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TV Review: American Gods S1E1 The Bone Orchard

Neil Gaiman‘s long awaited adaptation of his novel American Gods has finally hit the small screen. As a fan of the book I can attest that the opening episode was very faithful to the book and I am excited to see the rest of the season. Without giving too much away, American Gods is a story about the globalized confrontation of new and older Gods, played out by virtue of American Immigration from a myriad of cultures. The main protagonist Shadow Moon gets sucked into the ensuing conflict, facing a number of surprises along the journey after being released from prison and finding himself in the employ of the Mysterious  Wednesday.

After the first episode, I really must make a note to commend the choice of casting. The actor and actresses chosen to depict their characters do so flawlessly,  carrying their authenticity and voice without a hitch. The taciturn Shadow Moon, is deep and complex, and very brooding, while Wednesday, shows off his knack for charm, and divine metaphor but without giving up too much about his plans and designs at the beginning.

As first impressions go you’ll find an interesting parallel between the current economic climate that we all face, and the what appears to be the current state of the divinities introduced in episode one. The Gods or otherworldly entities featured are Bilquis, Mad Sweeney, and Wednesday. (Odin for those who needed the hint) they come off as vagabonds, or vagrants at worst. Mere shadows of their former selves. As Bilquis admits to a man who solicits her “I’m not what I once was.” interestingly she is initially demure and shocked by his affections…a disposition in stark contrast to her confidence after “consuming” him.  Here we have deities seemingly sustained by very different types of worship. (Sex, fisticuffs, and eye-gouging)  But like our current marketplace the quest for hearts and minds (and worship) is a fickle one. There is that pesky reality of competitors.  Near the end, we are hinted at an emerging conflict between the old and new guard. When the mystical “Technical Boy”  kidnaps and queries Shadow about his mysterious new Liaison. Although this young upstarts denigrates and belittles the old Wednesday, and threatens to “delete” Shadow for his stubbornness, his bluster belies his fear, which is warranted given a very bloody intervention that saves Shadow. The likes of which was portrayed in a scene that has not rattled me since that Blood-flood elevator scene in The Shining.

To say American Gods is cinematically vivid as it is alluring and mysterious is an understatement. Shadow’s dream sequences anchor his mysterious ties this weird world he has found him in. The sequences are also very faithful to the descriptions in the book. Something that I always appreciate. It feels like a modern or futuristic homage to Alice in Wonderland. On a whole, American Gods is a story about survival. Survival and confrontation in an uncertain land told through a supernatural and mythic frame. Something we can all relate to on some level. If you find the tides of favor have shifted against you in any aspect of life, Bilquis’ words should resonate with you.  If you find yourself questioning the value of that liberal arts degree, in a bloated  employment marketplace then you understand the plight of the “old guard.”  If you’ve been scorned because your age and lack of so called “experience”  have eclipsed the genuine merit of your innovation and ambition then technical boy’s reaction will make perfect sense to you.

Fans of Americana served with a slice of mythopunk, definitely check the series out you won’t be disappointed, whether you read the book or didn’t. This series is a solid offering people will be discussing and debating for some time. The story is an intergenerational and intercultural morality play that is faithfully depicted. I cannot wait for episode two.  The characters are ironically so human but the same time, the story told provides a subtle emphasis on the power and consequence of human belief, worship and attention.

Overall: 9.5

Final Thoughts: The opening scene I believe was an addition to the series not included in the book. It anchors one of cultural mythological roots of one of the main deities and it was a very awesome scene, very Game of Thrones-esque. It also anchors the sub-theme of immigration and encounter among Gods and ideas.

SDCC 2016: The Ash vs Evil Dead Banned Trailer

Ash vs Evil DeadSTARZ released a new Ash vs Evil Dead red band trailer that was deemed too gory for San Diego Comic-Con International. STARZ also revealed a never before seen poster for the series created especially for Comic-Con International. The poster will be available at the Ash vs Evil Dead cabin in Petco Park Interactive Zone to be signed by cast members and executive producers on the series.

WHEN:

“Ash vs Evil Dead” Autograph Session

Saturday, July 23rd at 2:00 PM – “Ash vs Evil Dead” Cabin at Petco Park Interactive Zone

“Ash vs Evil Dead” San Diego Comic-Con Panel

Saturday, July 23rd at 6:45 PM – Room 6A in the San Diego Convention Center

“Ash vs Evil Dead” World Premiere Screening of Season Two Premiere

Saturday, July 23rd at 10:00 PM – Room 6DE in the San Diego Convention Center

 

Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2 Gets a New Trailer

STARZ has released a new teaser trailer and photo today for the highly anticipated 10-episode second season of Ash vs Evil Dead produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, Ivan Raimi, and Craig DiGregorio who serves as executive producer and showrunner.

The second season roars back into action with Ash leaving his beloved Jacksonville and returning to his hometown of Elk Grove. There, he confronts Ruby. The former enemies have to form an uneasy alliance as Elk Grove soon becomes the nucleus of evil.

The cast is led by Bruce Campbell in the role of Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless as Ruby, who now possesses the powerful Necronomicon; Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick dealing with the trauma he suffered in the cabin; and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell, who, grief-stricken after the death of her parents, plots revenge against The Evil Dead.

As previously announced, Lee Majors, Ted Raimi, and Michelle Hurd join the cast this season as Brock Williams, Ash’s father, Chet Kaminski, Ash’s childhood best friend, and Linda, Ash’s high school love respectively.

Bruce Campbell Gets Political to Correct the Record

2016-06-08_1316Charismatic actor, author and now…fact checker, Bruce Campbell, star of the hit STARZ Original series “Ash vs Evil Dead,”  is setting the record straight on a photo that has been circulating falsely on conservative websites. Originally the photo posted to the left and in the Tweet below had been identified as a Trump supporter that was injured after meeting with liberal protesters.

In actuality, this is a photo of actress Samara Weaving in a make-up test for Ash vs Evil Dead.  Weaving guest starred on the final episodes of the first season of the hit series and had originally posted the photo to her Instagram and Twitter account on January 4, 2016.

American Gods Begins Production

American Gods Season 1 2017Starz and FremantleMedia North America began production this week on the 10-episode first season of American Gods, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel. Shooting has commenced in Toronto, Canada and will continue in additional locations across America.

Joining the previously announced cast are Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya, Peter Stormare as Czernobog, Chris Obi as Anubis, and Mousa Kraish as The Jinn.

The cast includes Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon, Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, Emily Browning as Laura Moon, Sean Harris as Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, Crispin Glover as Mr World, and Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith.

American Gods Season 1 2017Leachman plays Zorya Vechernyaya, the eldest of three sisters who watch over the constellations, guarding against horrors forgotten by modern man. Once accustomed to royal status, the sisters have learned to survive on far less in a country that has no memory of them.

Stormare plays Czernobog. A Slavic god of darkness and evil, Czernobog is reluctant to join the coming war, wary of Wednesday’s motivations.

Obi plays Anubis, the commanding ancient Egyptian god of the dead, gently guiding mortals through the judgment of their souls.

Kraish will play The Jinn, a mythical creature of the fire who understands a person’s deepest desires better than they do. He fears for his safety with the coming war, and considers fleeing America.

American Gods has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.

A Look at Ash vs Evil Dead Season Two

Ash vs Evil Dead Season 2 2016Retirement from killing Deadites never looked as good as depicted in the first photo released from the set of the STARZ Original series Ash vs Evil Dead. The new image gives viewers a peek into the shenanigans Ash has been up to in Jacksonville. Production began last month in New Zealand on the 10-episode second season of the half-hour series executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, Ivan Raimi, and Craig DiGregorio who serves as executive producer and showrunner.

The cast is led by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) in the role of Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus”) as Ruby, who now possesses the powerful Necronomicon; Ray Santiago (“Touch,” Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick dealing with the trauma he suffered in the cabin; and Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell, who, grief-stricken after the death of her parents, plots revenge against The Evil Dead.

As previously announced, Lee Majors, Ted Raimi and Michele Hurd join the series this year as Brock Williams, Ash’s father, Chet Kaminski, Ash’s childhood best friend, and Linda, Ash’s high school love respectively.

American Gods Adds Three Regulars

Sean HarrisStarz and FremantleMedia North America announced today that Sean Harris has been cast as Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki as Bilquis and Bruce Langley as Technical Boy in the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods. The series begins shooting next month.

Harris plays Mad Sweeney, a down on his luck leprechaun, who is having a hard time understanding how he lost his charm and way.  Always up for a good fight, Sweeney is never deprived while in the employment of Mr. Wednesday.

Badaki plays Bilquis, an ancient goddess of love who craves the worship she inspired in eras long gone, and who is eager to find that same relevance in today’s world.

Langley will play Technical Boy, a New God who is purveyor of all things technology. Desperate to prove himself, and hungry for respect and power, he struggles to keep his impulsivity and petulance in check, making him dangerously unpredictable.

Sean Harris is an English actor who trained at the Drama Centre in London.  His television credits include Showtime’s “The Borgias” and the Channel 4 miniseries “Southcliffe,” for which he won the British Academy of Television Award (BAFTA) for Best Actor in 2014. As a film actor, Harris is best known for his roles in Prometheus and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Harris has also received two Best Supporting Actor nominations from the British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for his roles in Macbeth and ’71.

Yetide BadakiNigerian born actress Badaki grew up in England and the United States, and has been working in the theater. She recently guest starred on the Showtime series “Masters of Sex” and appeared in the Sony Crackle series “Sequestered” with Jesse Bradford and Summer Glau.  Additional credits include guest starring roles on the NBC series “Aquarius,”  “NCIS New Orleans” and “Criminal Minds.”

Newcomer Bruce Langley is a young actor with an extensive background in physical, naturalistic and improvised performance. Langley graduated with a First class Masters in Physical Actor Training and Performance in 2014 from the University of Kent. His theater credits include Faith Drama’s production of The Den and The Brockley Jack’s Rock Paper Scissors, as well as the independent film Deadly Waters. “American Gods” is his first television role.

Bruce LangleyAmerican Gods has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.

American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are writers and showrunners. David Slade is directing the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman. Senior Vice Presidents of Original Programming Marta Fernandez and Ken Segna are the Starz executives in charge of American Gods. Starz retains all network pay TV and SVOD rights to the project. FremantleMedia is distributing the series worldwide.

Emily Browning Cast as Laura Moon in American Gods

Emily BrowningStarz and FremantleMedia North America have announced that Emily Browning has been cast as Laura Moon, in the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods. The series will begin shooting in April.

Browning joins Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle who were recently announced to play Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon, respectively, in American Gods. As Laura Moon, Browning plays Shadow Moon’s wife, who has been preparing for her husband’s pending prison release. Little does she know that she will go on an unexpected journey that leads her to an epiphany about her relationship and affords her a second chance to get things right.

A native of Australia, Browning first received international recognition when she was cast as Violet Baudelaire in the 2004 film adaptation of the popular children’s book series, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.”  She received a 2005 Critics Choice Award nomination for “Best Young Actress” from the Broadcast Film Critics Association on behalf of her performance, as well as a 2005 “Best Actress” Award by the Australian Film Institute. She was honored with the “Breakthrough Performer” award at the 2011 Hamptons International Film Festival and received a “Best Actress in a Leading Role” nomination by the Film Critics Circle of Australia, as well as the Australian Film Critics Association for her work in Julia Leigh’s 2011 art-house film “Sleeping Beauty.”  Additional film credits include “God Help the Girl,” Legend” opposite Tom Hardy “Ghost Ship,” “Ned Kelly,” “The Uninvited,” “Stranded,” “Sucker Punch,” “Magic Magic.” “The Host,” “Summer in February,” “Plush” and “Pompeii.”

American Gods has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.

Ian McShane Cast in Starz’s American Gods

Premiere Of Paramount Pictures' "Hercules" - ArrivalsStarz and FremantleMedia North America has announced that Ian McShane has been cast as Mr. Wednesday in the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods. The series will begin shooting in April.

Playing Mr. Wednesday, McShane joins Ricky Whittle, who was recently announced to play Shadow Moon in American Gods.  Mr. Wednesday is a crafty and endlessly charismatic con man, full of perverse wisdom, curious magic, and grand plans. He hires ex-con Shadow Moon to be his bodyguard as he journeys across America, using his charms to recruit others like him as he prepares for the ultimate battle for power.

Acclaimed British actor McShane catapulted to American TV stardom by playing the ruthless frontier kingpin Al Swearengen on Deadwood, for which he was nominated for both Emmy and SAG Awards and won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama and the Television Critics Award for Individual Performance.  He also starred in Starz’ The Pillars of the Earth, for which he received a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor in a Mini Series.  Across film, he is best known for his portrayal as ‘Blackbeard” in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and as “Teddy Bass” Sexy Beast. Other television appearances have included Ray Donovan, American Horror Story, and Lovejoy. This year he will appear in Game of Thrones and Dr. Thorne and can be seen in the upcoming films John Wick: Chapter 2, The Hollow Point and Bolden.  McShane is also an accomplished and award-winning stage actor appearing in productions on Broadway, in the West End and Los Angeles throughout his career.

American Gods been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.

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