NEIL GAIMAN has long had a fascination with what Americans worship.
In 2011, upon the 10th anniversary of his Hugo- and Nebula-winning novel “American Gods,” we sat at Washington’s National Press Club to talk about his updated work. Gaiman noted how the nation’s capital was littered with so many tall monuments to men — right down to, he said, the phallically towering Washington Monument piercing the sky. These structures serve, he noted, as our historical altars.
The British author, though, was also surveying a transition. We now capture these monuments as moments in our smartphones — the devices so many people tote and refer to with almost religious fervor.
This feels like the perfect landscape for “American Gods,” as televised entertainment, to land.
Starz has just released a trailer for “American Gods” the series, which debuts April 30. And as guided by Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal”) and Michael Green (“Logan”), it could be a brilliant blend of material and vision.
Gaiman’s fantasy novel is a tale of immigrant culture vs. society’s modern instruments. Old gods and ancient mythological creatures were brought to a new land by earlier generations. But they are fighting for relevance in a world of “bubbly new glittery gods” — physical forms that represent our obsessions with celebrity and media, as well as the Internet and other fresh technology. Their presence depends upon our belief and devotion.
In a fitting technological twist, Gaiman approved the show’s new trailer via Twitter. “I figured Twitter was going to be evanescent,” Gaiman said of the platform in 2011. Now, it feels of a piece with “American Gods” in 2017.
The new show stars Ricky Whittle as a newly released prisoner, Shadow Moon, who is soon in the employ of devilish con-man Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) in his battle against the new gods. The series also stars Gillian Anderson, Bruce Langley, Emily Browning and Pablo Schreiber.
After 16 years, the wait sure looks to be worth it.