And then there was American Gods episode 2

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I am not sure what you all thought of that episode, but I found it not to be any worse than E1, but it wasn’t better. I could sit here and complain again about the heavy handed dialogue. I could talk about the absolute bullshit that was the torture scene with Shadow… But, instead, I wanted to talk about the reason I think it’s not working, overall.

Much like the Titans in Greek mythology, the old Gods in Gaiman’s masterpiece are fighting against a turning of the tide… a feeling of uselessness, that they are not needed. To that end, personally, I think one of the most amazing parts of the book is that it is such a time capsule of 2001. We were a different society then… on the brink of the use of the Internet in a way that is standardized now, but, was novel and new then. We forget that sometimes, that our new God (technology) was a burgeoning being in 2001. There is a quote from Technical Boy in the novel where he says to tell Mr. Wednesday, “Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam.” Gaiman predicted very much what Technical Boy alludes to here, that we moved from masses, mosques and synagogues to chat rooms, then to smart phones and into the hallowed halls of the apps we can download, live in and live through.

That is where I think the show often falls flat, the fact that it is not set back then… that it is not in the world of 2001, the world of the source material. I think it would resonant better. Of course, that wouldn’t solve the awful problems with the show runners really not understanding what to do with what they have or what they would intend to do.

I do think some of the updates for the world of today (like Technical Boy moving from adolescence into a Silicone Valley type for example) work, but I just think removing the source material from the time that made it valid, made it important, poignant was a mistake we are still paying for as viewers.

Perhaps that is why HBO passed on the series back in 2014. They admitted that after three writers they just couldn’t seem to make it work. I get that. I think we are seeing that. And I think it lets us know that sometimes no matter how great the source material, some books are just not made to be adapted to a different forum. Thus, maybe Starz isn’t the problem… perhaps this is just one of those shows that wasn’t meant to be, in any form.

There was a quote this week that I think sums this all up. “Magic takes years for most people.” Unfortunately for us, the viewers, those years may not amount to any magic, no matter how much time passes. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

Until episode 3…

-Ash Schlafly

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