Bryan Fuller adapting Neil Gaiman's American Gods for Starz

News Louisa Mellor 2 Jul 2014 - 07:04

Hannibal's Bryan Fuller and Heroes' Michael Green are adapting American Gods for the Starz network...

Fans have been following the twisty history of American Gods' planned TV adaptation for some time. After HBO and Cinemax tried but failed to translate Neil Gaiman's expansive 2001 fantasy novel to the small screen, FremantleMedia picked up the rights earlier this year. Now, it looks as though things are really motoring, and a couple of particularly interesting names have joined the creative team.

First up is Bryan Fuller, the talent behind current NBC hit, Hannibal, and the man who gave us Dead Like MeWonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. Fuller is co-writing the American Gods pilot with Heroes and Smallville's Michael Green, who will also showrun the series for US network, Starz. That, as anybody will tell you, is what's known as a result.

Bryan Fuller had this to say in the official press bumf, "Neil Gaiman has created the holiest of holy toy boxes with American Gods and filled it with all manner of magical thing, born of new gods and old. Michael Green and I are thrilled to crack this toy box wide open and unleash the fantastical titans of heaven and earth and Neil's vividly prolific imagination."

Gaiman commented, "When you create something like American Gods, which attracts fans and obsessives and people who tattoo quotes from it on themselves or each other, and who all, tattooed or not, just care about it deeply, it's really important to pick your team carefully: you don't want to let the fans down, or the people who care and have been casting it online since the dawn of recorded history. What I love most about the team who I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that American Gods has attracted since the start. I haven't actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them."

And with a BBC adaptation of Anansi Boys also currently in development, Neil Gaiman fans' (black, silver, chipped and coffee-stained) cup runneth over.

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i did not know about anansi boys!!!! this is great news for american gods love neil gaiman .... hated his new book tho. skin game was a treat (jimmy!)

SO! EXCITED!

I've been slightly apprehensive towards this so far but having heard this, I'm pretty sure it could work. Cannot. Wait.

I realy hope for all the Neil Gaiman fans (of which I am ashamed to say I am not one) that this will turn out good but let's keep in mind that to date Starz has never actually produced a single a good drama series. Of course with Bryan Fuller on board (still have to watch Hannibal but Pushing Daisies was very lovely) it might just turn out good. But then again it might just turn out like another Black Sails, Pillars of the Earth, Camelot, Torchwood: Miracle Day or any other of the highly anticipated Starz shows that ended up sucking big time.

This is good news! When I heard HBO had sold the rights to FreemantleMedia I was worried about what we would end up with but the presence of Fuller shows they are taken it seriously.

No need to be ashamed Starbuck, different strokes for different folks and all that. I must admit I don't know much about the shows you've listed but American Gods is strong source material (as I was reading it I thought 'this ould make a great TV show!') so I'm hoping it will end up closer to the Hannibal/Pushing Daisies end of the spectrum.

As a huge Hannibal fan and Neil Gaiman fan (and sure, he's not for everyone) I am going to put huge faith in this. I'd like to think that it's the material's 'not for everyone' nature that might have put the bigger networks off it, and I'd like to think they will be kicking themselves when this comes out.

Well black sails was great so I dunno what the one person is talking about. It's good when hbo, starz, Cinemax have good and exciting shows since they can do so much more than cable or regular channels can.

Spartacus and Boss were fantastic, and Starz are also developing Moira Walley-Beckett's (who wrote the best episodes of Breaking Bad, including Ozymandias) new show Flesh and Bone.

I've got every faith this will be good, especially with Fuller on board.

Starz is on a roll with genre shows! Spartacus, Da Vinci's Demons, Black Sails, Outlander and now American Gods. And they also still want to make that epic scifi Incursion.

One of my favourite books from one of my favourite authors. Looking forward to seeing how American Gods translates to the screen. In the meantime, I can definitely recommend the Full Cast Audio reading of the audiobook.

Love the book but I'm a little worried that HBO tried and failed. If the production company who smashed GoT so far out the park feel they couldn't do this justice, then I'm definitely concerned.

I think HBO were looking for a multi series show. But I think American Gods will be best served by 2 seasons at the most.

I hope so.

I'll believe it when I see it.

We strongly disagree about Spartacus and Boss but hey to each his own.I do like Breaking Bad though. Not as much as some but it's a good show imo.

Actually it was forst gonna be done by HBO. Which is cable and the biggest risk taker in television land. Their shows are known for being innovative, risky, very smart and well I'll admit it have lots of nudity and gore. They produced many award winning shows such as The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. They're also responsible for some of the most lauded shows in televison history such as The Wire and Game of Thrones. HBO is pretty much the best you can do in tems of tv. In fact if a show is done by HBO it pretty much guarantees it's going to be good. Starz by comparrison aspires to be just as good as HBO but to date has not actually produced a single crittically acclaimed show. Sure Spartacus was a hit but most critics weren't all that positive and most of the audience either hated it or considered it a guilty pleasure. Going from HBO to Starz is like going from a three star restaurant to a fastfood chain with a bad reputation. But hey maybe I;m wrong adn American Gods is just the big break Starz was needing. SyFy isn't the best channel on tv either but nevertheless they made one of the most acclaimed drama series of all time and in my opinion the best sci fi show to date: Battlestar Galactica.

The problem is I have actually no idea whether I like Neil Gaiman's books or not because I've never actually read them. Hence my shame. It's not even that they don't appeal to me. It's just that there always seems to be something better to read. As for the show: it might turn out alright. NBC never really had done anyhting of note before Hannibal either and yet that show turned out to be rather good I hear.

Very aware of HBO's back catalogue - that's interesting! I wonder why it got passes over; probably just not room on HBO's schedule for it?!

My apologies then for the very long rant on how great HBO is. As for schedule. Both True Blood (sob) as well as Boardwalk Empire (boohoo) are ending this year so they have room for not one but two new drama shows. One reason I can think of is that since they already have Game of Thrones they felt they didn't need another fantasy show. The other option I can think of although that makes me sound like someone as optimistic as Rust Cohle, is that they didn't deem it good enough. The same thing happened with Black Sails with which they first went to HBO untill ending up at Starz. Considering how immensely riveting that show is (sarcasm obviously) that does not bode well for American Gods.Then again as I said I'm about as optimistic as Rust Cohle so yeah.

Your opinion about Spartacus is definitely in the minority. Audiences rated it hot at between 85 - 95 per cent (see rotten tomatoes or similar). Critics rated it nearly as high. While it's nice to hear YOUR opinion, you don't represent everyone else.

Also your rant about how HBO make good TV was old news 5 years ago.

NEXT!

Ha, good True Detective nod, and even though True Blood has become sillier and siller (S6 was good but S5 was nonsense in my opinion) I'll be very sad to see it go! RE both your reasons, either way I'm hoping HBO will be proved wrong for ditching this (if that's what they did).

Trust in Bryan Fuller. What he has done with the source materials that Thomas Harris bestowed upon him for Hannibal is astonishing. I love American Gods and having his name attached makes me very optimistic.
If you haven't watched Hannibal yet then you really must.

Thrilled by the involvement of Fuller, not so overjoyed by Green. Green Lantern? Sex In The City? Everwood? Smallville? To be, Smallville isn't THAT bad, but still.

I would have much preferred Fuller to be a showrunner (impossible due to his Hannibal commitments I know) than have Green. BUT I will reserve final judgement until I actually see it; considering the track record that may be never.

There's an article somewhere where they explain that they weren't happy with the initial drafts of the scripts they received from their writers.
While that may well be true, I can't also help wondering if they saw the potential in this and decided they couldn't back two equally matched horses with GoT already on their plate.

I completely agree with you on True Blood. In fact had season 6 not been there I would've not even cared about the show ending. But season 6 was so good it completely reversed my opinions on the show. In fact after season 4 (yes the fairies were stupid but the rest was awesome) it's probably my favourite season

Don't forget that Rotten Tomatoes like IMDb is not an actual good representation of the actual viewership. Also it's certainly true that a lot of people liked and still like Spartacus but from what I;ve heard that's mostly because of the insane amounts of violence and nudity rather than the actual story. That's why most people I knwo at least refer to it as a guilty pleasure. As for critics: it;s true it was generally reletively well received with getting mostly scores around 3,5 or 4 stars. However if you actually read these reviews they mostly talk about how gloriously violent it is and how good it looks whle noting that story or character wise it really isn't all that good. Compare this for instance to reviews of say Game of Thrones who do not only praise the visuals but also it's deep and complex story. As for my rant on HBO. It's certainly true other cable channels have or have had major hitshows as well. Take for instance amc who has even two shows that were both criticcally lauded and loved by the audience: Mad Men and of course Breaking Bad. (I am the one who rants!) Or Netflix which has House of Cards. However in terms of sheer titles per channel then HBO has produced far more critically acclaimed hitseries then any other production house. Hence my stance on that HBO still is the king of television and an almost certain guarantee that a show produced by them is going to be good.

I rest my case.

Okay, your post about Starz never making a "single good drama series" was bad enough, but the idea that NBC had "never really done anything of note before Hannibal" is just idiotic.

Wow some people really are out to get me now. Well I guess I kinda had that coming with my inflammatory remarks on Starz, which by the way I still stand by just read some of the reviews of their shows.

Anyway as for NBC not producing anything worthy of note. Well here's an unexpected answer for you: (although I kinda hope you were expecting it) I took a quick peek at their catalogue and as it turns out thye actually did produce some relatively well loved drama series. Namely three: Columbo, ER and The West Wing. Now in terms of how well loved they are by both critics and audience they really can't compare to something like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. On the other hand all these three shows are worthy of noting as having an impact on tv in some form or another. So in short I was wrong there. Sorry. My mistake.

Although personally I wouldn't say idiotic since it's not like NBC has the same reputation as HBO or AMC. In fact it's generally regarded as one of the lesser trustworthy channels as they have produced mostly (though as clearly stated above not solely) tv shows that were either mediocre or bad. For instance try and see how many NBC drama series (since we're not talking comedy here) have won awards compared to either HBO or AMC. Also: just for fun: try and do the same for Starz. You'll see my point. Or maybe prove me wrong again which is fine by me cause it means I'll learn another fun fact for my collection of pop culture facts that I love to impress people with. (or bore them depending on the crowd)

He worked with Fuller on Heroes which was truly magnificent at the beginning and on new TV series Gotham which looks pretty great so he definitely has his scifi credentials. I have high expectations for Green being showrunner.

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