Based on the novel of the same name written by Neil Gaiman, American Gods is a U.S. television series created by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green for the cable channel Starz, and available for streaming in Italy on Amazon Prime Video with three seasons. American Gods stars Shadow Moon, played by British actor Ricky Whittl and just released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for a robbery gone wrong in a casino.
The release comes a few days early due to the sudden death of his beloved wife Laura, who lost her life in a tragic car accident. On the flight home to attend his wife's funeral, Shadow continues to have strange and unexplained visions, and meets a mysterious middle-aged man with the bizarre name of Mr Wednesday. The man offers him to work for him as a bodyguard, thus triggering the events of the fantasy show.
American Gods: the plot
As in Gaiman's book, the American Gods series on Prime Video has as its main character Shadow Moon, released three days early from prison after serving three years for robbery. The robbery was organized together with his wife Laura, croupier of the casino, although Shadow wanted to take full responsibility.
The untimely death of Laura, who died in a car accident with his best friend Robbie, will lead to the early release of the man, who will cross his fate with the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, met on the flight that was taking him home. The same man will propose himself as his employer, hiring him as a bodyguard for a hefty fee.
The strange encounters for Shadow are not over here, however: during his journey to Eagle Point, Shadow also runs into a drunkard, known as Mad Sweeney, who gives him a strange gold coin. It is only at the funeral, then, that Shadow will find out that his wife was cheating on him with Robbie, a best friend involved in the same incident.
Visibly in shock, he will soon after be imprisoned in a limousine where a rather bizarre young boy will interrogate him to learn about the plan orchestrated by his employer, the aforementioned Mr Wednesday. It will be discovered that, in reality, Mr. Wednesday is none other than the god of war Odin, who is trying to reunite all the Old Gods, now fallen into disgrace because they are no longer worshipped as they once were, to oppose the rise of the so-called New Gods.
Not only that, Mad Sweeney also hides an identity with an intense fantasy flavor. It's no coincidence that he's a leprechaun, better known as the Irish leprechaun who, depending on the case, gives good luck or bad luck to those he meets on his path. The amazing plot of American Gods will then take the protagonist Shadow into a world of myths and legends, which will force him to look beyond and re-evaluate every certainty.
Over him, watches a sort of guardian angel with superhuman strength, namely his deceased wife Laura, somehow returned from the dead before the judgment of the God Anubis. All thanks to that same lucky coin given to our anti-hero by the leprechaun Mad Sweeney, and that Shadow wanted to leave on the tomb of his wife. In his journey, and struggle, the man, or maybe not!, is destined to discover his origins.
American Gods: characters and cast
Not only has the plot of American Gods since the first season, of the total three, captivated critics and audiences, but also a level-headed and varied cast, which has been able to give life to convincing and multifaceted characters. Shadow Moon, the protagonist of the show, is as mentioned Ricky Whittle, already seen in the series The 100.
The man is released from prison after three years, ready to mourn the death of his wife Laura, Emily Browning, with whom he had organized a robbery in a casino that ended in the worst way. The face of Mr Wednesday is instead that of Ian McShane. In reality he is the God Odin of Norse mythology, who tries to revive the now dormant power of the old gods to oppose that of the New Gods, symbol of the new generations and modern society. We then find Pablo Schreiber in the role of Mad Sweeney, a leprechaun with a fiery temperament and a notorious brawler, a character linked to Irish folklore and mythology. He works for Mr Wednesday, and along with Laura is a sidekick to Shadow.
The cast of characters in American Gods also includes Bilquis, played by Yetide Badaki. In the modern world she presents herself as a call girl, but in reality she is able to absorb the body and soul of the men and women she has sex with. Biquis is that same ancient ruler of the Kingdom of Sheba already mentioned in the evangelical accounts of the Catholic Church, but also remembered in the Koran and in the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast.
The talent of Chris Obi is instead put at the service of Mr Jacquel, who is actually the Egyptian God of death Anubis. Aided by Mr Ibis, who is actor Demore Barnes, in the show the ancient Egyptian God Thot and narrator of the Amazon series, he manages to reassemble Laura's body. Once brought back to life, she will have to complete her mission of revenge to be judged by the deity, who will assess the weight of her heart.
Continuing on the villain front, Mr Nancy, Orlando Jones, is the ancient spider god of trickery Anansi, linked to the culture and mythology of Ghana. Mr World, on the other hand, is Crispin Glover, God of globalization and head of the New Gods. Finally we have the Technological Boy, played by Bruce Langley, or the young God of technology, Media, the always extraordinary Gillian Anderson, and New Media, Kahyun Kim. Her true identity is that of the goddess of communication, mass media and social networks, and is the official spokeswoman of the New Gods.
American Gods: the seasons
As already anticipated, American Gods consists of three seasons. The first two are divided into 8 episodes, while the third in a total of 10 episodes. Vediamole nel dettaglio, con assieme l’elenco di titoli di ogni episodio.
La prima stagione è stata ideata e trasmessa dall’emittente via cavo Starz in anteprima negli Stati Uniti. In Italia è disponibile nel catalogo Amazon Prime Video ed è stata trasmessa dal servizio di streaming del colosso dell’eCommece a partite dal primo maggio del 2017, per poi concludersi il 19 giugno dello stesso anno. Ognuno degli otto episodi ha una durata media di 50 minuti, vale a dire:
- Il giardino degli scheletri
- Il segreto dei cucchiai
- La testa tra la neve
- Il tuo profumo di limone
- L’assassinio degli dei
- Una preghiera per Sweeney
- Vieni da Gesù
La seconda stagione, in USA sempre su Starz e in Italia in streaming su Prime Video, è andata in onda nel Bel Paese dall’11 marzo al 29 aprile 2019. Si compone di 8 episodi di circa 55 minuti ciascuno:
- House on the Rock
- The Beguiling man
- The greatest story ever told
- The ways of the dead
- Donar the great
- Treasure of the sun
- Moon Shadow
La terza stagione della serie televisiva American Gods, composta da dieci episodi, è stata trasmessa negli Stati Uniti da Starz, dal 10 gennaio al 21 marzo 2021. In Italia il nuovo ciclo di episodi è approdato il giorno successivo, direttamente nel catalogo di Amazon Prime Video. Episodi che si assestano tutti più o meno sulla durata di quelli delle precedenti stagioni, e che sono:
- Storia d’inverno
- Un serio chiaro di Luna
- Ceneri e demoni
- Il non-visto
- La sorella sorge
- La coscienza del re
- Fuoco e ghiaccio
- L’estasi del fuoco
- L’effetto del lago
- Le lacrime dell’albero dell’ira
Il libro e l’autore di American Gods
il libro fantasy American Gods, from which the TV series is directly inspired, came out in 2001. At the time, Niel Gaiman was already a rather established writer and best known for his work in the world of comics. It is impossible to forget, among his works, the touching Sandman, published by DC Comics from 1989 to 1996, or the short novel Coraline, from which the well-known stop-motion film "Coraline and the Magic Door" was based in 2009. On television, he worked as a writer on two episodes of "Doctor Who", The Doctor's Wife in 2011 and "Nightmare in Silver" in 2013.
The origins of his American Gods are therefore quite clear. A book, this one, that was since its publication a success with critics and audiences in the States, and a bit 'around the world, deserving of prestigious awards among the community of fans of the fantasy and horror genre.
In particular, with his modern gods, Gaiman managed to win the Bram Stoker Award, assigned every year in the U.S. by the Horror Writer's Association to the best horror novel; then it was the turn of the Hugo Award, given annually to the best science fiction or fantasy series during the World Science Fiction Convention; and finally the Nebula Award, assigned by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to the most deserving science fiction stories of the year.
Watch American Gods on Amazon Prime!
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