Cast: Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Ian McShane
Release Date: October 17, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9/10
When Shadow Moon is released from prison, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and a storm begins to brew. Little does Shadow know, this storm will change the course of his entire life. Left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife, and suddenly hired as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard, Shadow finds himself in the center of a world that he struggles to understand. It’s a hidden world where magic is real, where the Old Gods fear both irrelevance and the growing power of the New Gods, like Technology and Media. Mr. Wednesday seeks to build a coalition of Old Gods to defend their existence in this new America, and reclaim some of the influence that they’ve lost. As Shadow travels across the country with Mr. Wednesday, he struggles to accept this new reality, and his place in it.
Based upon the acclaimed novel of the same name written by Neil Gaiman, the first season of the new Starz Original Series ‘American Gods’ introduces viewers to Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), an ex-convict granted an early release from prison following the untimely death of his wife. Immediately after his release Shadow is thrown into a world of mystery, unbelievable occurrences and what just might be magic after a seemingly random encounter with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) leads to Shadow agreeing to assist the peculiar individual with his current secretive activities. Yet once their journey begins, Shadow quickly learns that he may have signed up for far more than he had initially bargained for.
‘American Gods’ is a stunning piece of television that combines an intriguing plot, a barrage of visually gorgeous imagery and plenty of heart. Yet it’s also never the slightest bit afraid to take things to a dark and brutal place while somehow always managing to keep even the most graphic of content feeling artful and fitting within the larger overall scope of the story. It’s a moving and touching tale that takes many pre-existing myths and legends and then merges them within our own world and manages to form them together into a brilliant series that never pulls its punches and always looks truly gorgeous and impressive around every turn. Unfortunately I haven’t yet had the chance to read the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman (who also serves as executive producer on the series) which serves as its inspiration but after the stunning first season of the show I will certainly be doing so sooner than later. Even while I can’t confirm just how true it stays to the source material, I feel as if hardcore fans of the novel or Gaiman’s work in general who haven’t yet had the chance to give the series a whirl will still likely want to try and nudge that up their priority list. I would strongly recommend giving ‘American Gods’ a chance if you haven’t already had the pleasure and are likely to appreciate a fantasy like tale inspired by many previously existing legends that is equal parts gorgeous and twisted, along with fans of the talented cast members and/or the ever impressive work of Bryan Fuller (creator of the deliciously demented series ‘Hannibal’) who serves as co-creator and regular co-writer on the series along with Michael Green (Smallville).
This 3-disc Blu-ray collection for ‘American Gods: Season One’ should also have little trouble pleasing fans of the series that are excited to finally own the debut season. The release offers impressive high definition video and audio presentations on all eight included episodes, in addition to an intricate making of documentary ‘The Road to American Gods’ which runs nearly 2 and a half hours, along with more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). Altogether it should easily make this solid release a must own for the majority of fans who still try and collect their favorite shows on Blu-ray.
Overall, the first season of ‘American Gods’ serves up a tense, brutal and visually stunning ride that will keep you guessing as it plays tricks with the viewer as much as it does our lead character Shadow. Chronicling the epic confrontation between the old gods and the new, it’s a breathtaking, at times unsettling and always beautiful piece of television that frequently feels more like a cinematic experience in its scope and detail. It’s a passionate, dark and just flat out fantastic show that feels like it’s only going to become increasingly better as the story progresses. Fans of the series who caught the first season during its initial run on Starz (or at some point since) and are certain to find themselves wanting to revisiting it time and again will likely want to purchase a copy of ‘American Gods: Season One’ on Blu-ray at some point. The Blu-ray release of the show’s debut season offers impressive high definition video and audio presentations on all eight of the season’s episodes in addition to a noteworthy collection of extras that fans likely won’t want to miss out on; all spread between 3-discs for optimal quality.
The Blu-ray release of ‘American Gods: Season One’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the debut season’s episodes. The video presentations look outstanding as a whole and provide sharp, detailed and richly colored presentations on each episode, with no notable faults to be uncovered throughout. They hold up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving sequences and never allow anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are fantastic high definition video presentations that should easily satisfy fans of the series.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on all 8 Season One episodes. These lossless multichannel soundtracks offer hard hitting, clean and smooth audio presentations on every episode of the season. They constantly take advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, nature effects, crowd chatter and a great deal more throughout the various speakers regularly, and never causing any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, these are wonderful and quite aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtracks that perfectly compliment the series.
The Blu-ray release of ‘American Gods: Season One’ includes some impressive bonus content that fans of the series won’t want to miss out on. Included on the release are ‘2 Audio Commentary’ tracks on the pilot episode, in addition to a ‘God Squad Video Commentary’ on the season finale (episode 8). We are also treated to an in depth 8-part making of documentary ‘The Road To American Gods’ (running approximately 2 hours, 27 minutes in length) which explores the process of adapting the book and bringing the series to life and features tons of interviews/comments with the cast and crew, along with behind the scenes footage and a great deal more. Also included are a collection of additional behind the scenes Featurettes: ‘Title Gods’ (running approximately 8 minutes), ‘American Gods Origins’ (approximately 16 minutes), ‘Old Gods’ (8 minutes), ‘New Gods’ (5 minutes), ‘What Is American Gods?’ (5 minutes), ‘Book vs. Show’ (4 minutes) and ‘Explore the Crocodile Bar in 360 Degrees with Commentary by the Cast and Crew’ (6 minutes).