We often read or watch reviews of film and television from a male perspective. I watch a lot of television shows that my male friends watch, but few female friends view.
First and foremost, let me just say I have been a huge fan of the fantasy novel genre, and specifically a Neil Gaiman fan for a long time. His books have rarely failed me. One aspect that has always stood out for me obviously is the consistent presence of strong female characters such as Coraline, and Lucy from the Wolves in the Walls.
In this adaptation of Gaiman’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning book by the same name, we are introduced to a cast of characters both human and gods old and new. Shadow Moon (Ricky Wittle) , our protagonist, is soon to be released from prison. He his life is about to be totally upended in a pretty harrowing manner.
Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), the leader of the “old gods” is ready to swoop in and catch the falling Moon. Low Key is Shadow’s cellmate, but even as he is left behind, his name hints that we will see him again. Technical Boy, the digital small wonder of the new gods is cocky and power hungry. The Old Gods and the New Gods are in full view, flaunting their powers, their wit and, of course, their struggles and insecurities as well.
The attention to detail and adherence to the dialog of original story was, at minimum, lovingly crafted. Each character was introduced into the fight, either sparring with clever monologues and jibes, or literally with fists.
This show is not for everyone. Its gory, there is promise of some wild sex scenes, and it’s just plain weird. For those who know Bryan Fuller’s (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) and Mike Green’s (Heroes) work, you will see familiar tropes and design.
That gore was apparent in the opening scene, which offers no glossed over version of history. It’s a harrowing tale of the first visitors to the land that is now America. Scarred and scabbed, Vikings land on this unforgiving Island.
Horrible and beautiful at the same time, and feeding the needs of their god. And boy, do they demand sacrifice. When first impressions prove deadly for one of the crew, the rest are ready to bail, and call upon their god using any means necessary.
The final offering including life, limbs and blood bursting like wine from bloated casks.
But, the piece de resistance was the Bilquis scene, otherwise known as the Orgasm of Death. Fans on Twitter agreed that the scene asserted the Goddess in her rightful position, on top, as her sacrifice submits to her wholly. This battle cry of the “pussy grabbing back” could not have come at a better time. I haven’t asked yet if they guys are creeped out or as entranced as the “victim”. And frankly I don’t care.
The juxtaposition of power was both sexual and powerful, and well played. Bilquis slayed in a way none of the men could. While there are big names headlining many of the major roles, the name Yetide Badaki will be on every fan’s lips. Don’t try to mansplain this one. 😉
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to see the further adventures of Shadow Moon and Mr. Wednesday. I gasped after the last scene. Not because of the gore at the close of the episode, but because it was only one hour long, and we haven’t even met all the gods and goddesses yet.