HBO Plans 6 Seasons Of Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 21st, 2011 at 2:58 pm,

american gods hbo neil gaiman HBO Plans 6 Seasons Of Neil Gaimans American Gods

After the continuing success of Game Of Thrones, HBO is planning yet another high-profile fantasy series. American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel, is currently in development.

Production duties will fall to Playtone, the production company started by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Films in Playtone’s resume include Hanks-heavy features like Cast Away and The Polar Express, not to mention high profile HBO projects such as Band of Brothers, The Pacific and John Adams.

The series is currently being planned out in no less than six seasons of 10-12 episodes each. The budget for each season will be in the $40 million range, with a heavy emphasis on CG. The earliest that American Gods would grace the airwaves would be 2013.

The central premise of American Gods is that gods and other mythological figures are real in the modern world, but their power and influence depends on the belief of humans. Obviously, that puts some gods in a tight spot due to modern sensibilities. Deities from the Greco-Roman, Nordic, Hindu, Egyptian, and Judeo-Christian pantheons all make an appearance. (Supernatural fans, hold your applause.)

anthony hopkins odin thor HBO Plans 6 Seasons Of Neil Gaimans American Gods

Mythological figures like Odin (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in 'Thor') are the central characters of 'American Gods'.

In addition, new gods have sprung up, thanks to America’s  restructured belief in things like the Internet, drugs, and celebrities. The central conflict of the book is a brewing war between the old gods and the new, played out in various locations across the United States and the world.

In keeping with the current trend, American Gods is not a “clean” fantasy story. Though the themes are lofty, the setting is current, and sex, drugs and rock & roll are present throughout. Given HBO’s generally uncompromising attitude towards storytelling and the adults-only nature of Game Of Thrones, fans of the novel should expect a faithfully explicit retelling.

Cinematographer Robert Richardson first brought the project to Playtone. Richardson is the veteran of impressive visual movies like Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill and Shutter Island, so expect American Gods to look fantastic, regardless of casting or story.

American Gods will be the third Gaiman novel to be adapted for the screen, following feature films Stardust and Coraline. Fans of Gaiman would do well to check out the recent Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Wife“; the British author collaborated with the producers to write the script. Various other Gaiman projects are currently optioned for films or series, including Death: The High Cost of Living and The Graveyard Book.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. Yet no Preacher. :(

    • American Gods is a miserable, depressing book. What is HBO thinking?

      • I guess the dark comedy in American Gods was a bit much for some people. For the subject matter the book was pretty funny. Those not used to Gaimans way of making light of religion may find it dark. However The inside jokes for those not Killing infidels in the name of our lord may get a kick out of him.

      • You’re right, all of HBO programming is positive and uplifting: OZ, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Paradise Lost, and Six Feet Under.

        They really have no business making “miserable” literature into a television show based on a Hugo Award-winning writer.

        • I am trying to figure out what part of American Gods was so miserable? Although dark at times, it’s a very uplifitng story, but you gotta read the whole thing. Maybe that’s the problem, it was too long for some folks. It’s nice to see different religions written about, and the fact that mankind had begun worshipping media and material things….ain’t too far from the truth. I gotta go, my iphone’s timer is telling me my dinner has been cooked in the stove and it also has told me a favorite television program is coming on….

      • I didn’t find it to be miserable or depressing. Gaiman has a massive following that will watch this in droves. I am very interested too see what they come up with.
        HBO has an incredible track record, as does Gaiman. To go ahead and green light six seasons at $40 million each, with the amount of vetting required to get on HBO, is no small feat.
        So to answer your question: HBO is probably thinking that it would like to produce a show created by one of the best fiction writers of our time. I suspect they will make a lot of money doing it. I for instance, will subscribe to HBO when this show airs.

        • So happy to know about this! Neil Gaiman is one of the very talented writers nowadays. And I’ve just read the first three chapters of American Gods. It’s pretty interesting.

      • Go read a My Little Pony book if you want rainbows and sunshine. While American Gods may not be his best novel, it’s still a fantastic read. I guess you just don’t like good literature.

      • Yeah, well, screw you too.

    • American Gods Sucks. Gaiman is a hack and a crazy cult member. Go back to your Scientology friends and leave us alone.

  2. Great news!

    But you weren’t completely accurate: Neverwhere was also adapted as a mini-series – was very good!

    • Neverwhere is a TV miniseries, later adapted as a book.

      • Actually, you’re wrong. Neverwhere was in fact a book first. It was Neil Gaiman’s first full length published novel if I am not wrong. It was LATER adapted into a Miniseries.

        • Hate to be that person, but the series was in fact first. He was asked to write a show idea about the homeless in London, and shazam Neverwhere was born. The miniseries came out in the fall of 96 and the book shortly after. Which is why it is one of the few shows to almost perfectly match the book.


          • Responding late, but whatever, somebody may still read this. He wrote the book as the show was being produced, they were cutting ideas from the series and he wanted to retain a ‘complete’ version. Can’t wait for this!

  3. American Gods is a GREAT novel. Too bad I don’t have HBO lol.

  4. HBO is sure getting all the good properties to work with lately. Great move on their part.

    Maybe Sandman is next. One can only hope…

  5. So HBO is planning 6 seasons of 10-12 episodes each from a single novel [American Gods] while we get GoT seasons of no more than 10 episodes announced piecemeal[for a 7 book series]. What’s up with that?

    • Right though? I don’t know how they plan to make it that long. Unless its just 5 seasons of shadow driving about.

  6. Can’t wait to see this. We are one step closer to a sandman tv show.

  7. Very cool. Given what HBO has done with Game of Thrones and True Blood, I doubt readers will be disappointed. Now, any chance HBO or Starz might do a new adaptation of Neverwhere. Loved the book but the series was far too hampered by budget constraints.

    • HBO lit a spark…damn them if they dontn make these series…….Neil Gaiman.,,,god…i would like this series…my favorite novel…i just hope they dont mess it up! Btw got a facebook grp for this series……and we all love the idea!

  8. HBO has produced some of the best series imo. They have provided where Hollywood has abandoned us. In HBO We Trust!

  9. I read the Wiki description and this novel sounds awesome, I just have to finish books 3-5 of A Song of Ice and Fire and I can start it!

  10. get your facts right, Neverwhere has been adapted too, for the BBC.

  11. Neverwhere was a novel adapted from a TV series, not the other way round.

  12. This is going to be much anticipated.
    Anticipating nothingness.

    Any news now?

  13. Tom Hanks admitted he has not even read American Gods. Richardson and Gaiman are Scientologists and they’re pressuring Hanks by having their Sea Org staff spread this crap all over the web. This is a Scientology lie.

    • Gaiman himself is not a Scientologist, his father was and his sister (last time I read) was head of a church. Gaiman doesn’t identify any religion from what I’ve read, none of his causes or comments have ever pointed to Scientology, exactly what crap are you speaking of?

  14. Neil Gaiman is underwriting Scientology. Not only is Gaiman listed in Scientology’s Cornerstone Newsletter along with Mary Gaiman, (contributing $35,000.00 in 2009), Gaiman gave half a million In 2010 to the Scientology Super Powers Center. Mary Gaiman was awarded the “Gold Humanitarian Award” for her contribution of $500,000.00 to Scientology. This contribution was made by The Blank Corporation, Gaiman’s company which he owns with Mary. The Blank Corp is Gaiman’s Scientology front and how he pays the cult. The Gaiman Family are listed as Silver Meritorious for that year in Scientology’s own magazines (Impact 123). These listings mean that Gaiman can reincarnate into another Scientology family, according to the Cult’s bogus teachings.

    Gaiman will never leave the cult because he is the vitamin heir of Scientology and a spineless weakling. The Gaiman family owns G&G Vitamins which reaps 6 million a year from selling The Purification Rundown Vitamins and Gaiman’s two sisters, Claire Edwards and Lizzie Calciole are not just high-ranking Scientologists, they are the Head of Recruiting and the Head of Wealden House ( the Scientology stronghold in East Grinstead where Gaiman was an Auditor). These two high-ranking Scientologists cannot associate with Neil unless he is in good standing.

    There is a clear money trail leading to Gaiman. All documents are available on Wiki.

  15. Why bother starting to watch this? HBO will pull the plug like Rome, John From Cinncinati, two seasons in.

    • and deadwood after three series:-(

    • Rome was written to only be a 2 seasons show. Look at how it had a definite end. Also John from Cincinnati was garbage. Thank God they canceled that turd. Now if they’d just get rid of True Blood already. That show hasn’t been good since the fifth episode of season 1.

      • Actually Rome could have lasted much longer, the only reason season 2 ends so conclusively is that the writers were told about the cancellation while writing season 2 and they compressed their ideas for seasons 2,3 and 4 into season 2. just look how quickly they get through the plot towards the end.

  16. 3rd????
    maybe strictly novels, but Neverwhere was a mini series, and Mirrormask was a movie, both written by Gaiman…

    • My thought’s exactly.

  17. The only problem with American Gods is that there aren’t actually any American gods in it.

    • If I remember the subtleties correctly, the deity characters were those that were echoes and memories of the original deities “brought over with” immigrants and the like. At the end of the book, Shadow has a conversation with another version of Odin, in Norway, who semi-explains this.
      So technically, they were “American” versions of foreign gods.
      Of course, I could be way off.

    • I’m pretty sure that American legends/heroes like Johnny Appleseed and “Whiskey Jack” (was he American? I don’t remember for sure) count.

      • Well to be sure I’m not entirely sure who Whiskey Jack was. I assume some kind of Native American deity or something along those lines.

        • “Whiskey Jack” = Wisakedjak. Wiki it.

    • They were all american gods. That was the point. They were all aspects of their original selves bought over by the belief of the people who originally came to america.

  18. Any update on this, since this post from a year ago???

  19. Hi, did you know that BBC adapted Neverwhere too?

  20. u guys its a tv show. but how do any of u know what is and whats not? u dont . shutup let all express their artistic beleifs it may not be true but thats why its a fantasy dumasses!!! proly most comments are some ignorant non beleiver its not gonna hurt anyone to to express religion fantasy wise. sweet im watching it !!

  21. I adore American Gods, but why six seasons of it? The book is not overly long and, without excessive fluff, it’s not going to be a six season show. I read the book in a few days. Why would I devote years of my life to watching an adaptation that will in no way compare to the original?
    (Also, no Greco-Roman gods featured in the novel at all, unless the throw-away comment about possibly included them. I sincerely doubt it, though, since Gaiman did his research).

  22. I’m really excited about this but no one here has pointed out the challenges (right word?) of turning a 400 or so page book into 60+ hour long TV episodes

  23. Oh, came on… don’t worry… just forget about this show and when critics and audience agree in theirs good opinion… you will join the mass… as always happens…

    Gaiman is misserable and depressive???? Just keep on reading best sellers and leave the real world for adult people…

    You’ll love it, and curiously, you’ll forget your words… thanks (American) God we still will have the internet to identify all the pagans…
    Just waiting exited for news!

  24. As of March 1st of this year, Gaiman himself stated that yes, HBO IS doing a series.

    The opening episode[s] will be the first few chapters of the book, with a few new elements and story hooks introduced.

    The first two seasons will be “American Gods” as it stands as the current book.

    By the time those are done and over with, Gaiman plans to have the sequel he’s been promising written and released… and the remaining four seasons they have planned will encompass that book. There’s also a sequel novella (“The Monarch of The Glen”)I have just recently got my hands on, but I’ve not yet read which very well may be utilized as the transition in the series between the two novels.

    Everyone is hoping that it can be launched this year. Neil is still working on the pilot, and hopes to have it completed to HBO’s satisfaction fairly soon.

  25. Youre wrong, its not the third to be adapted. Neverwhere is was a miniseries.