American Gods: Series vs. Book


Even the most Neil Gaiman loyalists are in for a pleasant surprise. 


In 2001, acclaimed author Neil Gaiman released American Gods, a fantastical and genre-bending story that centered on new and old mythology. It was published with high praises, so any adaptation is clearly in for some harsh criticism. And yet, writers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have come out to the other side almost unscathed.


American Gods, as Gaiman puts it, is “‘a big book about America, and about the things that people brought to America from all over the world, and especially the gods that they brought with them and then abandoned. It is also a book about the new gods that were arising in America – the gods of telephone, of media, of the internet, of Wall Street.”


It helps that Fuller and Green are self-proclaimed fans of Gaiman’s work, but they did take some creative freedom in terms of making American Gods more relevant to a modern audience. We’ve broken down the differences below. 


There are more female leads.

Laura Moon, Bilquis and Audrey have a larger story arc in the series than they did in the book. Fuller believed that, at this day and age, it was vital to give women a larger role. We completely agree. 



Technical Boy is more heartthrob than basement-lurking creep.

In American Gods, Technical Boy is a nerdy and overweight boy who lives in his basement and is basically an internet troll. But in the television series, he is all quaffed hair and swagger. And if we’re being completely honest, it’s appropriate. Those with digital know-how do control a lot of our world now, and we praise them for it too. 



Mad Sweeney got a makeover too.

In the book, Mad Sweeney had a trucker-trash look going for him, which Fuller and Green rightfully updated. When Gaiman wrote the book, trucker hats were the thing to wear and be seen wearing. But now, Mad Sweeney is decked out in hipster-trash aesthetic. We repeat, completely appropriate. 



It’s going to be cut short, but all the stories will be explored.

Fuller and Green have admitted that the show will cover just the first third of American Gods and will stop at the House Of Rock. Those who’ve read the book might agree this is a good idea, as the book is packed with so many ideas that it sometimes felt too fast-paced. The series, on the other hand, is unafraid to linger in the stories and characters.


American Gods is currently slated for eight episodes. The first, which was premiered at the SXSW festival in Texas, was positively received. See the trailer below. 








Leave a comment