As someone who hasn't read the novel by Neil Gaiman, aside from knowing the summarized version of the plot and small vague details, I went into this show completely blind. But I know that even before the show premiered many fans of the book were pleased with not only who was going to be producing the show but also the casting announcements, so I knew that this was going to be something good.
And I was not disappointed.
First, the show is beyond gorgeous, which is obvious when you watch the opening credit sequence, but the rest of the show is absolutely stunning with the cinematography and imagery. Then again, anyone who knows Bryan Fuller's work knows that this is definitely his wheelhouse in creating some visual feasts for the audience, and American Gods is certainly no exception to this. But it's not just with how masterful the cinematography is, the writing on the show is just as beautiful. From the dialogue spoken to how complex these characters are (from the adorably likable and relateable Shadow Moon to the unlikable and deplorable Laura Moon, which the latter is incredibly well-done since it's incredibly rare for unlikable women characters to be so well-written and performed as such), it's been a real treat to see the story unfold in the first season, which only has eight episodes. Every character is a complete character in their own right, the strong performances given by the actors are top-notch, and the chemistry between everyone is absolutely magnificent. All these elements mixed together make for a wonderful viewing experience.
The only downside to the show I found would probably be the awkward pacing in places. This is most likely due to spending a lot of time with the dialogue or monologues with certain characters which, while well-written and seemingly important to explore these complex individuals, can definitely slow an episode down. I don't mind it so much, but it might not be for everyone.
And although I haven't read the book, I know that the show does expand more that the book doesn't. Such as the backstory of Laura Moon and her, Mad Sweeney and Salim going on a road trip together since apparently none of those characters met in the book. I really appreciate it when adaptations, especially television adaptations, get the chance to explore more in that sense.
The show was already renewed for a second season before it even premiered, so here's what I'm hoping for next season:
01. I'm fascinated with Bilquis and I want more episodes focusing on her.
02. I want Salim to find the Jinn and they live happily ever after, okay?
03. Gillian Anderson to just continue to be fabulous. Her as Media was the best casting decision. I mean, all of the casting decisions on this show is brilliant, but honestly having Gillian become famous individuals like Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie is something else entirely and I just want more of seeing her doing that, please.
04. More Laura Moon and Mad Sweeney. Their interactions this season was off the charts, the bitter bantering and them just being assholes, it was fantastic. I do want more of that next season. But also on that note, I also want more interaction between Shadow and Mad Sweeney as well.
Overall: American Gods was a show I knew I would like, and not just because it is produced by Bryan Fuller. I'm fascinated by the story, a war between the old gods and the new gods, especially in America where gods aren't necessarily all welcome. The show does a wonderful job with incorporating what I believe is from the book and adding something else to it, as well. Ricky Whittle is marvelous as Shadow Moon, I'm very happy that he's on a better show than his previous one. And just everyone involved with this show is amazing, and I honestly cannot wait to see what comes next. I mentioned to not having read the book, though I do know some things, but regardless I know the show is going to bring something new to the table on unfolding the story and that is something I am highly anticipating.