“American Gods” thoughts, Season One, Episode Four: “Git Gone”

I’m never sure whether to be pleased or annoyed when a mediocre show finally airs an episode that warrants the praise it’s been getting from the start. On one hand, as a critic — and no one believes me when I say this, but it’s true — I’m in the liking-things business, and getting to experience art I enjoy is the delight that drives my whole career. On the other, climbing aboard an already-in-full-swing bandwagon for a show that I sincerely believed to be bad makes me feel dirty, at least until its future trajectory can be determined.

And one episode is definitely not enough to make that determination. Take Noah Hawley’s Legion, about as apples-to-apples a comparison with Bryan Fuller’s American Gods as you can get. Like American Gods, Legion was a new project from a television visionary fresh from a stunningly successful and unique adaptation of outside source material, with Fargo standing in for Hannibal. Like American Gods, Legion was itself an adaptation, of work by influential comic-book creators, with Neil Gaiman standing in for Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz (themselves working off concepts created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee). Like American Gods, Legion saw the artifice and spectacle present in the showrunners’ previous work cranked up to astronomical new heights. And like American Gods, Legion waited until its fourth episode to do something worth the extravagant praise that had been heaped upon it already.

I reviewed this past weekend’s episode of American Gods, which was quite good, for Decider. That was a heck of a Sunday night for TV, all things considered.

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