Adaptation from one medium to another is always a challenge, especially when adapting a lengthy novel into a two-hour movie, so many fans of Neil Gaiman's sprawling fantasy novel "American Gods" were no doubt pleased to hear that it was being adapted into a long-form TV show rather than the film that was originally planned. American Gods was being developed for HBO at first, but has since made the move to Starz with Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Smallville) acting as showrunners.
American Gods follows an ex-convict called Shadow as he emerges from his stretch in prison to find that the life he'd hoped to return to is gone. For lack of anything better to do, he gets drawn into a bloody feud between the old gods of America who were brought to the country by the people who immigrated there centuries ago, and the new gods that have emerged from the staples of modern American life. It's a captivating story, and we're happy to report that Gaiman is going to contribute more than just the source material.
Speaking in an interview with Collider, Fuller confirmed that American Gods is his "next deal," while he waits to find out whether or not Hannibal has a future following its recent cancelation by NBC. He also gave the impression that development is going well, and explained just how closely Gaiman will be involved.
"We are cranking away, we've got the first two scripts written already and it's going to be very exciting. It's wonderful to be working with Neil Gaiman, and Neil Gaiman's going to be writing episodes of the show, so it's going to have scope, as it should."
That means that Gaiman will write at least two episode of American Gods, but hopefully more. If nothing else, it sounds like he's actively involved with the development process.
Although Gaiman is best known for his novels and comic books, he also has experience writing for film and television that includes co-writing the screenplay for the 2007 film Beowulf and penning episodes of Doctor Who. He may end up serving a similar role on American Gods to that of author George R.R. Martin in Game of Thrones; Martin is credited as an executive producer and consultant, and has also written several episodes of the show.
Despite its grand premise, American Gods doesn't necessarily require a budget on the same scale as Game of Thrones. Most of the gods that Shadow encounters have conventional human appearances that they use to fit in with the modern world, which means that there won't need to be lavish special effects in every episode. Like Hannibal, Gaiman's novel contains a blend of reality and surreality, so Fuller seems like the perfect creative mind to adapt the show. Gaiman's involvement is just a very welcome bonus.
American Gods is expected to air on Starz in 2016.