Devastating news for American Gods fans as co-showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green exit the series after one season.
No other show on television captured, enthralled, or piqued my interest quite like American Gods. And now, all the excitement for season 2 is drifting away.
Variety broke the story this evening, citing “clashing with producer FremantleMedia over budget and creative direction.” The showrunners reportedly sought an increase in the budget for season 2 that would supersede the estimated $10 million per episode.
What does this mean for the show?
As of right now, no replacement for the series is in place. No matter who replaces Fuller and Green at the helm, the vibe and creative intent will not be the same. The production value of American Gods is one of its best assets. The other is the incomparable cast and creative team in front of, and behind, the camera.
During the day-long press junket Hypable attended last spring, one thing was made clear in every single interview — In Fuller and Green We Trust.
They brought with them a pure fascination for the words and worlds of author Neil Gaiman. Gaiman, who met with several people over many years, found in Fuller and Green a duo who could make American Gods work on screen.
During the press junket interview with Gaiman he recalled, “Bryan was great, but he was also very, very human.” Fuller admitted in their meeting that he was not sure what he wanted to do with the series. He didn’t know how to make it. But this wasn’t just another job for the sake of having a job. The pure love of the material was there.
“[American Gods] resonated for Bryan just as much as it did for me and that he wanted to make it,” said Gaiman.
Fuller wanted to bring the women of American Gods into the spotlight of the series. It is Shadow Moon’s story, but what about Laura Moon? What about Bilquis? Fuller and Green made a choice to open those doors and tell those stories. And the world of American Gods, one I did not think needed any changes or improvements, is so much better for it.
And that attention to their stories, to finding out who these women are, resonated not only with Gaiman, but with the actresses brought in to play these roles — Emily Browning and Yetide Badaki.
From our interviews with the actresses the simple act of listening made all the difference. Fuller and Green came at the roles of Laura and Bilquis with open minds. “They made sure absolutely that we were comfortable with everything. And one thing that’s incredibly freeing is that no one, not once ever, made a comment about how we were supposed to look,” said Browning. “There was never any concern that they were going to do a bad job of writing these women.”
“Bryan Fuller is one of the biggest allies of woman,” noted Badaki in her interview. “[He’s] someone that really, truly is interested in the female experience. I think that’s something really fascinating about someone saying, ‘I don’t know what your experience is. Tell me.’”
In my initial review of the series, I said, “Watch and pay attention. With only eight episodes for the first season, every single detail matters. There is no room for filler. Each word, lingering pause, and drop of blood adds to the richness of a world I can’t imagine living without.”
I can’t imagine living with only eight episodes of this series. This series not only provided extraordinary television, but so much more. My collegue, and dear friend, bonded over this series in a way that I cannot begin to describe. The experience of watching, rewatching, and talking about this show with her was on a level that I do not think can ever be recreated.
I know some people will say, “Star Trek: Doscovery went on without Fuller, why can’t this.” And to that I say, American Gods might live on. But I doubt it will ever recapture what Fuller and Green brought to the show.