Last night's première of the American Gods television series was one of the best première episodes of any series I've seen in years. The cast, the music, the editing, everything's well above average even in this day and age of great television.
Ricky Whittle as protagonist Shadow Moon is like no other protagonist on television--muscular and exuding a sense of barely repressed violence, at the same time he's deeply contemplative and sensitive, very much as he is in Neil Gaiman's novel. But the show does the brilliant thing of making him exactly what he's supposed to be but also surprising.
Both he and Low Key (Jonathan Tucker) have the attitudes and appearances of guys who've really been in prison a while and--really, like guys like that--they're also perfectly strange. I like how half Low Key's face seems dead and the other is constantly tugging up into a smirk.
Yetide Badaki as Bilquis is great in a fabulous sex scene, drenched in red with a keenly rendered connexion between orgasm and worship. Much of the show I'd describe as fabulous and dangerous--the scene with Bilquis strangely yet appropriately cuts to the jaws of a dinosaur bar.
And, of course, Ian McShane is perfect as Wednesday.
This is the best translation of a Neil Gaiman book I've seen to screen. His dialogue is superficially clever only to provide a layer to reveal fascinating and insightful undercurrents--like Low Key telling Shadow not to fuck with airport staff and Shadow misinterpreting the moral of the story so that Low Key can reduce it to something suggestively simple. This stuff is well paired with director David Slade who edits the episode with a keen sense of how long a line should linger on the ear and, even more nicely, he knows when to cut in which the throbbing beat of a recognisable tune. I thought this show would be good but it exceeded my expectations.
Twitter Sonnet #988
In croissant snacks the story slowly starts.
A second tea returns to take a fourth.
In compact calculations spring their hearts.
Antennae teeth in pink determine worth.
An amber sky obtains a message sent.
In shadows caught by passing cloud we dream.
The autumn leaves in spring too quickly spent.
The brittle coin confers the thread to seam.
In western times a sortie claimed a foot.
Advances 'long the spine accost the land.
Refrains reroute the desert where it's put.
And only space can cure the lanes of sand.
Burrito eggs are hatching sauce to-day.
Lemon's a lighting too yellow to now allay.