Perhaps you use Amazon on the odd occasion to buy a few bits for the house, so you invested in Amazon Prime – You know, the somewhat expensive service which gives you a pretty good deal on delivery if you use it enough? There’s a few other benefits to it, such as access to Amazon Video, a service that’s trying to compete with the streaming giant, Netflix. You can watch Top Gear 2.0 on it… and um… other things? Well this is a review of one of those things; the highly popular American Gods.
WARNING: There is a graphic image in this article, which may upset some readers. It’s been included as an example of what I think about the animation… You’ll just have to trust me.
|Series Released So Far||1 (8 episodes)|
|Amazon Prime Link||American Gods|
War is upon the Gods of old and the Gods of today, so says Mr Wednesday, a seemingly wise but unscrupulous old man, who seeks to employ a recently released inmate by the name of Shadow Moon. The purposes for which Wednesday wishes to employ Shadow Moon remain somewhat ambiguous, but effectively he’s hired the man to be his bodyguard of sorts. When Shadow Moon learns that his girlfriend was killed with the man she was having an affair with, Shadow decides that there is nothing left for him, so joins Wednesday.
Throughout, Wednesday goes to enlist the help of some old friends, who turn out to be other Old Gods. Wednesday is looking to declare war on the New Gods with his friends, but in doing so, he needs specific people to help him in his efforts. With Shadow Moon, a previous unbeliever, on his side and with Shadow’s dead girlfriend rising from the grave, accompanied by a very angry leprechaun, personalities clash and conflict arises.
Animation & Style
This is a bit of a strange one, as American Gods seemingly has two sides to this. There’s a full live action front, which takes up the majority of the time. There’s also an animated side to the series, which we’ll go into later. The live action side of the series is incredibly well done; with enough intrigue and little hints from characters personalities and the way they act, that you begin to twig onto what the series is trying to do. This is an especially important component to the series, as it keeps you in the dark a lot – but it tries to give you subtle little visual cues.
But then there’s the animation side and oh my goodness, please, stop this nonsense! Okay, so for context, let me explain something – The opening scene features basically the most ridiculously terrible animated fighting I’ve seen, which, with one thrust of a sword, an arm flies through the air, with a sword still in hand, which then in turn pierces another mans throat – and lets go of the sword… Or makes them turn into a bloody mist. Please – This kind of cheese really detracts from the series, which could be truly exceptional. They go really hammy and rather over the top with it, but this opening scene isn’t the only occurrence of this. At the end of the first episode, Shadow Moon gets ambushed and attacked in a very grisly scene: But then his assailants are dealt with – But amongst the ways they’re dealt with include a kick to the crotch, which basically splits them in half. It’ll make sense from a character perspective, but it does not look good.
This is my biggest criticism of the show – The audio levels are all out of whack! Seriously, one moment you can be listening to some loud screaming from an animated segment, before it flops over to Shadow Moon being really quiet. Don’t even get me started with Mr Wednesday and his sometimes too gravelly voice. We had to turn the volume up quite a bit, which gets awkward when there’s a few scenes with rather loud moans in it. Plus the music isn’t much better, or even memorable.
You know, it’s really hard where to place this series. Week in, week out, it always feels like it can go on to greater heights… and doesn’t quite get there. But the ride to wherever we’re going is a thrilling spectacle, worth sitting through. It’s not the most logical series at times, but it’s certainly unique. If nothing else, it’s intriguing enough to make you want to continue watching, but it’s definitely not a must see. Still, I find it highly entertaining, if somewhat perplexing! The cast are fun, they’re all pretty good at representing their godly selves.
With just season one finished, but a season two in the works, I wouldn’t be surprised if it picks up in a big way. We’ve met the Gods, and now the battle lines have been drawn. A tale of old vs new, but this time we root for old, b-because tradition..! Truth be told, I have yet to find out why we should be invested in the old; perhaps we’ll find out soon? But what do you make of this series? Have you read the books? Let us know in the comments below or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.