Neil Gaiman's American Gods TV Series Moving Forward At Starz
Hannibal's Bryan Fuller and Heroes' Michael Green will run the show
Good news for Neil Gaiman fans and anyone who has been waiting what feels like decades for his sprawling fantasy tome American Gods to finally and actually be adapted for television. US cable channel Starz has announced that it has handed a straight-to-series order to the show.
Bryan Fuller (who spends most of his time these days thinking up elaborate ways body parts can be staged or served in meals as showrunner of Hannibal) developed the series and wrote the initial script, while one of his old comrades from Heroes, Michael Green, is in place to run the programme once it’s actually up and running.
Gaiman's novel, first published in 2001, and again in an expanded edition in 2005, involves old gods and mythological creatures from various Old World pantheons (Low Key Lyesmith, Mr. Nancy, Mr. Jacquel), brought to the US by the immigrants who founded it. But their powers are waning as people's beliefs shift to modern worships like media and technology. When our hero, Shadow, is released from prison, he takes up with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday on an odyssey across America recruiting old gods for a war against the new.
During the journey, Shadow learns some interesting facts about his heritage, and faces down a child-killer. Characters from Sandman crop up occasionally, and the whole thing feels like a tour through forgotten corners of Americana as well as the mythology of, well, the entire world. The novel's companion piece Anansi Boys came out in 2005, and a follow-up story, Monarch Of The Glen, is in Gaiman's Fragile Things collection.
The rights to the book have bounced around through the years, and a series was previously in development over at HBO with Tom Hanks’ Playtone company backing that version. After the channel threw the idea into limbo along with the towel, FreemantleMedia picked it up and have partnered with Starz, which given its HBO-like freedom for content, seems like as good a place as any. Plus, with Fuller’s fingerprints on there, hopefully this won’t just be some dumbed-down version of the story.
Of course, the next big issue will be finding a cast to bring the characters to life as Gaiman, who is also serving as an executive producer, explains. "I am thrilled, scared, delighted, nervous and a ball of glorious anticipation,” he says. “The team that is going to bring the world of American Gods to the screen has been assembled like the master criminals in a caper movie: I'm relieved and confident that my baby is in good hands. Now we finally move to the exciting business that fans have been doing for the last dozen years: casting our Shadow, our Wednesday, our Laura..." If you want to be involved in that, hit the Twitters and tweet your suggestions for the main role in particular to @AmericanGodsSTZ and @STARZ_Channel using the hashtag #CastingShadow.