DAVID BIANCULLI

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AMERICAN GODS
April 30, 2017  | By David Bianculli

Starz!, 9:00 p.m. ET

 

SERIES PREMIERE: There are some wonderful, enticing talents involved with this new series, which is about ancient and modern gods doing battle in modern society for the souls and attentions and devotions of mankind. Chief among them is Neil Gaiman, who wrote the novel on which this new series is so faithfully based. Another is Bryan Fuller, a visually stylish TV producer whose resume includes both Hannibal and Pushing Daisies. And among the cast are two of my favorite TV actors, both playing gods: Ian McShane from Deadwood and Gillian Anderson from The X-Files. Other stars include Ricky Whittle, Pablo Schreiber, Cloris Leachman, Kristin Chenoweth, Orlando Jones – and as TV narratives go, it’s unusual enough to maintain interest, with some very committed performances. But it’s also weird, visually as well as thematically and plotwise, and has the high put-off factor, for me, of glorifying in slow-motion videogame-style violence, as with another Starz series, Spartacus. But for every image or set piece that disappoints me, there’s another that dazzles me a little – as when Anderson, as the modern god named Media, makes her initial entrance on a TV set, looking unsettlingly like Lucille Ball’s Lucy Ricardo character from I Love Lucy.

 
 
 
 
 
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