Was there anything more magnificent this year than seeing Gillian Anderson playing David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe in the same episode? Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel delivered an exciting, dazzling, brutal and often shocking glimpse into the world of the gods – old and new – as seen through Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon.
Fuller took all the artistic splendour of Hannibal and infused the show with stunning cinematography, while telling rich stories with a magnificent cast. From Ian McShane’s Mr Wednesday to Cloris Leachman’s Zorya Vechernyaya and Pablo Schreiber’s Mad Sweeney, American Gods was a class act of stunning, mesmerising performances from beginning to end.
But it is the rich storytelling that really makes the show so special and this is where Fuller excels, from the vivid adaptation of sex goddess Bilquis’s first scene in episode one to Media’s Lucille Ball on the TV screens in episode two. And the self-contained vignettes where audiences are introduced to each God add an extra dimension – be it the epic splendour of Anubis’ introduction or the animated journey of Atsula and her people.
This might not be a show to suit everyone’s tastes (its use of sex and violence perhaps too disturbing for some) but there is no denying this is a show that stands out among all others, even in a year of very strong television.