Monday, 26 June 2017

The Crude Deception of American Gods

If you follow this site, you’ll know I keep things simple. American Gods was marketed as an exciting and complex TV show, the adverts quoted: “a show to rival Game of Thrones”. The trailers looked quality and the production had good pedigree. Plus, it has Ricky Whittle as a lead. I was intrigued and hopeful.

The first episode was a dreamlike wonderland, chiseled as the shows lead. Followed by a few more of similar format and subject matter, presented was a show that was free from narrative cohesion and industry convention. But it seems that was all a ruse.

The multiple storyline did intersect, with the seemingly detached introductory segments linking in to the core scenario on occasion... which really is both a cop-out and a wasted opportunity.
The main talking point, the vagina-devourer, shrinks to be insignificant and left behind until the finale. The reasons behind that can only be negatively received.

Zombie-girl had the most screentime in half of the episodes. Not what I or anyone else should have came for, considering the zombie genre is one of the most saturated.

The advertising was only accurate for the first three episodes. We got a show that wasn't advertised.
Ultimately, the show kept no promises, even if it didn’t make any. Promises are what the consumer buys on. American Gods didn’t have any promises outside of it’s first three episodes – after which point, cliffhangers and context were mute. By doing so, the show didn’t create a consistent and loyal relationship with the viewer.

For a TV show to be enduring, it must provoke conversation, please expectations (even through subversion) by presenting some form of reliability .. And have more than 8 episodes scheduled for its first season. When a show is only ‘active’ for 2 months, there’s lesser chance of gaining traction.

The two-month mark is the time for a TV show to gear up for some sort of finale, it shouldn't have already happened. It’s a bad strategy. Look at the first season of Game of Thrones, a good 10 episodes. The Flash and other big shows have seasons of 20-23 or 28-30 episodes. This format accounts for the ‘perfect ten’ paradigm and brings in multiple finales by way of mid-season breaks.
Fox’s Empire had a first season that stretched over the duration of a year. This enduring approach made people think and talk about the show more, waiting for and excitedly anticipating future episodes.

The eight-episode series format was recently popularized by Netflix binge watching and, as such, is destined to suit shows that are more modest and not released as a serial. Logically, American Gods was planned a bit wrong.

I’m not sure what’s happening with American Gods.. I’m not even sure that I know what was happening in it. I can’t expect that I ever will.

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