I’ll admit that I didn’t read American Gods until last year. Whenever I looked for book recommendations, Neil Gaiman’s name would pop up. But for some reason I never read his work. I’m not sure why. On a chance I read one of his essays online. It’s easy to sum up as captivating. So I went ahead and bought the novel.
The novel was hard to put down. It followed a man’s road trip across the states that was more business than pleasure – okay, it was all business. If I were to compare the premise to a TV show (which I’m doing now) it’d be Supernatural. There’s a lot of traveling and a lot of supernatural encounters. The only thing essentially missing is the family business. And a brother.
I just had to make the comparison. Supernatural creator Eric Kripke said Gaiman’s American Gods (and Sandman) were influences for his show.
Since I’m a huge Supernatural fan, it was only natural that I’d like the premise.
I swear I’ll stop those puns.
Really, the novel is incredible. It doesn’t hurt that Gaiman’s writing style isn’t verbose. It’s snappy and it easily pulls you into the story.
For a while now Gaiman and HBO were developing a TV adaptation for American Gods. My interest was piqued. It could make a good series. HBO has good faith for another adaptation in Game of Thrones. They work closely with the author. It was clear that things were heading in the same direction for Gaiman’s novel; he was involved. But unfortunately it didn’t reach fruition.
HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo spoke frankly with Vulture:
“I think we’re all huge fans of the book, and I think the script just didn’t — we couldn’t craft the script as good as we needed it to be. I think we knew going in that it would be a challenge; every good book is a challenge to adapt it and find the level you need for it. The bar is high now for great dramas. And to find that bar — we tried. So it was a huge disappointment[…] We tried three different writers, we put a lot of effort into it. Some things just don’t happen. We have to trust at the end of the day, if you don’t have a star with a great script, you’re just not going to go through with it.”
It’s disappointing but I prefer that happening instead of going through with something they don’t believe in.
Scarily enough, it’s now being developed by FremantleMedia, whose most notable shows are American Idol and America’s Got Talent. Peculiar.
Hopefully – and I hope so, so much – they have Gaiman as the showrunner. Or someone who really knows what they’re doing. Then finding the right audience.
The story has a slow build. It’s more about the interactions between characters and how they affect each other. Not to mention, how each god’s religion is in play.
Now I’m wishing HBO would try again.