Let’s be honest, Neil Gaiman is one of the most talented writers to exist. His writing leaps from the page, creating a visual masterpiece coupled with a compelling story witty humor and impressive dialogue. The first season of American Gods transformed me, confused me, delighted me and had me begging for more. I longed for its return and as the months (which became almost two years) chugged along, I wondered would it ever return. Heck, they have an impending War of the Gods.
As I sat down to watch the second season of American Gods, I couldn’t contain my excitement. What fun adventures would the team go on now? What possible badassness would we witness this time? Even though Bryan Fuller and Michael Green left the show, the spirit of mindblowing imagery had to remain. This is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, the source material is there to guide the way. Clearly, we would get the war promised to us. Imagine the sheer epicness of it all…just imagine…because it wasn’t there…at least not on my screen.
Picking up right after the events of season one, Shadow is still grappling with coming to terms with the true nature of Mr. Wednesday’s real identity and the impact of accepting the existence of gods and what it means for his future; making him question everything he’s known.
Unfortunately, Shadow has learned nothing as he continues living in is blissful naivete that prevents him and the show from having any real weight. This lack of understanding questions the prospect of the bond between the gods and the mortals. Without true belief, how powerful can a God be?While one can argue the philosophical relationship between a God and questionable believer, season two isn’t that deep. Instead of being treated to insightful conversations, struggles with faith or even the second coming of the Clash of the Titans, we have endless car rides, which one could argue is a metaphor for the direction of the show; traveling in circles without any direction or intent. I could feel my spirit deflate faster Kirsten Chenowich running out the door. Gone is the lush Gaiman’s American Gods, here lies regret.
Despite a new season, Shadow fades into the background looking bored half the time. There isn’t a reason giving explaining why we should care about him and his journey. This lackluster quality tragically extends to his scenes with Ian McShane who seems to be enjoying himself carrying a multitude of his scenes by himself. You can feel his charisma leap through the screen, as Shadow stared lifeless (once again). While the rest of the cast holds their own (Orlando Jones is simply hilarious), Crispin Glover as Mr. World is oozing with villain swag.
While there are moments that feel like the season is headed in the right track, there isn’t enough that will keep you coming back for more. Feeling like an unnecessary elongated version of season one, season two manages to remind us that nothing will match the creativity, visual style and original storytelling of season one.