Perhaps taking advantage of the programming void caused by HBO's new Game of Thrones production schedule, Starz may have chosen the perfect show to draw from HBO's flagship audience. A show that is also centered around the old gods and the new, American Gods is primed to be the next great series on premium cable.
The first episode of American Gods follows African-American convict Shadow Moon as he is released from prison to travel to his wife's funeral. Along the way, Shadow Moon encounters odd and intriguing characters who are in fact the first of a multi-cultural host of gods that are about to enter into his life. Shadow does not know it yet, but he is about to witness the intersection of different worlds. The gods originate from an array of different civilizations, but have all taken form as different characters throughout America.
The critical attribute that American Gods reveals from the outset is the boundless writing and acting potential that can come from each god. McShane dazzles as he connives to be upgraded to first class on a flight and vaguely enlists Shadow Moon as an employee. Shadow also engages in a fantastic bar brawl with a leprechaun who fulfills and defies stereotypes. The identity of the final god was not revealed, but Shadow goes for a ride with a mysterious character who exudes an unmistakable Bieberness that has great future potential. He does not meet Bilquis, but her scene is certainly atypical.
The roster of actors for the first season of American Gods is impressive. Without spoiling casting choices, it is hard not to nod your head in approval of several of the selections. If the first episode is an accurate preview, we may be witnessing the beginning of a show that gives an ensemble cast the opportunity to shine.