'American Gods - Season 2' [3-Disc Blu-ray]
(Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray + Digital / NR / 2019 / Starz - LGF)
Overview: We were forged in God’s image, but the Gods are also made in ours — and in Season Two, the battle moves inexorably towards crisis point as the destinies of gods and men collide.
While Mr. World plots revenge for the attack against him in Season One, Shadow throws in his lot with Wednesday’s attempt to convince the Old Gods of the urgency for full-out war, with Laura and Mad Sweeney in tow.
A council at the House on the Rock explodes into chaos, sending deities both Old and New on quests across America that will converge in Cairo, Illinois.
Shadow is forced to carve out a place as a believer in this strange new world of living gods — a dark world where change demands commitment, and faith requires terrible sacrifice.
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth I really enjoyed the first season of the show as it mostly followed the excellent narrative and themes of the Neil Gaiman novel.
However, this second season obviously was left with a lot of story to fill for time's sake, so the plot is interrupted with a lot of political propaganda that does nothing to forward the narrative, characters or interest, in truth.
While the novel explored a variety of themes) the heavy-handedness used in the last few episodes of this second season two not only clash jarringly with where the story started, to my mind it drowned the themes the novel was written on.
Thus, and for all those of you not in the behind-the-scenes know, 'American Gods - Season 2' is a great example of how if the ENTIRE creative team from Season 1 departs that you should just end the show right there and then!
But of course today - with the endless hunger for content - that could never happen. But let's face it, we all know that Season 1 was sensational.
The digital effects were off the charts excellent, the roles were perfectly cast and the characters uniquely written, but most of all there was a dark, witchy energy seldom seen on television: the Gods were intimidating.
Oh, not to mention aloof, cold, imperious, dangerous, seductive, scary, and sexy!
All of that is gone in 'Season 2,' replaced by a show that seems to aspire to the chirpy patter of 'The Magicians' and shows the Gods with far too many smiles, laughs, and soap opera-worthy facial expressions!
This new effort by the team and the actors to humanize the Gods admittedly works intermittently, but not overall, sadly. Put it this way, the "secret sauce" found within the first season has been heavily diluted and spread too thin here in the second season.
Meanwhile the writers seem to know of the problems, but readily dust over them hoping that the on-screen antics move fast enough that whatever you were thinking about has quickly gone.
Such as in the third episode of this second season when Media reappears, rechristened as New Media, after Tech got wind of her new incarnation, and he asks: "How is that an upgrade?"
This is a clear reference to the fact that Kahyun Kim - and really through no fault of her own, and enduring a tired harajuku girl costume - doesn't hold a candle to the first season's BRILLIANT, departed Gillian Anderson (and lest we forget Old God Easter, Kristin Chenoweth has departed too!).
But, as noted, 'American Gods' isn't all that bad. A true fight between the Old Gods and the New Gods, the series questions our believes and keeps us on the edge of our seats with its breathtaking visuals and cinematography.
The scene with Laura Moon laying on the field of flowers was just beautiful, it has to be said. And there are many scenes that will keep you guessing as to what's coming which is always a burst of giddy pleasure when it comes to shows like these.
Another way to look at this series is that it exposes myths and superstitions that have been embroidered in American culture and which melt here in the most imaginative and surrealist of manners.
Ergo, and for that alone, the show is visually astonishing. The storyline vague at times, sure. The characters shallow, especially here in the second season, sure.
But then I'm guessing that that is precisely how it is supposed to be for its structure borrows from the Greek and other mythologies (think, for instance of the Mabinogion) where Gods, heroes and simple mortals get entangled in plots that, unbound to any notion of logic or realism, may well appear childish absurd to a modern day audience.
In closing, 'American Gods - Season 2' is bizarre, strange, weird, lopsided, weakly scripted, explosively colorful, and yet at all times extremely well crafted with a premise, that we give power to that in which we believe, setting the roadmap for our own journeys through life. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
'American Gods - Season 2' [3-Disc Blu-ray and 3-Disc DVD] will include "The House on the Rock: Setting the Stage" featurette, "The Second Coming: Neil Gaiman on Season Two" featurette, and a "Gods and Ends: Musings from the Cast" featurette, and will be available for the suggested retail price of $34.97 and $34.98, respectively.
Official 'American Gods - Season 2' Trailer