American Gods (S01E01) “The Bone Orchard”

After months of hype and build up, “American Gods” finally arrived. This is one of those series where the trailers are very different from the actual show. What sets the show apart from the trailers is the cinematography. The show has wonderfully magical camera work.  Darren Tierman, Jo Williams, and Aaron Morton are simply brilliant. It’s really something you have to see for yourself to truly appreciate. The main characters’ eyes all have a wonderful shine to them. Also take note of the music and symbols throughout the series. Both are very important…the music often setting a scene for us. The symbols add to the dream-like tone of Shadow’s thoughts.

Based on the Neil Gaiman book, the series is brought to life by Michael Green and Bryan Fuller. They, along with Neil Gaiman and Robert Richardson, have also written the eight episodes. Pair that with a wonderful cast and you’ve got another Starz hit and one which will probably garner some award nominations. 

In “The Bone Orchard,” we are introduced to Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), who is let out of prison a few days early to attend his wife’s funeral. Before he leaves prison, we meet Low Key Lyesmith (Jonathan Tucker). I mention Low Key because of his laugh. Tucker may have only been in one episode, but he gave us pure gold. Maybe he’ll pop up later…with Low Key, you never know.

Shadow is our human anti-hero, the man on whose humanity’s hopes rest. He’s enlisted, very grudgingly, into Mr. Wednesday’s (Ian McShane) employ. While on the challenging way to the funeral,  as Shadow stops for a bite, we meet Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber). Sweeney oozes gold from every pore and orifice.  He’s too tall for a leprechaun (which he is), but a helluva fighter.  Shadow gets beat to hell and back in this episode. 

We also get treated to Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), who’s as beautiful as she is ravenous. The true definition of a man-eater. Bilquis is She Who Must Be Worshipped.

After the funeral, Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) pops up (and the effects are amazing). He wants info on Wednesday, but poor Shadow doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on. So, let’s kill Shadow. Technical Boy has his faceless goons beat the hell out of Shadow, then hang him from a nearby tree. Some “thing”  breaks the rope and literally rips apart the goons, saving Shadow. We’re left wondering who or what has saved our dear Shadow.

“American Gods” give us a stylized, powerful show. The hard work has fully paid off. This is a beautiful, if brutal and gory, story told well and with love. The cast is fully invested and shows it. This is a series that the more you watch it, the more things you’ll pick up on. 

“American Gods” has given us our new religion. Believe.