Uncollected Thoughts: American Gods episode 1 – The Bone Orchard

Oh my God, how good was that?! Ricky Whittle was immense, Ian McShane as Mr Wednesday was hilarious and how about Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney? Fucking massive! If this is what these people can do with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, then imagine, just imagine(and how I am imagining!) what they could with with Sandman?

If I sound slightly hysterical, forgive me. I haven’t had a television series – or a film, come to that matter – do that to me in a very long time. This adaptation is incredibly good, on any level you choose to name, and even more so when you consider the book from which it’s taken. Writing, acting, effects, conception, it drew me in instantly and refused to let go and if this were the kind of Netflix deal where all eight parts were available all at one, I would be phoning in sick and not surfacing for another seven hours.

I have the advantage of having read the book, so I know what’s going on, which the first episode took care only to hint at, even if the astute (who had not read any of the pre-publicity) could have worked a lot of it out from what we got, especially from the ubiquitous Mr Wednesday. To give the most slight of precises, Ricky Whittle plays ‘Shadow’ Moon, coming to the end of a six year sentence for aggravated assault, and wanting nothing more than to get home to his wife, Laura (Emily Browning, who hasn’t had much to do yet).

Unfortunately, Shadow gets released a few days early, because Emily has died in a car crash. What he doesn’t know until he gets to the funeral is that Laura was having an affair with Shadow’s best mate, who had a job lined up for him, and who was killed in the same car crash (with his cock in Laura’s mouth, which, through involuntary motion, snapped shut…)

That, at least, wasn’t shown onscreen, but in every other respect the show does not shrink from being graphic: the opening sequence alone spills as much liquid CGI blood as the average episode of Spartacus.

Travelling across country, Shadow keeps running into some kind of super, super-confident conman, who gives himself the appropriate name of Mr Wednesday. I’ve never particularly liked Ian McShane, even though I used to watch Lovejoy many years ago, and I was entirely dubious about him in this part, but I withdraw all dubiety, I can’t imagine anyone better. Mr Wednesday wants to offer Shadow a job, as a right hand man.

Shadow doesn’t yet know what the job entails, but by the end, confronted by Technical Boy (Bruce Langley, mesmerisingly loathsome), he knows there are enemies. Mind you, when you count the outrageously tall leprechaun, the fighting mad Mad Sweeney, you can’t really say that your friends are that, how shall we put it? Sane?

And that’s without the scene where sex Goddess (literally) Bilquis sucks a man into her vagina whilst fucking.

Like I said, I’ve read the book, and more than once. I took it with me on a plane flight when it first came out, thought it meandered a bit too much, was overlong, go rid of it, bought it back many years later in the Author’s Preferred Text edition, which is actually much longer and thought it much much better. I know what’s going on. Someone who doesn’t has more than enough to be curious about. If they can keep up this quality over the next seven weeks, Twin Peaks season 3 might not be the television event of 2017 after all.

Let me hear you say, OMFG Wow!


2 thoughts on “Uncollected Thoughts: American Gods episode 1 – The Bone Orchard

  1. I haven’t read the book but, my thoughts at the end of the first Episode were exactly like yours…OMFG, roll on the rest of it.

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