We Love “American Gods” and So Should You

This week we want to introduce you to one of our new favorite TV series. American Gods is coming to Starz starting next week. If you have already read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or even if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. The book and series follows the life of ex-con Shadow Moon (played by British actor Ricky Whittle) after he is released from prison and begins working as a bodyguard for a mysterious man called Mr. Wednesday. Together they begin a fantastic journey in an attempt to join the Old Gods in a fight against the New Gods.

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is an iconic English-born author, screenwriter and comic book creator. He’s also created short novels as well as a comic book series. He is the recipient of a Hugo award, Nebula award, Bram Stoker award, and others. His works are generally in the genres of dark fantasy, science fiction, and horror, with plenty of crossover. His impressive body of work includes fantasy novels “Anansi Boys,” “Neverwhere,” “The Graveyard Book,” “Stardust” and “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” as well as numerous short stories and collections, the most recent is the best-seller “Norse Mythology.”

As a young boy, Gaiman was drawn to stories that included fantasy and dark plots. He first started writing short novels and became interested in comic book series. His comic series The Sandman is a masterpiece that displays much of Gaiman’s shadowy and mysterious persona. Most of his work is deep, dark, and mysterious and reaches readers on multiple levels. He’s written tons of interesting things, picking up fans along the way.

Neil Gaiman with Michael Green and Bryan Fuller on the set (Image via Screenrant.com)

The Book

The book American Gods is an award-winning fantasy novel first published in 2001. It received the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2002. The same year it also won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Bram Stoker awards for best novel. The story follows the strange and dark life of Shadow Moon. Shadow Moon is released from prison early because his wife has just died suddenly in a car accident. Shadow, a quiet man, meets up with Mr. Wednesday and agrees to be his bodyguard.

In this world, Gods exist because people believe in them. The Old Gods are being replaced by new gods, who represent people’s current fascination with technology, drugs, media, and celebrity, among other things. Together, Shadow Moon and Mr. Wednesday begin a strange and complicated journey across America in an attempt to rally the Old Gods to fight the new ones.

The story is compelling and dark, creating a world that is at once sinister and interesting. The book was written after the successful comic book series The Sandman and includes some of the same themes and images. The book has been described as more of an odyssey than a novel. It includes many subplots, which may be extremely interesting in the Starz series. There is much to ponder in this deep series.

The Starz Series

Starz has produced the American Gods series for television. The series was developed by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, who wrote the first episode of the television series. Neil Gaiman is one of the executive producers of the show. The first season consists of eight episodes. The series is in high demand from online followers.

According to Gaiman, the series will “contain some new elements and details” but will still stick closely to the first chapters of the book. Developer Fuller says the series will expand the point of view to go above and beyond Shadow and Wednesday. He also confirmed that Gaiman is very involved in the production efforts. This is sure to make fans extremely confident that the series will be all they expect.

The Cast

It looks like American Gods has an amazing cast! Shadow Moon will be played by English actor Ricky Whittle and he looks just as we might picture him after reading the book. Con-man is being portrayed by Ian McShane. Pablo Schreiber is playing Mad Sweeney. Technical Boy is Bruce Langley, and Bilquis is played by Yetide Badaki. Shadow Moon’s wife, Laura Moon, played by Emily Browning. Gillian Anderson plays Media while Peter Stormare will portray the “God of Evil”, Czenobog and Kristin Chenoweth is charismatic goddess Easter.

Image via CBR.com

It is interesting to note that Ricky Whittle was overwhelmingly the first choice to play the lead role by online fans of the book. This crusade was instrumental in him actually getting the part. Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday is sheer genius and the two together are certain to be fascinating on screen. In fact, each character is expertly portrayed to represent their own specific qualities and how they relate to the entire story.

The Success

American Gods is already being compared to Game of Thrones, which has been amazingly successful. Even as Gaiman was writing American Gods he was thinking about a sequel. In 2011 he announced that he is indeed writing direct sequel which will probably focus more attention on the New Gods. The book has not yet been completed or released, but it will likely be immediately considered for an American Gods 2 TV series sequel.

American Gods has a strong following on social media. In fact, this following very likely contributed to the strong demand for a TV series. With so many online followers and interest in the book, it’s no doubt that it will be a big success. It was already highly rated after numerous releases at film festivals.

Promotion

American Gods already has a cult following. The amazing online coverage and promotion is creating a buzz about the series. Gaiman gathered a huge following from the very inception of the book. He had an online blog updating readers on the progress of American Gods. He has a very strong fan base because of his crossover from comics and graphic novels.

Most recently, character promo posters have been making their appearances thanks to a Starz promotion. Each poster portrays one character, displaying their personality and spirit in a unique way. They are being released separately and each one is unique and interesting. There’s also an audio full cast audio-book so you can immerse yourself in American Gods to get the full effect.

Starz has capitalized on an already big fan following with smart content marketing. Starz has promoted the series in other ways as well. Featurettes have been released that give people a glance into the show. These promos have been viewed by millions, and are a fun way to get people hooked on the show even before the first episode has aired.

Online marketing also includes promo banners that are raising interest. It certainly pays to know your audience! Gaiman already had a lot of followers from his comic book series and from other works. Because of its comparison to Game of Thrones, many people are waiting for American Gods. With so much appeal and interest from so many different readers and viewers, online marketing could be targeted more easily to these groups.

 

 

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Geek

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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