Feb 4 2014 9:58am

American Gods Coming to TV! Now with Bonus Anansi Boys!

neil gaimanOK, so Anansi Boys probably won't be the musical we're longing for, but according to Neil Gaiman's latest blog post, it will be a TV show! UK's Red Productions will be bringing it to the screen, and presumably the rest of the world will get it soon after. In other fabulous new, we are getting the American Gods adaptation...eventually. While HBO's production has fallen through, Fremantle Media, which produces The Tomorrow People and the upcoming series The Returned, will be working to bring the show to life soon. Gaiman wrote about the new deal on his blog, regretting that the old work with Tom Hanks' company Playtone had ended, but saying, “Stefanie Berk, who had been one of the brightest stars at Playtone, had recently moved to Fremantle, and was as determined as she had been when she was at Playtone to bring American Gods to the screen. And I was impressed by her determination.”

Soon our televisions will positively burst with the dramas of old gods, new tech, and divine karaoke! 

Colin R
1. Colin R
So I like American Gods a lot, and generally Neil Gaiman is an entertaining read (and narrator, as I have listened to most of his books on audio books as well.)

But I look to adaptations of these stories with a little bit of trepidation. I can't be the only person to notice that Gaiman sort of has issues with female characters, right? It seems like a running theme in a number of his stories that a male protagonist has to escape his emasculating girlfriend/fiancée/wife in order to discover his true, magical nature. I don't look forward to women having to step into those roles.
Colin R
2. Tumas
@1: At least Gaiman's Coraline was a great female character, and the adaptation didn't shy away from showing it.
Colin R
3. UnRiel
May I be the first to propose that the casting of Shadow should be Joe Manganiello from True Blood? He's big and muscular and looks like a Norse God's scion.
Colin R
4. Puff the Magic Commenter
@ColinR: Nope, pretty sure it's just you. Most of the heroic roles in Sandman are women. Mayhew in Neverwhere couldn't survive without Door and Hunter. Tristran literally chains himself to one woman to prove his manhood to another in Stardust. Strong females throughout Good Omens. Shadow doesn't want to be quit of his wife. Fat Charlie's problems are with his father, brother and boss...

What are you talking about?
Colin R
5. Colin R
Anansi Boys was where it really stuck out the most--Rosie doesn't really exist as a person so much as an object for the brothers to contend over; her cuckolding of Charlie has nothing to do with her and everything to do with humiliating him. Then she moves on to be a standard imperlied woman to be rescued by the brothers. Ultimately Fat Charlie has to let her go and grow as a person.

Which is not terribly different than the thankless role of Jessica in Neverwhere, who at the beginning mostly seems like a nag, and then is simply there basically as a symbol of the 'normal' life that Mayhew is leaving behind now that he has found a new magical life. True, the Hunter and Door are interesting and active characters--but why frankly do they (or the story) need Mayhew at all? He is ultimately the viewpoint character, and they are catalysts for his personal growth.

I like American Gods a lot, but Laura's role is kind of bothersome too--her cuckolding of him and subsequent death (which are really the same thing, since she literally died while cheating on him!) serve mostly as an impetus for Shadow to wander the world without attachment. As much as she exists as a character, she's solely interested in protecting and making amends with Shadow.

So there's this pattern over a few books of female characters sort of being in orbit of the male protagonist, serving as instruments to his personal growth rather than existing as people in their own right. I'm not familiar with Coraline or Stardust, so I can't comment on those. Good Omens I don't particularly care for, and as far as I can tell the best parts of it were written by Pratchett.
Colin R
6. KellyKel

As a woman, I appreciate what you being aware of representation of females in fiction. I really do. But like others have mentioned here, I've found numerous "strong female characters" in Gaiman's work. :)
Steve Oerkfitz
7. SteveOerkfitz
From the producers of The Tomorrow People? That is a terrible show. Doesn't bode well for American Gods.
Colin R
8. Colin R
Sure. I don't think there's a contradiction between "Neil Gaiman has written some problem characters" and "Neil Gaiman has written some good female characters." I'm hardly saying he's a bad person or author. But, it's worth talking about, and I was mostly thinking of the novels mentioned in the article, particularly Anansi Boys.
Colin R
9. Jason McD
But even if Rosie isn't a strong female character, wich I'm not sure I agree with, you still have Daisy who very much is, and Maeve who saves the day. It's not like Gaiman's female characters are all hothouse flowers. And you also have Idris from Dr Who who is a very strong female character.

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