Monday, May 08, 2017

Guessing the Ages of Gods

Last night's new episode of American Gods was good, not quite as good as the first one, but not bad. The intro was a bit disappointing and I disliked some of the casting, but Cloris Leachman was great and Ian McShane continues to be an excellent Mr. Wednesday.

Spoilers after the screenshot

I don't know yet how I feel about Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy. It's been over fifteen years since I read American Gods and I gave my copy to a friend about that time. I'm not sure what happened to my copy of Anansi Boys. But I pictured Mr. Nancy as older. Orlando Jones is 49, which I guess is kind of old, not like Ian McShane old, though; McShane and Leachman really sell the "older gods" look. Maybe Mr. Nancy keeps himself looking young the same way Bilquis does.

Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), the Goddess so nice they established her twice. No real developments for Bilquis in this episode but she still looks great and the guy with the erection floating in space like the Monty Python "Galaxy Song" was pretty funny.

I'm not sure why Shadow (Ricky Whittle) assumed Peter Stormare's Czernobog was Zorya's (Cloris Leachman) husband, he looks a lot younger than her. Peter Stormare is 63, but that is almost 30 years younger than Leachman. They could be married, sure, but I don't know why Shadow would assume it. It's a shame they couldn't take the opportunity to have her say, "That's right, he's my . . . boyfriend!" I like Peter Stormare but I wasn't digging the broad Vaudevillian Slavic accent. Fargo Peter Stormare would have been better but I think this is more like Big Lebowski Peter Stormare.

Cloris Leachman, on the other hand, was absolutely perfect. The levels of sympathy and pragmatism expressed in her performance completely absorbed me. When she looks into Shadow's future she talks to him with just the right gravity.

I enjoyed the mysterious quality of the first episode's opening scenes with the Vikings trying to deal with the New World. I liked how much it was about the people of the time in a way most people don't think about and I liked how Odin wasn't seen. By contrast, Anansi dressed in modern clothes lecturing the slaves on what they and their descendants would be facing seemed a bit flat and reductionist. It would have been nice to have seen an Anansi the captives would have been familiar with talking to them in terms closer to their cultural present.

I like Gillian Anderson and I guess she's okay as Media. It would have been nice if they'd gotten someone who could do impressions. I would've voted for Nicole Sullivan, Orlando Jones' co-star from Mad TV, she can do a pretty good Lucille Ball, as I recall.

The game with Czernobog at the end was good. I think I remember how it's resolved, I'm looking forward to seeing it play out next week.

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