kill Shadow – Groot, why have you forsaken us?

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American Gods – Episode 4

After a string of episodes directed by David Slade, Craig Zobel (Compliance) takes over for episode 4 of American Gods. It’s not the only major change-up. Following Episode 3’s reveal of ‘alive’ Laura awaiting Shadow in his motel room, Episode 4 is devoted entirely to how she got there, going all the way back to when she and Shadow first met.

There’s no ‘Coming to/Somewhere in America’ interlude, no Mr. Wednesday, not really much in the way of new characters. Heck, the only god to appear at all is Anubis, who we met last week. Diverting almost completely from previous episodes’ form, this excellent episode is primarily a nuanced character study of a multifaceted, unhappy woman, albeit one still packed with plenty of weird stuff and dark comedy – this year, you will believe a revenant woman can excrete embalming fluid…

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American Gods – Episode 3

It probably says something about American Gods’ somewhat assaultive nature that an episode where a man is suddenly, and gruesomely, impaled by a pole flying through his car windshield feels pretty tame. That bit of goriness aside, as well as a brief moment with Mad Sweeney pulling a shard of glass out of his cheek, “Head Full of Snow”, the third episode of the series, is relatively free of the show’s ostentatious violence to date…

Full review for VODzilla.co