02nd May2017

‘American Gods 1×01: The Bone Orchard’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Orlando Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Peter Stormare, Kristin Chenoweth, Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman | Created by Neil Gaiman | Developed for TV by Bryan Fuller


I have a confession. I have not read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Now that we have that over and done with, the TV version is finally here, and it was well worth that wait. In fact, it makes me want to get hold of the book right now so I can understand what is actually going on…

Following the death of his wife, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is released from jail early. On the plane home, he meets Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane) who employs Moon as a bodyguard, leading him into a world of gods fighting to be relevant.

The idea of the gods in American Gods reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods with the gods fighting each other to be noticed by humans. Mr. Wednesday is an old god past his time looking to find some relevance in the world. Shadow Moon appears to be something special, which is why the gods appear to be taking notice in him, even if this causes him issues.

What is impressive about the first episode of American Gods is that it catches your attention from the early scenes, then just continues to impress. The art style, the soundtrack, and especially the choice of cast well to impress the audience and hook them for the whole series. One scene that is bound to be discussed a lot is the sex scene featuring Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), it will be interesting to see if we see this god more, but she definitely makes an impact in her introduction. The way she looks for adoration and worship is an episode stealer to say the least. I won’t spoil what happens, but it is safe to say that she needs to at least let some of her followers survive if she wants to stay relevant.

Looking at this first episode of American Gods, one thing is for sure is that the partnership of Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane is a highlight of the show. McShane of course is always dependable in anything he does, but Whittle will be a new actor for much of the audience. It is safe to say though that The Bone Orchard will have put many people’s worries to bed when it comes to Shadow Moon. This show will make him a star.

After the first episode I’m in this for the long haul. While my highlight of 2017 so far is still Legion, American Gods has come close to competing with it. While I will say that Legion is still the better show, the fact we have American Gods too this year is showing that 2017 will go down as a quality year for television. It really is no surprise to me that I like it though because it is a Bryan Fuller show, and I was a huge fan of Hannibal.

The Bone Orchard is a very strong start for American Gods, and it is safe to assume that it will just get better. It will be interesting to see the introduction of more of the gods as the show progresses, and just why Shadow Moon appears to be so important to them. Maybe I should just read the book to find out.

American Gods is a new show that I do class as must-see for anybody looking for quality television now that Legion has ended. With a stellar cast, a good story and impressive art design, this is the new show to watch.

***** 5/5

American Gods can be watched in the UK on Amazon Prime with episodes arriving on Mondays.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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