I’ll start by saying I loved the book. It is one of my favourite reads by Neil Gaiman. As such, I was pretty excited to see this adaptation. By the way, if you haven’t read the book, do so, it’s damn good. The show has had a fair amount of buzz, from the negativity surrounding a black man playing the lead(who cares, as long as he can act), to receiving a strong endorsement from the author.
The first five minutes are bloody, yet enthralling, showing the Vikings arriving in North America, and how they brought their Gods with them. Fast forward to present day and we find our main character in prison. Here is where the story begins in earnest.
Shadow Moon is shortly released from jail, only to discover that his wife has died. On his return home for the funeral he meets the man who will quickly become his employer: Mr Wednesday. On first exposure I enjoyed both actors in their roles. Shadow came across as a dark, brooding character, and Ricky Whittle pulls it off in the opening episode. Ian McShane plays Mr Wednesday as a fast talking con artist. Both fit with how I’d imagined them.
The show does an excellent job portraying the Gods of the ‘Old World’, and their struggles to survive and stay relevant in the new. The introduction of the love goddess Bilquis is a particularly interesting sequence, and very much not for kids.
The first episode concludes with a rather rough encounter between Shadow and one of the ‘New Gods’, which almost ends with Shadow’s death. He is saved at the last second, but his benefactor is not shown.
I liked the look of the show, Scenes were well shot and I found some to be so visually engrossing that the story took a back seat for a minute or two. I’ll definitely be watching episode 2!