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Mercury33

Television American Gods S2

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Woo what a wait that was for season 2. I was afraid with all the turmoil surrounding the show the quality would really drop off but I loved the first episode. I think to the benefit of non book readers they’re continuing to be more clear in the direction of the show which was a little muddled through most of season 1. We’ve got clear motivations and goals now. And the performances across the board for all the Gods is outstanding. Can’t wait for the rest of the season. 

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I'll definitely be tuning in, will probably watch the first episode of season 2 tonight. But the behind the scenes turmoil is disconcerting, though I don't think it will affect most of season 2. For those who don't know, the story is interesting:

 

American Gods season 2 was greenlit in May 2017. In November 2017, original showrunners Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) and Michael Green (Kings, Blade Runner 2049, Murder on the Orient Express) were "let go" from the show after finishing roughly half of the seasons' ten scripts. Jesse Alexander (Alias, Heroes, Hannibal), who had worked with Bryan Fuller on Hannibal, was brought in as co-showrunner along with Neil Gaiman himself (the writer of the source material) to shepherd the season, which had now lost both Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth because they did the show due to Fuller so his leaving made them leave. 

 

In September 2018, it was reported that Alexander had been removed as showrunner from the series by Starz and Fremantle. The series was also six weeks behind schedule and was forced to go on hiatus due to having an unfinished script for the season finale; Alexander submitted multiple drafts for the finale, but they were all rejected. Fuller and Green had scripted the first six episodes of season two, but they were thrown out once Alexander was hired to rewrite them. The season two episode order was trimmed from ten to eight episodes, similar to season one, in an attempt to trim the budget. The first season was $30 million over budget. Cast members were unhappy with the new scripts and they were often rewritten on set, including Ian McShane improvising dialogue. Starz was unhappy with Alexander's direction of the material, which was more "conventional", different from Fuller and Green's more "atmospheric, hypnotic" tone. With no showrunner, producing director Chris Byrne and line producer Lisa Kussner were left in charge.

 

Note that no credited writer or director of any episode of season 1 is back for season 2, every single credited episode writer and director of the 8-episode season 2 is different from season 1 - Chris Byrne is credited with directing episode 1 and episode 8 of season 2, so you can definitely tell he was called in to finish things, for instance. I mean, it took almost exactly two years to get season 2 since season 1 aired - for eight episodes. 

 

So, um, yeah. Guess we'll see! Ironic, as always, that the reason they had a problem with Jesse Alexander was for not being "hypnotic and atmospheric" enough like Fuller and Green were, but that's the precise reason STARZ let them go to begin with was because their style was too expensive for them. :silly:

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1 hour ago, Greatoneshere said:

I'll definitely be tuning in, will probably watch the first episode of season 2 tonight. But the behind the scenes turmoil is disconcerting, though I don't think it will affect most of season 2. For those who don't know, the story is interesting:

 

American Gods season 2 was greenlit in May 2017. In November 2017, original showrunners Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) and Michael Green (Kings, Blade Runner 2049, Murder on the Orient Express) were "let go" from the show after finishing roughly half of the seasons' ten scripts. Jesse Alexander (Alias, Heroes, Hannibal), who had worked with Bryan Fuller on Hannibal, was brought in as co-showrunner along with Neil Gaiman himself (the writer of the source material) to shepherd the season, which had now lost both Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth because they did the show due to Fuller so his leaving made them leave. 

 

In September 2018, it was reported that Alexander had been removed as showrunner from the series by Starz and Fremantle. The series was also six weeks behind schedule and was forced to go on hiatus due to having an unfinished script for the season finale; Alexander submitted multiple drafts for the finale, but they were all rejected. Fuller and Green had scripted the first six episodes of season two, but they were thrown out once Alexander was hired to rewrite them. The season two episode order was trimmed from ten to eight episodes, similar to season one, in an attempt to trim the budget. The first season was $30 million over budget. Cast members were unhappy with the new scripts and they were often rewritten on set, including Ian McShane improvising dialogue. Starz was unhappy with Alexander's direction of the material, which was more "conventional", different from Fuller and Green's more "atmospheric, hypnotic" tone. With no showrunner, producing director Chris Byrne and line producer Lisa Kussner were left in charge.

 

Note that no credited writer or director of any episode of season 1 is back for season 2, every single credited episode writer and director of the 8-episode season 2 is different from season 1 - Chris Byrne is credited with directing episode 1 and episode 8 of season 2, so you can definitely tell he was called in to finish things, for instance. I mean, it took almost exactly two years to get season 2 since season 1 aired - for eight episodes. 

 

So, um, yeah. Guess we'll see! Ironic, as always, that the reason they had a problem with Jesse Alexander was for not being "hypnotic and atmospheric" enough like Fuller and Green were, but that's the precise reason STARZ let them go to begin with was because their style was too expensive for them. :silly:

 

You can def tell that Green and Fuller are gone.  But it still works and keeps close enough to the tone and look of season 1 that I don't think you'd notice unless you knew what happened and what to look for.  Theres a funny line about why Easter isnt' around but they haven't addressed Media yet, although given the nature of that god it'll be easy to replace her.  Well, easy to have it make sense why she looks different but her performance in S1 was arguably the best on the show so it won't be easy to replace that at all.  

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1 hour ago, Mercury33 said:

 

You can def tell that Green and Fuller are gone.  But it still works and keeps close enough to the tone and look of season 1 that I don't think you'd notice unless you knew what happened and what to look for.  Theres a funny line about why Easter isnt' around but they haven't addressed Media yet, although given the nature of that god it'll be easy to replace her.  Well, easy to have it make sense why she looks different but her performance in S1 was arguably the best on the show so it won't be easy to replace that at all.  

 

The A.V. Club's Emily L. Stephens, who reviewed every episode of season 1 (and loved it), reviewed the season 2 premiere and gave it a B+, so that's also promising news to me. 

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I just watched the season premiere with the wife last night. It was still really good! Definitely a bit more conventional but still had plenty of style (though there are rumors this episode is basically a Fuller/Green joint since season 1 was originally meant to be 10 episodes and it was cut down to 8 - watching this episode shows it would have been a much better season 1 ender than the episode we got). We'll see, but I'm cautiously optimistic. New Media has been re-cast, and Easter might be out altogether, that's more vague.

 

But I like where the storylines are heading and the show feels very much on the same track it was on from season 1. 

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Episode 2 was solid. Moving even further away from the abstractness that was season 1. I’m not sure how I feel. On the one hand I’m enjoying the clearer vision and story that’s being told. On the other hand it’s just missing that certain feel that season 1 had. That even though everything was crazy and nonsensical(looking at it in the short term) you needed to see what was next. It was an extremely unique feeling show. 

 

Side note: I can’t wait to here Gaimens thoughts when the show ends. They are miles away from being a faithful adaptation of the book. It’s almot a completely different story at this point. I’d love to know how much of it were changes he wished he could have made to the book. I know Jesus was added in a later edition of the book so I’m curious how much is changes he ok’d for the sake of telling a story on screen vs changes he wished he’d made in the first place. 

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Will be seeing episode 2 tonight but getting a new showrunner (Charles H. Eglee) for the now official season 3 that has done good work in the past (Dark Angel, The Shield, Dexter, The Walking Dead season 1, Hemlock Grove) is a good start. 

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They didn’t do the interaction between Shadow and the Crow! FFFFFUUUUU that was one of my favorite parts of the book. 

 

The new Media is...not as good. I mean she nails the new vibe they’re going for and if she had started out as media it would have been fine. But god damn what a hole Gillian Anderson has left. 

 

I enjoyed the episode but it wasn’t one of my favorites. 

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Damn they brought the heat with that episode. If Orlando Jones doesn’t get nominated for his work this season it’ll be a god damn crime. 

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I love it when Orlando goes off on one of his rants.  I was always a fan of Anansi stories.

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Yeah, yesterday's episode was really good, which I was grateful for after all the boring table setting of episode 3 the week before. I think we can all say with certainty now that the vibe and feel of American Gods season 1 isn't gone, but very diminished but the show remains pretty good, even if everyone is ready to hate on it.

 

I'm surprised more people aren't watching it here and posting though. 

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On 3/17/2019 at 9:28 PM, Mercury33 said:

Episode 2 was solid. Moving even further away from the abstractness that was season 1. I’m not sure how I feel. On the one hand I’m enjoying the clearer vision and story that’s being told. On the other hand it’s just missing that certain feel that season 1 had. That even though everything was crazy and nonsensical(looking at it in the short term) you needed to see what was next. It was an extremely unique feeling show. 

 

Side note: I can’t wait to here Gaimens thoughts when the show ends. They are miles away from being a faithful adaptation of the book. It’s almot a completely different story at this point. I’d love to know how much of it were changes he wished he could have made to the book. I know Jesus was added in a later edition of the book so I’m curious how much is changes he ok’d for the sake of telling a story on screen vs changes he wished he’d made in the first place. 

Here are some thoughts from Gaimen https://www.indiewire.com/2019/03/neil-gaiman-american-gods-season-2-interview-1202049623/

 

Honestly you probably won't ever get his real thoughts.  I does not sound like he is super involved from that interview.  He has made a few passes on scripts, and he has talked to a few people to help give background and motivations.  As an author if he does not like the changes he can't come out and say that.  He is getting paid so there is a lot that goes into those comments.

 

I got to hear Lee Child (the guy who wrote the Reacher books) talk about a year ago.  It was interesting because he told the story of when they told him Tom Cruise was going to be Reacher in the movies.  He was basically blindsided by the news and hated Cruise for the role - but contractually he could not at the time say anything bad about the production.

 

I'm not saying that this show is bad.  I haven't watched it.  I loved the book and have been wary of watching the show because I have seen all the mess around the production.  I just don't want to stain the story in my mind.  So the show may be great, but I don't know.  I haven't watched it.

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11 hours ago, Greatoneshere said:

Yeah, yesterday's episode was really good, which I was grateful for after all the boring table setting of episode 3 the week before. I think we can all say with certainty now that the vibe and feel of American Gods season 1 isn't gone, but very diminished but the show remains pretty good, even if everyone is ready to hate on it.

 

I'm surprised more people aren't watching it here and posting though. 

 

Agreed. I will say I really missed Fuller for the first time this episode. Shadows scene with Bast. That was such a trip in the book and sooo tame in the show. And where is Jacquel? Wasn’t he in S1 but now he’s missing? Overall the interaction with Egyptian Gods has been a bit disappointing but that’s probably because it was my favorite scene in the books and they’re one of my favorite pantheons. 

 

I did love the new Gods got to stretch their legs a bit finally. And the entire back story scene about the “creation?” Of Tech boy was one of the best scenes in the entire show imo

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2 minutes ago, Mercury33 said:

 

Agreed. I will say I really missed Fuller for the first time this episode. Shadows scene with Bast. That was such a trip in the book and sooo tame in the show. And where is Jacquel? Wasn’t he in S1 but now he’s missing? Overall the interaction with Egyptian Gods has been a bit disappointing but that’s probably because it was my favorite scene in the books and they’re one of my favorite pantheons. 

 

I did love the new Gods got to stretch their legs a bit finally. And the entire back story scene about the “creation?” Of Tech boy was one of the best scenes in the entire show imo

 

Yeah - the opening scenes of his creation was awesome

 

And I also agree about where is Jacquel? It's really weird he's randomly not around. He was indeed in season 1. I definitely miss Green and Fuller but this season so far isn't the disaster it seems like people were saying it would be.

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Right, the season is legit good so far.  And in some ways its better.  It's certainly more focused and its telling a tighter story.  But everytime they try and replicate the crazy artistic vision of season 1 it just falls a little flat.  Not bad flat, just kind of "less than". Its in those scenes I really miss those guys.  I hope S3 manages to fall somewhere between S1 and 2.  That would be perfect IMO

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2 hours ago, Mercury33 said:

Right, the season is legit good so far.  And in some ways its better.  It's certainly more focused and its telling a tighter story.  But everytime they try and replicate the crazy artistic vision of season 1 it just falls a little flat.  Not bad flat, just kind of "less than". Its in those scenes I really miss those guys.  I hope S3 manages to fall somewhere between S1 and 2.  That would be perfect IMO

 

I would agree with your assessment. Charles H. Eglee (the season 3 showrunner) has worked on some legit shows during their best seasons recently so maybe he can strike that balance. 

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Last Sunday's episode may have been the most like an episode from the first season in terms of mood, tone, atmosphere, and filmmaking, and that was greatly appreciated. However, I feel as if the season is beginning to spin its wheels and not move the story forward in any significant way from where we left it off at the end of season 1 and we only have 3 episodes left.

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2 hours ago, Greatoneshere said:

Last Sunday's episode may have been the most like an episode from the first season in terms of mood, tone, atmosphere, and filmmaking, and that was greatly appreciated. However, I feel as if the season is beginning to spin its wheels and not move the story forward in any significant way from where we left it off at the end of season 1 and we only have 3 episodes left.

 

Haven’t watched it yet because of Wrestlemania but now I’m lookong forward to it. I guess it makes sense that at this point it’s starting to spin because the first half was already done by Fuller right? So they at least had some blueprint. 

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40 minutes ago, Mercury33 said:

 

Haven’t watched it yet because of Wrestlemania but now I’m lookong forward to it. I guess it makes sense that at this point it’s starting to spin because the first half was already done by Fuller right? So they at least had some blueprint. 

 

They allegedly threw out the scripts Fuller and Green wrote and started from scratch with showrunner Jesse Alexander but I imagine the further we get away from their plan regardless of whether it was fully thrown out or not, the more likely what you say is true. 

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This was a really good episode. It almost had a season 1 vibe to it, and all the stories were interesting. My biggest issue with the season is the plot just isn't moving or going anywhere fast and after two seasons of that I think it's time to start giving us some answers. I hope more people are watching, it's not season 1 but season 2 hasn't been bad at all. With only two episodes left in the season I hope things start picking up the pace. With Odin's weapon finally ready to go hopefully that's the case. 

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I think even @Mercury33 has given up but last Sunday's episode was one of the best of the season, a standout for Pablo Schreiber, and maybe the best episode of the season next to the season opener. 

 

This show does still have it, even though it's not as good as season 1 still. I look forward to the season finale and season 3, which has already been greenlit. 

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@Greatoneshere Nope I'm still here, I keep meaning to post.  I'm still one episode behind.  I really enjoyed the reforging of the spear and loved how they were able to work Shadows favorite con from the book into the show.  The previews for the Mad Sweeney episode looked amazing so I cant' wait to finally get to see it.  I'm really really enjoying this season.  Like we've both said, I miss the absolute bat shit craziness from the first season, it fit the tone of the book so well.  But I'm enjoying the actual characters and the story way more in season 2.  Hopefully season 3 can meet in the middle.  Also, for the love of god can we please get Orlando Jones some awards.  The way he moves in and out of his different accents depending on his mood is captivating to watch and listen to.

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3 minutes ago, Mercury33 said:

@Greatoneshere Nope I'm still here, I keep meaning to post.  I'm still one episode behind.  I really enjoyed the reforging of the spear and loved how they were able to work Shadows favorite con from the book into the show.  The previews for the Mad Sweeney episode looked amazing so I cant' wait to finally get to see it.  I'm really really enjoying this season.  Like we've both said, I miss the absolute bat shit craziness from the first season, it fit the tone of the book so well.  But I'm enjoying the actual characters and the story way more in season 2.  Hopefully season 3 can meet in the middle.  Also, for the love of god can we please get Orlando Jones some awards.  The way he moves in and out of his different accents depending on his mood is captivating to watch and listen to.

 

I could watch an entire show of just Orlando Jones doing monologues as Anansi. I want an Anansi Boys adaptation with him ASAP. 

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21 hours ago, elbobo said:

The finale was big pile of nothing

 

I actually thought the finale was great - the only issue with this season is the plot has been moving too slowly, but otherwise it was fun, well-shot and directed, well-acted, etc. Season 3 has to ramp up the plot considerably though. 

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