Via The Hollywood Reporter:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions is set to produce an open-ended series, American Gods, for HBO, based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, while the company’s next project, Major Matt Mason, is in talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct in 3D, Playtone partner Gary Goetzman told The Hollywood Reporter.

The series-in-development, revolving around the question “are you a god if no one believes in you?” is executive produced by Goetzman and Hanks, with Bob Richardson, and Gaiman on board as executive producer and writer.

Now slated for six seasons, each season will be of 10-12, hour-long episodes with a budget of around $35-40 million per season, targeted to debut on the cable powerhouse in 2013 at the earliest.
Rich in religious folklore that spanned millennia and featuring deities from Greek and Nordic mythology, and even the Judeo-Christian monotheistic God making an appearance, in the contemporary U.S., American Gods will be effects-heavy to do justice to the awe-inspiring power of the divine beings. “There are some crazy things in there. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series,” said Goetzman.

With the screaming success of Game of Thrones, it was inevitable that HBO would dip their pen back into the endless inkwell of classic speculative fiction. This time around, it looks like that will be tackling another of my favourite narratives, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

The obvious hitch, here, of course, is that American Gods, though complex and layered, is not long enough to support six seasons of television. This makes me wonder whether the first season or two might not cover the novel and then move beyond to cover content included in Anansi Boys, some of Gaiman’s short fiction and, of course, storylines exclusive to the television series. I’m worried, too about how well the story and the characters will translate to the screen. Much of Shadow’s appeal in the novel was his enigmatic personality and some of the novel’s greatest twists might be more difficult to pull off under the more direct narration of television. Ideally, I’d love to see the show follow a format similar to The Wire, exploring a new facet of the world, a new story arc and a new cast of characters with each season.

Of course, as with anything Hollywood/TV, it’s best to take this news with some tempered expectations and enthusiasm. These things have a habit of falling through before they ever materialize.

  • Scott June 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I think Gaiman actually said yesterday that 6 seasons wouldn’t just be one book, and that he was going to “get writing”…so I guess we’ve got a sequel coming. While they MIGHT incorporate some of ANANSI BOYS, I doubt they’ll use much of it, since it doesn’t star Shadow…but they might use it for a post-AG Anansi storyline.

    At any rate consider me excited they are going to do a series and that Gaiman will be writing more AG books!!

  • jens June 13, 2011 at 10:29 am

    …while the company’s next project, Major Matt Mason, is in talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct in 3D…

    so, no 3D for the Gaiman project

  • aidan June 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Thanks, Jens. Apparently it’s too early in the week to be parsing new. Removed that comment.


  • jens June 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

    your welcome… love the blog btw

  • aidan June 13, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Thanks! Looking forward to running into you on future blog posts!

  • Margaret McGriff June 13, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I don’t blame HBO with pulling from the Fantasty fiction pool to form another series! I’ve also been meaning to get around to reading the book!

    Thanks for the info and hopefully this one pans out!

  • Miles June 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I’m -not- looking forward to the inclusion of ‘God’ in the series, however, as he didn’t make a damn appearance in the book for a very good reason!

  • James June 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    HBO has gone this route before with Carnivale, but that did not end well. It was canceled two seasons in with the ending nowhere in sight.

    American Gods could probably fit rather nicely into a single season and if they added content, they could stretch it out to two, but the whole six seasons thing makes me a bit wary. Obviously they are adding a lot of content, but I have to wonder if they are adding it to the novel or placing it after the novel. I don’t want to see American Gods stretched out over six seasons, I would get bored of that fast, but I would love to see it continue on after the events of the novel come to a conclusion. We already have a pseudo-sequel in Monarch of the Glen, they can expand on it.