Fans of author Neil Gaiman have been waiting for an adaptation of his Hugo and Nebula Award winning fantasy epic American Gods since its publication. After multiple failed attempts, the book its finally making its way to the small screen, courtesy of Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller and Heroes’ Michael Green. The series, which will follow reluctant hero Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) as he accompanies the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) across the country in preparation for a mystical war, is easily one of the most highly anticipated new shows of 2017, and will debut tonight on Starz.
Like much of Gaiman’s work, American Gods is a fascinating exploration of faith, mythology and the power behind that which we adore. In Shadow’s world, the gods of old – from Norse, Egyptian and African mythology, among others – have been abandoned by the people who used to worship them in favor of the obsessions of the new world, from media to technology. The showrunners have compiled a cast as diverse and fascinating as the gods they’ll inhabit, and given that the first season is said to only encompass about the first third of the novel, there will be plenty of room to explore each of them in immense detail.
While the mythology geeks in the audience will spot each gods’ origins in a heartbeat, for the novices and the curious, we’ve compiled a primer on the main gods, old and new, who Shadow will be encountering on his very odd road trip.