Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SS United States Small Screen Review: American Gods (2017)

I'm back back back back back again! Our prayers have been answered, and Starz's has brought Neil Gaiman's American Gods to the small screen.

[Disclaimer: American Gods has explicit sex scenes, full nudity, and graphic violence. It might not be suitable for younger audiences]

American Gods is the story of Shadow Moon. Shadow gets out of prison a few days earlier than expected because his wife is killed in a car accident. With no family ties and no job, Shadow accepts a bodyguard job offer from a man going by the name of Mr. Wednesday. Shadow is thrust into a new world where the impossible is normal, faith is tested, and a sacrifice will have to be made. Americana-supernatural ensues.

There is one reason I am watching this series: Bryan Fuller. Bryan Fuller is one of my favorite writers/producers. He creates these all-around beautiful, quirky, and poignant series. These shows develop cult-like followings, but also have a terrible tendency of getting cancelled too soon. Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal (the TV Series), to name his most well-known works (and some of my favorites thrown in as well). American Gods is currently beating the odds -- before episode 3 aired, Starz announced the series would have a second season!

I read the book American Gods once it was announced Bryan Fuller was creating the adaptation. The book was interesting. I liked the story and mythology created. I loved the idea of what the modern era's religions are, who we "pray" to. That said, looking back I didn't enjoy the journey in-between the story. It would go for long stretches where nothing was really happening, or get side-tracked on a one chapter story. Action was out there, but Shadow was either kept unaware of it, or kept out of it.

The show, so far, has been a fairly faithful adaptation. Maybe because I know the story now, the bumps I had with the book are not bothering me as much as in the series. Although, it still hasn't pulled me in yet. Hannibal also was that way at first, so I'm hoping it's just figuring out its footing right now.



So, where is your ship now?



We're up to Episode Three right now. In one of the one-chapter stories, one guy has an appointment with this businessman that never appears, so he waits there all day. It's really sad (It gets better for him later). Anyway, one of the first shots of the waiting room shows a framed photo of the RMS Queen Elizabeth docking in New York City.

Still from American Gods (2017) S1E3 by Starz

This particular shot is long (and the guy is mainly sitting there), so I had a bit of time to admire the long-lost dame pictured. I also started to look in the background, where I noticed a ship already docked at a pier. Were those tri-colored columns? Are they irregularly shaped? Not wanting to cry wolf, I went off to find the original image. After trying a couple combinations, "queen elizabeth docking new york black and white" brought me to the image. Well what do you know! It is the SS United States! That's probably her tiniest cameo to date. Very tiny, very not-at-all-important-to-the-story, but a cameo's a cameo!



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FINAL THOUGHTS
The Series: Series still in progress, but faithful adaptation. 4/4 (tentatively)
SS United States: It's in the background of a picture you can see in one shot. 1/4