Neil Gaiman’s award-winning Americana/fantasy/realism novel American Gods (2001) will be made into a television series on HBO (cue angels singing). Rumors of Gaiman’s work such as Sandman and American Gods making its way to the small or big screen have been buzzing around for years and finally some solid decisions have been made.
American Gods summary,
Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming — a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path. [NeilGaiman.com]
The central precept of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them. Immigrants to the United States brought with them dwarves, elves, leprechaun’s, and other spirits and gods. However, the power of these mythological beings has diminished as people’s beliefs wane. New gods have arisen, reflecting America’s obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among others. [Wikipedia.org]
Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s production company Playtone Productions (The Pacific, Big Love and Band of Brothers) will produce American Gods as a six-season, open-ended series for HBO. The executive producers will be Gary Goetzman, Bob Richardson and Tom Hanks. Thankfully, Gaiman is on board as executive producer and writer. The six seasons will be 10-12, hour-long episodes and a budget of $35-40 million each season with its earliest debut date scheduled to be 2013. Goetzman told The Hollywood Reporter that, “There are some crazy things in there. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series.”
For those who are wondering how one book can be spread out over 6 seasons Gaiman explained this in a recent tweet, “And for those asking, No, 6 years of AMERICAN GODS on TV doesn’t mean just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start.”
Gaiman is no stranger to TV or film. He wrote the BBC dark fantasy series Neverwhere in 1996, produced and wrote the Robert Zemeckis Beowulf, and his Stardust and Coraline novels were adapted to the big-screen. He also wrote an episode of Doctor Who “The Doctor’s Wife” (aired May 14, 2011), which he has been an avid fan of since he was a child. Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book will be made into a film which will be adapted and directed by Neil Jordan.
I’m a big fan of American Gods and Gaiman in general. I knew after reading AG that the only way to do it justice would be to make it either a mini-series or television show with a set ending. My preferred networks would be HBO, Showtime, AMC or FX (in that order) because of the quality programing and more freedom for explicit content. I, like most others, are always apprehensive when hearing one of their favorite books, comics, anime, etc. is being adapted as a show or film. But, I was elated after hearing that not only will it be on my favorite network HBO, but Gaiman will be producing and writing the series. HBO seems to have a knack for book-to-show programming with True Blood and the new Game of Thrones so I do have some confidence they will treat AG with care..
It may be premature, but I am extremely excited and have high hopes for American Gods coming to HBO in 2013.