Arguably the headiest show on television in 2017 has been Starz's American Gods, which interweaves a timelessly relatable narrative with the booming personalities of mythological gods. Perhaps this ceaselessly unique drama's headiness isn't surprising, since its source material was created in the ceaselessly unique brain of author Neil Gaiman. Watch the brilliant storyteller discuss the historical seedlings behind the epic novel's concept in this exclusive clip from American Gods' Season 1 Blu-ray and DVD, which comes out on October 17. (It's out on Digital HD on October 6!)
In some ways, it's strange that American Gods was originally published in 2001, with all of Neil Gaiman's idealogical clashes and impending war scenarios being conceived before 9/11 came and changed the United States in a dramatic way. Of course, the story Gaiman tells is not exactly one of the real world -- although we do have suspicions that Ian McShane actually could be Odin -- and its metaphors go far beyond modern conflicts and sensibilities. If the gods of elder civilizations were brought into present-day existence, it probably wouldn't be as cool as either Gaiman's original tale, or the touched-up version that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green crafted for Starz.
Something that does seem fitting is that Neil Gaiman first broke American Gods' central story open to others via email, as opposed to a written letter or a phone call or in-person meeting. We're pretty sure Technical Boy wouldn't have allowed it to happen any other way. It was also a nice (if maybe unintentional) touch for him to say that part when the visuals are showing physical writing taking place.
Plus, don't you just love a lovingly crafted behind-the-scenes feature like this? I mean, one should expect nothing less when it comes to Neil Gaiman, whose imagination is considered royalty in the world of fiction. One could not and should not be made to watch the author in a talking-head interview interspersed with low-grade B-roll goofs from the set. I'm sure it's happened, but let's celebrate a Blu-ray features taking a moment to focus on a quill pen slowly being dipped in ink, and Neil Gaiman looking at a model ship.
Even though there are lots of TV shows that are based on books, American Gods is on another level than most, because of all the complexities, specificities and fantastical elements involved. (Easily in the same conversation as Game of Thrones, but Gods is still far more nuanced in the curiosities department.) And Neil Gaiman has been a big part of partially reinterpreting some of the story to give Bryan Fuller and Michael Green a pathway to extending the tale into future seasons. How many other novel-based TV shows can seamlessly insert a novel-centric scene like this into an episode?
Anyone who watched American Gods during its initial run on Starz is likely anxious to get into some binge-rewatching, as expanded upon by the extra information that home entertainment releases offer. Season 1 hits Digital HD on Friday, October 6, and it'll be out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, October 17. There are lots of equally classy extras on this set, too, with the premiere getting two different commentary tracks, one from the creators and director David Slade, and one from Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle; the finale also boasts a cast-heavy commentary. As well, there are two docu-features -- "The Road to American Gods" and "The God Squad Video," -- and a half-dozen different featurettes that showcase all the New Gods and Old Gods and more, topped off with a fun "Book vs. Show" extra.
To see what other shows are coming to Starz and beyond, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.