Starz’s American Gods: a beautiful adaptation of a book I honestly didn’t like that much.

What it is: A prestige drama adaptation of the Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, with Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller and Kings’s Michael Green at the helm.

What I’ve watched: Only two episodes have aired and I’ve watched them both.

Is it good? This show is shockingly good.

Quick thoughts: It’s hard to describe the overstuffed premise of American Gods in brief—a man gets out of prison and then meets a bunch of old and new gods. Fuller and Green’s choices with Gaiman’s material is beautiful to look at, and they make small, but very smart changes. Ricky Whittle plays Shadow Moon as a man barely containing a huge wellspring of emotion where in the book he was annoyingly stoic. Ian McShane, ever wonderful, gives even the most banal lines a mythic tone, holding a lot of the show’s weirdness on his very capable shoulders. Of particular note are the ways some of the gods of the modern age have been updated. Technical Boy, in the novel, is a pretty offensive stereotype of a basement dwelling nerd. He’s depicted as fat, sweaty, looking like a kid playing dress up in a suit. In the show, where he’s played by Bruce Langley, he’s now a Silicon Valley vapelord in a designer shirt and sneakers. He looks like the exact kind of guy that would create the Juicero and tell you he was changing the world. The second modern god we’ve met so far, Media, is played with a sinister edge by Gillian Anderson. Sure, it’s not necessarily a huge insight to say we, as a culture, “worship” the screens we surround ourselves with. But there’s a certain novelty about hearing it from Gillian Anderson dressed as Lucille Ball, just before she asks if you want to see Lucy’s tits. You should watch this show.

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Party Chat is where we talk about things we’re reading and watching when we’re not playing video games.