HBO Praying For American Gods

Neil Gaiman's book may become series

Given how much promotion US network HBO is giving to its massive new fantasy series A Game of Thrones, you can tell the channel seems to think it could be on to a winner. And it appears it’s sticking with the idea of adapting fantasy novels into series, entering talks to nab the rights to Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed American Gods.

Gaiman’s story weaves various mythic types into a present-day American adventure that focuses on a war between two sets of gods. One lot, the traditional deities and mythological creatures led by Odin, are seeing their powers fade as humanity stops believing in them. And they’re slowly being replaced by a set driven by mankind’s preoccupation with technology, celebrity and drugs. Oh, and there’s an ex-con called Shadow at the centre of it all who turns out to be much more than anyone suspects.

While it’s early days for the idea, the plan to put Gods up on screen in some capacity certainly has some powerful support. Gaiman and cinematographer-turned-writer Robert Richardson (whose film credits include Inglorious Basterds, JFK, The Aviator, Kill Bill and the upcoming Hugo Cabret) are planning to script the pilot together. They’re being assisted by producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, the Playtone team that brought Band of Brothers and The Pacific to HBO.

After years of feeling short-changed by big stories squashed down into two-hour films, the idea of Gaiman’s sprawling, thoughtful, magical tome being treated to the proper series length sounds like a massive winner. Start praying to whichever gods you like that it happens…