News

American Gods SXSW Premiere Reaction: Fans Worshipful of 'Bloody,' 'Beautiful' Series Opener

Starz series' first episode mesmerizes appreciative Austin audience.

by | March 11, 2017 | Comments

Ian McShane, Ricky Whittle in American Gods (Starz)

Highly anticipated Starz series American Gods premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. The long-awaited adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel played to a packed house. Organizers even brought in extra chairs to squeeze in a few more fans.

Bryan Fuller and Michael Green produce the show. Ricky Whittle stars as Shadow Moon, a convict who gets released a few days early when his wife Laura (Emily Browning) suddenly dies. On his flight home, a stranger calling himself Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) hires him as a bodyguard for a mysterious job he hasn’t quite explained yet. Shadow will find out that he is embroiled in nothing less than a war between gods!

Rotten Tomatoes spoke with fans after the screening, and followed the response on Twitter from both fans who’ve read Gaiman’s book and those who went in blind. Below are some of our favorite reactions.

Be sure to read Rotten Tomatoes’ interview with Fuller and Green here.


Cheyenne (right) and Jo (left) Koerth were both fans of the book and were pleased by the adaptation’s diverse cast.

“I loved the expansion of the female characters,” Cheyenne said. “I thought that was awesome.”

Jo added, “I’m really excited to see the different ethnicities of characters. That Shadow wasn’t the white guy was really exciting.”

On Twitter, fans also appreciated the updates made for 2017; for example, Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) has a more virtual reality–friendly surprise for Shadow when they first meet.


American Gods the series may be more graphic than even Gaiman’s words suggest. It opens with a bloody ancient battle among gods stranded on a beach and includes a graphic supernatural sex scene. Still, the fans appreciated the beauty of those extreme images.

Zontee Hou, who’s normally sensitive to blood and gore, found herself moved by the show’s images.

“I thought it was really beautifully shot,” Hou said. “I’m not normally a fan of over-the-top violence, but in the same way as Kill BillTarantino’s usage of the blood bathing over the people, there’s a scene where the blood shoots over Shadow. I actually found that very compelling. It was kind of over the top and a little gross, but also really cool.”

Kate Parsons also read the book and recognized some of the images in Shadow’s dreams.

“The special effects were pretty great, what I think is supposed to be the World Tree, and the buffalo,” Parsons said.


More fans heaped praise on the trippy visuals of American Gods on social media.


Some fans came to the new series purely as a fan of Fuller, who with American Gods, expands his portfolio of weird and wonderful TV, including HannibalDead Like Me, and Pushing Daisies.


Ben Vance (pictured with Kate Parsons below) found the show full of surprises.

“Bryan Fuller is amazing,” Vance said. “Just watching that, I was blown away. The directing is incredible. I didn’t know what to expect from one moment to the next, so it was really fun.”


Fans in the crowd were excited to see the stars of American Gods up close.


Ian McShane, Cloris Leachman in American Gods (Starz)

As satisfied as the fans were by the first hour of American Gods, it only left them wanting more.

“I’m waiting to see the development of the characters that we didn’t get a chance to meet yet,” Cheyenne Koerth said. “Just the interplay of those characters who we met already, and how they’re going to adapt such an expansive novel to a TV format and how they’re going to keep book people guessing as we go through.”

Laura only appeared as a voice on the phone and a dead body in the premiere, so Jo Koerth is waiting to see more of her.

“I really want to see Laura Moon,” she said. “She was one of my favorite characters.”


Orlando Jones in American Gods (Starz)

Kate Parsons felt the casting was perfect and can’t wait to see them continue their roles.

“I’m a big fan of the cast, so I’m really excited to see what they did with Ian McShane, seeing what they do with Mr. Wednesday,” Parsons said. “They were talking about really strengthening some of the female characters as well and that’s really exciting.”

Hou feels she got a sense of where the show was going based on where it begins.

“Each of the individual journeys is very intriguing,” Hou said. “I think you see a lot of opportunity for development of each of them. The interplay with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday and the side characters they’re introducing, you just say, ‘Ooh, I want to know more about who that person is.’”

American Gods premieres April 30 at 9 p.m. on Starz

Tag Cloud

NBC anime 2015 war children's TV 4/20 Musicals PaleyFest Crackle Winter TV Showtime adventure PBS documentaries Video Games Animation TLC screenings CMT indiana jones Trivia Sci-Fi Classic Film doctor who Mystery renewed TV shows CBS All Access crime Chernobyl Holidays Masterpiece PlayStation GoT hispanic RT21 X-Men 20th Century Fox 2017 Christmas anthology crossover blaxploitation MSNBC Apple TV+ name the review Super Bowl VH1 Certified Fresh discovery New York Comic Con Heroines Interview 71st Emmy Awards Lionsgate spinoff 2018 dramedy dogs Binge Guide boxoffice ABC Family Disney werewolf Opinion indie vampires Election Sony Pictures Pop TV Thanksgiving 007 Spectrum Originals award winner SXSW Academy Awards LGBT Grammys Ovation Lifetime medical drama A24 Trailer Amazon Prime true crime richard e. Grant criterion Calendar Song of Ice and Fire Star Wars a nightmare on elm street DC streaming service 2016 all-time Disney Plus BAFTA Anna Paquin reboot Rocky psychological thriller spanish language Year in Review Syfy scary movies cops GIFs Cannes adaptation Disney+ Disney Plus Sundance Premiere Dates romance Lucasfilm Turner Hallmark Christmas movies TruTV latino twilight strong female leads versus Television Academy Family Paramount Network Discovery Channel talk show miniseries comic Brie Larson Kids & Family IFC Acorn TV Disney streaming service Logo blockbuster TIFF Comedy Central disaster Extras spy thriller APB documentary Spring TV Captain marvel Apple TV Plus Watching Series TCA Marvel Television GLAAD IFC Films Black Mirror Creative Arts Emmys Avengers kids FX on Hulu Peacock dc based on movie casting batman crime thriller Nickelodeon BBC America Vudu Summer Mary poppins films VOD Rom-Com Bravo Film The Walking Dead cars Cartoon Network BET YouTube Red Columbia Pictures Britbox jamie lee curtis Musical screen actors guild period drama zombie Sundance TV Podcast Music Film Festival harry potter ratings Photos halloween Set visit TCM Marvel SDCC sequel Polls and Games 2020 Adult Swim TBS AMC Starz binge Red Carpet zombies San Diego Comic-Con mockumentary 24 frames Fantasy LGBTQ natural history Holiday transformers Pirates canceled TV shows science fiction Horror Star Trek dceu Elton John WGN National Geographic Hallmark Ellie Kemper chucky Mudbound Superheroe Netflix festivals Awards Tour child's play Nat Geo justice league TCA Winter 2020 Sneak Peek Travel Channel movie Reality Character Guide Tarantino Teen CW Seed Mary Tyler Moore political drama franchise dragons series cancelled social media romantic comedy Valentine's Day Winners unscripted Marathons FX Tumblr universal monsters asian-american RT History BBC Baby Yoda Reality Competition Universal Pop Tubi First Reviews OWN President Tomatazos parents cinemax NYCC Marvel Studios Nominations Box Office Trophy Talk Apple Drama nature news docudrama crime drama Comedy south america concert critics quibi American Society of Cinematographers El Rey what to watch Quiz YA Lifetime Christmas movies Rocketman Best and Worst BET Awards Western cults WarnerMedia CNN Sundance Now Action TCA 2017 composers Amazon Prime Video ABC historical drama police drama comics diversity TV Shudder Women's History Month ITV The CW USA Network 21st Century Fox stoner History YouTube 2019 FOX game of thrones Arrowverse rotten movies we love Epix teaser USA spain foreign Netflix Christmas movies aliens green book Fox News Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Warner Bros. Pixar book Paramount HBO Martial Arts Emmy Nominations Biopics Toys Schedule stand-up comedy christmas movies sitcom Country mission: impossible Freeform Stephen King DC Universe cancelled TV series die hard Dark Horse Comics Esquire facebook Fall TV OneApp BBC One MTV DirecTV robots elevated horror animated Rock SundanceTV space Infographic Disney Channel The Purge TV renewals biography Countdown Ghostbusters technology Hulu cats See It Skip It dark sports travel comiccon The Witch serial killer directors E3 Comics on TV cooking Black History Month Food Network free movies FXX The Arrangement Amazon HBO Go Pet Sematary mutant theme song psycho sag awards Crunchyroll Superheroes Pride Month E! joker Emmys Oscars 45 revenge independent slashers Amazon Studios Shondaland Hear Us Out comedies satire video on demand canceled Awards reviews Spike Mindy Kaling ghosts game show MCU video streaming thriller tv talk toy story finale spider-man First Look hist Walt Disney Pictures ESPN TNT singing competition YouTube Premium Comic Book CBS best politics VICE DGA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cartoon supernatural DC Comics A&E television Funimation cancelled television zero dark thirty Turner Classic Movies witnail breaking bad HBO Max Cosplay Mary Poppins Returns TV Land movies golden globes Endgame cancelled TV shows Writers Guild of America