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HBO’s Big-Budget American Gods Series Set To Run For Six Seasons

HBO won’t skimp on its previously announced adaptation of American Gods, Neil Gaiman’s award-winning 2001 fantasy novel. Not that there were any doubts, given the cable channel’s recent history of lavish productions like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Rome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network and Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions plan at least six seasons, each with 10 to 12 hour-long episodes, with a budget of $30 million to $40 million per season. By comparison, the epic fantasy Game of Thrones has an estimated budget of $50 million to $60 million.

“There are some crazy things in there,” Playtone partner Gary Goetzman tells the trade paper. “We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series.”

American Gods, which is expected to debut in 2013 at the earliest, is built on the premise that deities and figures of myth and folklore exist only because people believe in them. It follows an ex-convict named Shadow who, upon early release from prison after his wife is killed in a car crash, is hired to be the bodyguard of a mysterious con man named Wednesday. However, it’s soon revealed that Wednesday is an incarnation of All-Father Odin, who’s traveling America recruiting his fellow forgotten deities to wage an epic battle against the new American gods — manifestations of modern life and technology, like Internet, media and credit cards.

Gaiman, who’s on board the adaptation as an executive producer and writer, addressed the planned length of the series last night on Twitter: “And for those asking, No, 6 years of American Gods on TV doesn’t mean just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start.” (It’s worth noting that a novella-length sequel called “The Monarch of the Glen” appeared in the 2006 collection Fragile Things, while the spinoff Anansi Boys was published in 2005.)

Hanks, Goetzman and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson are executive producing the series.


  • Pack

    I wish the news was as good for “Fables” but between this, “Powers” and “The Walking Dead,” this really is an exciting time for fans of non-superhero comics (and with all the films hitting *theaters,* for fans of superheroes too…)

  • ShinHakkai


  • K man

    I know it’s not a short book but SIX SEASONS!?

    Jesus. Looking forward to it though.

  • Kevin M. Brettauer

    They promised Carnivale six seasons, too.

  • RunnerX13

    Wait, it’s only one book?  How are they going to get six seasons out of one book?

  • Tomfitz1

    They did?

    Damn, I liked that one.

  • Tomfitz1

    Do we know how many seasons Game of Thrones is indicated for?

  • demoncat_4

    was afraid hbo would wind up having to not only cut a lot of the stuff out of american gods but also would try and do it as cheap as possible. thus wrecking it. but hbo just proved they are willing to commit and spend some dough to make american  gods a hit even if it takes all six seasons to build a audience.

  • Anonymous

    Neil Gaiman said on Twitter he would be doing a sequel, but I’m not sure if he was kidding.!/neilhimself/status/80090403319197696

    “And for those asking, No, 6 years of AMERICAN GODS on TV doesn’t mean
    just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start.”

  • Brien Gorham

    That was my reaction too. At first I thought it was a typo and they meant six episodes. I guess they plan on expanding the universe. Gaiman’s “Anansi Boys” is an extension of the American Gods universe – maybe they’ll delve into material like that.

  • Ulysses

    a season for each book – so 7 total, but the actual 5th book doesn’t come out until next month . . .

  • Kevin Melrose

    Roughly one season per book, with (I think) A Storm of Swords split into two seasons.

  • Anonymous

    6 seasons? i wonder if it would include the grendel story and anansi boys as well…

  • Anonymous

    They need the viewers to justify it tho. Sadly Carnivale didn’t get it.

  • Anonymous

    This is actually quite exciting. American Gods is among my favorite books of all time and there is LOTS of content in the book, so I don’t feel that 6 seasons is overdoing it. In fact it could very well be the right amount, especially if they want to give the show the same fullness of back story that the book contains.
    As far as casting goes, I always pictured shadow looking like Viggo Mortensen, and Wednesday looking like either Sir Anthony Hopkins (Loved him as ODIN in THOR) or Brian Cox. Budget wise I think Cox is the safer bet.
    Also, A second American Gods book would be fantastic! I just home Neil isn’t rushed because they need content for the show. That would be a travesty, as both American Gods and Anansi Boys are quality books with a great flow to their narratives.


  • Coryjameson

    Personally I thought American Gods was insufferably boring. I wish instead HBO would develop Anansi Boys, a brilliantly written book and much more interesting than American Gods.

    The problem with American Gods was that the point of view character, Baldur, was the wrong one to tell this story. The POV characters should have been Odin and Loki. That would have made the book interesting.

  • Spikey

    ***SPOILERS*** God damn it!!!

  • Hub

    I’m entirely the opposite, I thought American Gods was interesting, cool, and well-written, while Anansi Boys was a cliché-filled one-dimensional farce, with not a single idea that hadn’t already been used better in the Sandman.

  • Kevin Melrose

    Yeah, I loved American Gods and enjoyed, to a lesser extent, “The Monarch of the Glen,” but couldn’t make it through Anansi Boys.

  • Andy

    What George R R Martin has said is that he believes he can keep up finishing the books with the TV series IF they are made like this:
    Book One- Single Season
    Book Two- Single Season
    Book Three- Two Seasons
    Books Four and Five- 3 Seasons altogether
    (The last two he didn’t say, but I’m assuming one each?)

  • Jacob

    That depends on the book.

  • Coryjameson

    You’re out of your mind. American Gods was Sandman writ boredom. It was quotidian to a fault and the climax was so absurd that one could imagine a liberal politician trying to use it as strategy to end all wars. And it’s observations about American culture were ludicrous. Only a European liberal / or a US Liberal Arts major would find American Gods insightful. Everyone else was just bored to death.

    Anansi Boys had great humor in it and the metaphysical concepts were new and interesting. I don’t know where the hell you get off saying it was cliche.

    If anything, the metaphysics in American Gods was just boilerplate Sandman stuff that Sandman did better. That Goddess/prostitute who ate guys with her Vajayjay was lifted from Clive Barker (mostly).

  • Stephen Bergstrom

    Best news I’ve heard today. 

  • Emily Jane

    So very, very excited about this! Fingers crossed Neverwhere will get the same big-budget treatment :)

  • Toneloak

    Hmmm, The book is a road story but with long stints in some locations, plus Gaiman said he cut out many ideas for the. I’m sure he and a team of writers can come up with many more topical, equally interesting and compelling themes for this series with the budget and freedoms they seem to have.

  • Alex H

    I personally prefer American Gods to Sandman and both to Anansi Boys.  The latter I thought to be by far the weakest of Gaimans novels – while American Gods was an enjoyable take on the idea of Gods as actual characters, Anansi Boys, to me, felt like a couple of vaguely interesting ideas strung together on a largely forgettable plot. 

    What American Gods has over Sandman as well, is a better sense of exploration, while Sandman you kind of take as given that “everything is true”, American Gods is a lot more interesting in that it explores those idea from the ground up without that assumption that everything is true.  The fact that Shadow is a much more human character than Morpheus also helps. 

    I literally don’t have a clue what you mean about that being a liberal strategy to end all wars as surely the equivelant of the endgame would be inciting world war, which in my experience isn’t something that liberals tend to be a fan of…  As for being insightful – I didn’t get the impression it was supposed to be, beyond vaguely saying that America is incredibly idiosynchratic.

    But there again, what do I know as I’m European and Liberal.

  • Zen Strive

    Six Seasons of Gaimness. I think I found my new Entourage.

  • Dawnell_do

    I never read the book but i’m interested in a TV series.  

  • Frankie

    Did you actually read this article? Re-read it and your question is answered.

  • Frankie

    Did you actually read this article? Re-read it and your question is answered.

  • guest

    Since the write, is the producer, he will just write more cannon. Amazing!

  • Anon

    “And for those asking, No, 6 years of American Gods on TV doesn’t mean just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start.”
    Did you not read that?

  • Szivan

    Well, A LOT of shit happens in that book. And, like Gaiman said, he’s gonna write a sequel :D