American Gods

A recently released ex-convict named Shadow meets a mysterious man who calls himself "Wednesday" and who knows more than he first seems to about Shadow's life and past.

Season 1

Roy

This show is surreal. I don't know what is happening but it is quite gory. Give me more.

7.5/10

Tommy

This show this far reminds a little bit of Kill Bill. It can be quite brutal with its violence but there's almost a comical amount of blood that it undercuts it just slightly. I think it works with the shows scenario and tone with literal gods manifesting themselves in the real world. The episode grounds you with the fish out of water character being more or less manipulated into joining this new stage, It's intriguing seeing all of these gods and getting a glimpse of not only their power, but what they are up to in the world. There's plenty of really cool cinematography to see a nice bar fight and the ending of the episode is quite striking and a very nice cliffhanger to draw you into the second episode.

8/10

Matt

I have no idea what's going on and it’s wonderful. Because what will keep your ass in the chair for this show is the characters particularly the amazing and charismatic performance by Ian McShane. I love this guy and I think he should be on our screens a lot more then his is. This first episode does a great job of blending the surreal with a near linear storyline which is why they must have picked Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) to show run this series. His ability to craft graphic violence and gore into something shocking and beautiful makes him the perfect choice to bring this strange world to life.

7/10

Episode Score

75

Roy

When I said “give me more” I didn’t mean of the exact same stuff I already saw. Episode 2 was much too similar to episode 1. Nothing has really happened still. We got introduced to some more gods which is great. They seem like interesting characters but Shadow Moon, who is the lense through which we are experiencing this world, seems as dumb as his name. If he continues to disappoint me I don’t think I will enjoy this show despite how interesting everything else is. The opening monologue on the slave ship was rather fantastic. There are many fascinating close up shots of stuff like a spoon being stirred in a cup of coffee. American Gods doesn’t look like many other shows which is in its favour. I just can’t empathise with Shadow Moon though. Maybe he will die next episode and we can get on with it.

5.3/10

Matt

It’s clear that we are still in the introductory phase of the series and you do have to wonder whether this is a good thing or not at the two hour mark. However wonderful performances continue to be forthcoming from this series so far and I feel that it’s enough to keep me invested in the series. The tension playing out towards the end of the series is also very entertaining especially with shadows fish out of water scenario playing out in the company of gods.

7/10

Tommy

I’m finding it hard to write about this episode as it kind of is the first episode again but Shadow finishes his grieving process and is more inclined to learn and integrate himself into the world of the gods. Like we get glimpses into the power and look of more gods. They reinforce the idea of this rift between the gods and we follow Shadow and Mr Wednesday as they meet more gods. There is a fairly tense scene at the end involving a game of checkers and everything surrounding it is pretty well done. I may sound a bit down on the episode but everything is done really well. It’s well acted, the imagery is wonderful and there’s a lot of gravitas to basically everything that is said but yeah I just don’t have much to say as it is very similar in format to the first episode.

7/10

Episode Score

64

Roy

This episode started out with an interesting short story about the death of someone who believes in Egyptian gods. After that, and seeing as this is episode three, I was expecting something to start happening story-wise. Instead there was another interlude about a djinn and an Arabian man hooking up. I appreciated this in that it might be the first time I have seen a homosexual sex scene portrayed in the same way as a heterosexual one. However, since I was ready for plot development I found the story itself uninteresting and quickly grew bored. When the protagonists were finally introduced after what seemed like hours I was reminded of how much I dislike Shadow Moon. I am confounded by the bland and perpetually confused Moon; he is okay with murder but he draws the line at robbing a bank? I don’t get that guy; I can’t relate to him at all. I think unless I fundamentally change my expectations of American Gods I will continue to be bored watching it.

4.5/10

Matt

I would have prefered to see this episode being a little more story focused as I think myself and the audience probably have a bit of character introduction fatigue at this point. So the introduction of the Djinn could have been saved for an episode down the track. However I was really impressed with the philosophy that this episode lays down. I am also starting to get an idea as to what Wednesday needs Shadow for and it has definitely peaked my curiosity.

7/10

Tommy

This was a good episode, the plot moves forward and we spend a lot more time with Wednesday and Shadow just chilling and getting some nice philosophical talk and character development out of them. The coin that was thrown away also comes into play and this episode which sets it up a nice amount of anticipation for the episode to come. The episode continues the tradition of having somewhat sporadic tales that splice in and we flesh out a few more gods in these self contained short stories that are quite beautiful in their own ways.

8/10

Episode Score

65

Roy

This whole episode was a flashback. I was already kinda bored of this show but I nearly stopped watching halfway through. It was all about Shadow and Laura’s relationship and how she ended up having an affair. Things started to take an upward turn when zombie Laura turned into Fist of the North Star and started punching the heads off people but I didn’t need 40 minutes to learn that she has a vapid zombie-like personality. The plot had barely flopped itself out of bed before we were treated to this pit stop. At least in the other episodes when nothing was happening it was mildly interesting. The one and only take-away I have from this episode is that it has elucidated how stupid Shadow is: for him to fall in love with this insipid, emotionless person and to stay so even after she tells him flat out that the relationship isn’t satisfying would only be possible if he were as vacuous as she is vapid. The foundation of their relationship is that he thinks she is cute and that she immediately noticed him trying to cheat in a casino, which, by the way, was the one defining thing Shadow had going for him and now it seems he isn’t even good at that. The way Laura dealt with everything throughout the episode so reasonably and candidly was in blinding contrast to Shadow bumbling around, moaning and philosophising with the wit and grace of a stoned giraffe. It is a bizarre notion, but I think if Laura plays a prominent role, the show might improve.

1.8/10

Matt

We didn't need this episode, everything that need to be said about Laura was already said and considering how eager I am to continue with the story past character introductions I was beyond annoyed at having to deal with this bump in the road. On top of that all I feel for Laura is annoyance and in some cases disgust. There is nothing to like about this woman. She is quite happy to tell everyone around her how shit everything is and still expects some sort of a happy life? If the show runners intention was for me to hate Laura then good job. I do. But there is a big difference between I character that is enjoyable to watch and one who isn't. Laura fits into the later.

4/10

Tommy

This episode is focused entirely on Shadow’s wife Laura and all of the events that were alluded to in previous episodes. We explore how Shadow got into jail, how they got together and how she was unable to wait for Shadow's return. A big issue with this episode is that it spends basically all of the run time treading ground that was already covered and was never really something that needed exploration. Everything was pretty well executed like the thematic connections between how she lived her life before death and how she ended up after, the action sequence and the ways she deals with her new affliction. Unfortunately a lot of this was unnecessary and not engaging.

4.5/10

Episode Score

34

Roy

For my co-hosts, this episode was a disappointing deviation for the arc of Shadow Moon. For me, it was another an affirmation of how dumb I have been saying he is. This episode had its moments; American Gods always does; but Shadow Moon is the lens through which we look at this otherwise interesting world and he is bringing it down. In the scene involving half the big players in this show, it was telling that Shadow was given only token attention and his inane questions ignored. The scenes involving the leprechaun and Laura were entertaining, I guess.

3/10

Matt

What made me enjoy this episode enough to give it a 6/10 was the appearance of Mr World played by the wonderfully unusual Crispin Glover. His one scene makes me look forward to further appearances and was probably the best part of the episode. Even Laura and the Leprechaun had their moments in this episode. What lets this episode down is the strange re-set of Shadows character arch, why is he surprised at “Media” flying into the room? Still can’t work that one out.

6/10

Tommy

The show settles back in with a more usual formula this episode and is much welcomed. It opens with an explanation of how gods die, told in a nice animated short and from there we jump back into the scene with Shadow and Laura as she tries to tell him what happened. It's all quite bizarre but we do get a humorous scene with Laura dealing with the Leprechaun after Shadow and MR Wednesday are taken by the police. The events at the police station seem to reveal the faction of the new gods which Mr Wednesday aims to fight. It plays out similarly to a gangster story where the impetuous youth(Technical Boy) does something rash, hitting another mob boss and is forced to apologise by his Don/leader. The youth is brought down a peg but is obviously not going to let this go. The difference is that instead of happening in some kind of neutral territory or restaurant/front it takes place in an interrogation room and there's a lot of crazy god powers that happen. These all look really cool visually and everything but it seems somewhat aimless to me, the ambiguity of the god's powers and how they are used makes it hard to invest in the stakes of a scene but yeah I guess it was cool, although Shadow STILL questioning these god powers is a bit much given that HIS EX-WIFE IS CLEARLY A ZOMBIE. Anyway I hope this show picks up a bit as I feel it is still dragging and it's not very clear what to look forward to in the future other than random god powers.

6/10

Episode Score

50

Roy

Team Laura and Leprechaun is great. American Gods needs more of that and less of Team Wednesday and Shadow. Laura and Leprechaun have this entertaining dynamic going on. The dialogue is funny and, despite nothing at all happening, I find myself paying more attention when they are on screen. Wednesday’s escapades with Vulcan were intriguing but were bogged down by the nature of Shadow’s existence. I want to know more about the nature of the gods’ existences and how that relates to sacrifices. I also want Shadow to die.

4.9/10

Matt

Moving past the overall stupidity of Shadowmoon. This episode has some nice callbacks that were well placed to serve the story as well as some social commentary on the two Americas Nationalist Vs. Libertarians. I also enjoyed the shared adventure that Laura Moon and the Leprechaun are embarking on. Still have to wonder though, has the plot stalled and the only reason I am enjoying this series still is by virtue of good acting and amazing visuals?

6/10

Tommy

I think this is the best episode of the show thus far. The interactions between characters were all engaging and interesting with a few surprises. Shadow was still a bit annoying in his unwillingness to accept the new world he is experiencing but it’s a minuscule element. All of the stuff surrounding the god Vulcan was done really well. Particularly the explanation of his backstory and how he came to be worshipped in the modern age. On the other side of the coin we have the continuing adventures of the Laura and the Leprechaun which leads to some really neat dialogue and a character previously disjoint from the main story joins the two which was a nice surprise. Overall this episode was more focused and better written while maintaining the show’s signature visual quality.

8/10

Episode Score

63

Roy

A whole episode of flashbacks. Again! The finale is all that remains to watch and all these flashbacks have done is somehow made me less excited to watch it. I appreciate when a show breaks the mould but in this it isn’t working for me in the slightest. As for the episode itself, there were a few amusing moments but it wasn’t nearly as visually interesting as I have come to expect of American Gods. This episode had nothing of substance.

1/10

Matt

Sorry folks but this is a completely skip worthy episode. Putting aside the fact that this episode does very little to progress the plot. It also features Emily Browning as a different character. So the boredom is doubled. But here is the real problem. This is the second flashback episode in an eight episode series. There are so many plot threads that could keep me engaged but instead of giving the audience what they want we are instead treated to a flashback with little substance.

4/10

Tommy

We have another episode here that is almost entirely devoted to Laura or an ancestor? That’s not quite clear but it details this character’s belief in the Leprechaun and how he came to be. The main plot is moved on slightly but nothing really happens. We get a reveal that was sort of neat and more backstory/ character development for the Leprechaun but that’s about it. A bit dull as even the imagery isn’t as spectacular as it usually is and this episode completely leaves us hanging for what is happening with Mr Wednesday and Shadow Moon who are in a lot of potential peril.

4.5/10

Episode Score

31

Roy

The finale of American Gods was slightly better than I thought it would be, but I had very low expectations. Seemingly, a big payoff of the season was supposed to be Shadow finally believing in Mr Wednesday but after a whole season of Shadow it just came off as tiresome. He has spent so much time not believing anything so blatantly in the face of overwhelming evidence that I find it unrealistic that he now believes. There was a little bit of gods fighting I guess; Mr Wednesday killed some goons with lightning and the goddess of Spring stole Spring. This was not enough of a payoff for watching this awful show to be worth it, it is just a bunch of idiots futzing around. +1 for the lightning.

3.2/10

Matt

Well, we got to the season finale and although it had a high stakes ending. It didn't pull of the kind of dramatic ending that I needed in order to pursue this series past season one. I enjoyed the introduction of the god Easter but a simple introduction like this feels more fitting in an earlier episode of the series not a finale. Just like Roy I am really not convinced of Shadow Moon’s sudden turn to belief. Why now after everything does he convert to a believer of Odin. Just not buying it in this late stage of the game. There’s too much fluff here to make the finale worthy of the descriptor.

5/10

Tommy

This was an odd episode to end on. I can see what they were going for as the final event is pretty significant in the grand scheme of things but it just seemed like it should have been more climactic. Instead everyone just sort stands around and lets it happen. The majority of the episode takes place in this really colourful location which was a nice visual contrast to the rest of the season but the tone was the issue here. I was struggling to figure out whether or not many of the scenes were meant to be comedic or not. Anyway the visual storytelling is good but there’s just not much else there that is engaging. The potential peril from the last episode is also not addressed at all which i thought was odd. Perhaps I read too much into that scene but I felt that the Mr Wednesday and Shadow were in imminent danger.

4.5/10

Episode Score

41

Visually stunning with an interesting premise, American Gods has enough to sustain interest but falls when it comes to what is offered. an entire quarter of the season -- two full episodes -- are essentially filler and the season never really delivers on some of the cooler ideas. The show still has some good in it though, it is at its best when telling short stories of people's interactions with gods and stories of gods themeselves. When the show focuses on these things coupled with the visuals it hits the mark. Unfortunately the show just doesn't have enough material to sustain itself, stretching its source material in plans of future seasons.

53

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