Follow TV Tropes
At the end of season 1, Mr Wednesday brandishes a newly forged sword, and fires the first big shot of the war between the old gods and the new by convincing the ancient god Eostre to roll back Spring and plunge the world into a barren land. "Shit has finally hit the fan!" the show bellowed proudly to the viewer "Watch season 2!".
The first thing the much anticipated season 2 does is clumsily brush all the shit back off of the fan and put it in a box, retconning every major event from the Season 1 finale. The World is no longer barren, and the show hopes you don't notice. Also the character Media has disappeared from the plot, not for any reason other than Gillian Anderson's lack of availability. Also, Odin's new super sword has inexplicably disappeared from the plot, with no any reference to its absence, and Odin now says he desperately needs a magic spear reforging before we the audience have permission to see any action. Welcome back to the waiting game.
By the end of Season 2, and we are nowhere near closer to resolving the story. If anything, it ends how it starts: That super spear Odin needs? It takes three episodes to sort that shit out, only for the spear to immediately become irrelevant again. Thanks for nothing! Likewise, the New Gods seem content to passively hang around a 1970s themed bunker, swapping speeches about how things are definitely about to explode, any second now, any moment now, just keep watching the show, keep watching the show! Media has been replaced by New Media - a funky amalgamation of internet culture, emoticons, and hentai porn - and again, she spends the entire show not doing anything of interest.
No one is doing anything! Even the B plot involving Laura Moon exists purely to kick the can further down the road. By the end of Season One she was a putrid corpse. By the end of season 2, she has been magically revitalised just so that she can go back to rotting away again later. We get one brief high-point in which one episode depicts the fate of Thor during the 1930s, but the rest is an utterly meaningless bit of television. I'd heard about the troubled production, but was there also another writer's strike going on I was not aware of?
The worst part is that I've read the book between seasons, so I know what's still left to come; the slowest, most boring part of the book in which our protagonist, Shadow Moon, dicks around a frozen sleepy town for god knows how long. My only hope is that the series doesn't make it that far and gets cancelled. I'm really annoyed with how American Gods has turned out; it went from a promising, surrealist spectacle, to a show with little to say and even less intention to get on with telling a story. It's premise of ancient huckster gods fighting it out in modern America is completely squandered for the sake of simply spinning out more episodes. I'm not sure I need any more.
American Gods is a psychedelic, urban fantasy series about an ex-con, Shadow Moon, who gets a job as a body guard working for Mr. Wednesday, a mystery man who is recruiting Gods for some sort of war. The show goes out of its way to obfuscate a lot of its specifics behind stylish sequences and vague, portentous dialogue, but it becomes pretty clear to the viewer early on what is actually going on, and most people with a passing familiarity with Old World pantheons will figure out who Wednesday is in no time at all.
It is a fairly simple story to grasp, but the show isn’t all that interested in getting on with it. Much of the running time is devoted to showing off the various Gods who have turned up in America, some of them only having an incidental role in the main plot. This is actually my favourite parts of the show, with us being shown some colourful entity who ends up tied to some modern day political issue, whether its Mexican immigrants crossing the Rio Grande, or a town of cultish gun nuts, or a Jinn taxi-driver who helps an Arab salesman come to terms with his sexuality and place in America. Each situation strives to show you something you've never seen before, and it mostly succeeds.
The gods are all charismatic creatures, but Ian Mc Shane’s Wednesday leads the pack, to the point that I find myself missing him the moment he is off-screen. There is also a developing side plot based around the death of Shadow Moon’s deeply flawed and directionless wife, Laura. Her contribution turns into a comedy/body horror road trip that counterpoints Wednesday’s more heady, ethereal scenes.
There is a lot to like about this show, with its fun characters, stark imagery and engaging fantasy plot. If I have one major criticism, it would be that the show is blatantly drawn out to permit a second season. By the end of the season I finale, the big reveals only reiterate the things we have already been shown or figured out for ourselves, and none of the plots are close to being resolved. It feels less like a finale and more like an act I summary to an unfinished play. I'll be damned if I have to wait this long to see it resolved, I'm buying the book.
Community Showcase More