First Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was going to be adapted into a TV series by HBO. Then it wasn’t. Now someone else has picked up the rights to the title, and hopefully that means we’ll see something come of it in the near future.
The company that bought the rights is FremantleMedia North America, and they’ve signed Gaiman on as an executive producer. It will be interesting to see what direction he takes the series in should it finally happen, on account of last time it seems part of the problem was that HBO didn’t like some of the creative departures he took from the source material:
“I wrote this first draft script that I loved. One of the reasons I loved it was because I go to do all this new stuff that wasn’t in the book. I got to open it up. Look, the book begins with Shadow in prison, about to get out of prison, so I opened the [pilot episode so] you got to see the bank robbery that went wrong, you got to see all the things that wound up with him in prison you got to see his entire three-year stretch in prison… you’re half an hour into this thing before he’s getting out of prison – stuff like that – and it was definitely the sort of awkward, embarrassed notes from HBO where they’re going ‘Um, can you make it more like the book?’”
It’s interesting that HBO would take such a purist attitude, given that it can be pretty darn difficult to adapt a book to a TV series without mixing things up a bit. Game of Thrones has been pretty faithful to the original novels, but even that series has made some significant changes to accommodate the reality of putting stuff in an hour-long serialized TV format.
No timeframe has been given for when we might hear about the renewed efforts to adapt American Gods, or even what network it might end up on, but hopefully the gods of television will smile upon us soon and grace us with some more details.