If you’re having trouble reading this story, it’s because I’m trying to make you jump for joy with me, so just politely nudge me over to the next person. Starz has proven its eternal worth by announcing a script to series order for Neil Gaiman's masterful 2001 novel American Gods, with none other than Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller penning the script, and Michael Green (Green Lantern, Kings) serving as showrunner. While this isn’t definitive news that American Gods will become a series, as the script has to be approved before the series order is placed, Starz sill just became my new favorite network.
Gaiman will executive produce the pilot, along with Green, Fuller and the lesser-known FremantleMedia North America, who surprisingly got together with Gaiman earlier this year to give the series a go. American Gods fans know to still be wary, as
Luckily, Fuller and Green are much more tuned into TV rather than cinema, so they’re more equipped to take this on. Fuller especially, who successfully jumped from Star Trek: Voyager to creating quirky cult dramedies like Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me. Somewhat more impressively, he then brushed off a failed Munsters pilot to give audiences Hannibal, a series that is as horrifically enjoyable as it is ostensibly faithful to Thomas Harris’ characters. But Hannibal goes back before Harris' written words, and American Gods should get a more straightforward approach. In as much as an epic battle between the elder gods and the modern gods can possibly be straightforward.
American Gods, which I’ve no doubt will become required reading in future decades, follows an ex-con named Shadow Moon, who is newly alone in the world once being released from prison. He takes a job as a bodyguard for a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday and is introduced to a world of mythological characters and metaphorical ideas whose influences on society are weakening thanks to the modern gods that people now cling to, such as TV, the stock market and conspiratorial Men in Black. Once all the forces have been gathered together, suffice to say it doesn’t all end at a roundtable with everyone shaking hands and passing around steins of beer.
Nobody delivers darkly comedic and intricately apocalyptic fiction like Neil Gaiman, who naturally gave some of the most rewarding remarks ever to hit a press release.
“When you create something like American Gods, which attracts fans and obsessives and people who tattoo quotes from it on themselves or each other, and who all, tattooed or not, just care about it deeply, it's really important to pick your team carefully: you don't want to let the fans down, or the people who care and have been casting it online since the dawn of recorded history. What I love most about the team, who I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that American Gods has attracted since the start. I haven't actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them.”
That guy, am I right?
Starz is kind of the perfect place for American Gods to wind up, given the production design that goes into their big, bold dramas like Spartacus and Black Sails. First, though, it has to actually get to that series stage, and if there is anyone who can create the perfect American Gods pilot script, it’s Fuller. Don’t piss us off, Starz, as we all know the real god of television is a happy audience.