American Gods “The Bone Orchard”

I’m sitting here typing this on the evening of April 30th.  I’ve seen one and only one episode of American Gods so far.  I write these well in advance, so by the time this goes live, I suspect I will know if I enjoyed every episode of American Gods or not.

I suspect I will.  So far, it’s pretty much exactly what I expected it to be.

I mean, let’s look at the people behind this.  First, there’s Neil Gaiman.  He wrote the original novel.  I really need to reread that sucker.  I mean, my copy is autographed by the author, making it one of the only books I’d probably never loan out (I’m generous with my books, but I have my limits).  I’m a fan of the guy.

But that’s hardly enough.  Next there’s the two producers:  Michael Green and Bryan Fuller.

Green is a longtime writer and producer with a resume of solid Geek stuff.  Four of his screenplays are or have come to the big screen in 2017.  One of them was Logan.  All the folks here loved Logan.

Fuller, on the other hand, took the basic pulpy work of Thomas Harris and made Hannibal, a show I am still surprised was somehow on network television.  That’s probably the most beautiful show I’ve ever seen about a cannibalistic serial killer.  Seriously, there’s some fine aesthetics on Hannibal, where corpses and meals are made to look simultaneously as beautiful and shocking as possible.  From the very first scene, American Gods is going in a similar direction for onscreen aesthetics.  This is not a realistic show.  It’s all the better for it.

Next there’s the cast.  Besides the great Ian McShane as the consummate con artist/hustler Mr. Wednesday, there’s also the likes of Crispin Glover, Gillian Anderson, Orlando Jones, Jeremy Davies, Peter Stormare, Kristin Chenoweth, Cloris Leachman, Corbin Bernsen, and Pablo Schrieber as various old and new gods and mythological figures.  McShane seems to be really enjoyed himself in this first episode.

But then, Ricky Whittle as normal guy Shadow Moon (given a last name for the show from the looks of things) is no slouch, but his character is more of a physical presence, someone who has to hold his own with more colorful characters all around him.  So far, so good.

So, what’s going on?  Shadow Moon is in prison for aggravated assault.  He’s due to be released, but gets out a couple days early.  Why?  His wife Laura died in a sudden car accident.  On the way home to the small town he lived in, he meets Mr. Wednesday, a man who insists Shadow come to work for him as a driver and all-around errand boy.  Though he initially declines, claiming a friend at home has a job lined up for him, Shadow soon learns the friend was killed in the same accident and after some bizarrely lucky coin tosses, Shadow goes to work for Wednesday.

He also gets in a fight with a six foot man claiming to be a leprechaun.  That would be Schrieber’s Mad Sweeney.  From what I have read, Sweeney and Laura will have a road trip of their own as a running subplot.

So, what is Shadow getting into?  He says to his cellmate Low-Key that he’s a man who believes in what he can see and touch, so he isn’t much for religion, but he’s still seeing weird things in his dreams, like the Bone Orchard.

Pictured: more more weird things Shadow sees in dreams.

And then some kid in a VR headset almost kills him.  The Technical Boy looks to be every bit as obnoxious as the one in the novel.

Shadow doesn’t really know what’s going on.  It’s bad enough he learned his wife died giving his friend oral sex while said friend was driving.  His life is a bit of a shamble.  He might as well go with Wednesday.

Of course, this is American Gods.  Things may not stay dead.

Also, don’t have sex with Bilquis.  Just don’t.

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