|AMERICAN GODSSEASON 3AMERICA|
Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book American Gods has had a troubled life on the network. After a successful first season, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green exited in a dispute. Season 2 showrunner Jesse Alexander left before it aired. Season 3 has dropped cast members Orlando Jones and Mousa Kraish, with Jones claiming his firing was racially motivated.
Starz President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch gave an executive session for the Television Critics Association on Tuesday. /Film asked for clarification on Jones’ firing, although Hirsch mostly backed up production company Freemantle’s version of event.No room for Mr. Nancy
Jones posted a Twitter video on December 14, 2019 explaining why he was fired from American Gods, a firing which allegedly occurred September 10. Jones said season 3 showrunner Charles Eglee told Jones his character’s anger was “the wrong message for black America.”
Freemantle responded saying the show was focusing on a section of the book that did not include Mr. Nancy. Hirsch confirmed that was the reason.
“Orlando’s a tremendous talent and actually more importantly, he’s a really great person,” Hirsch said. “The book is a very rich and dense book of story, and unfortunately the season that we’re putting up in Season 3, Mr. Nancy does not have a role in this story. And so, unfortunately, that’s the case of the book. It is one of the most diverse casts on television and we think Chic’s doing a great job and mounting a great show for us to come back for Season 3.”
Hirsch is correct that American Gods still represents a lot of diversity. Ricky Whittle, Yetide Badaki and Omid Abtahi are still main characters. Still, they didn’t fire the white guys. There are whole sections of the book Mr. Wednesday isn’t in, but Ian McShane still has a job.That still doesn’t explain ‘wrong message for black America’
Mr. Nancy does feature again later in the book, so it seems strange to terminate Jones rather than keep him available for future seasons. As for the message Jones allegedly received from Eglee, Hirsch wouldn’t comment.
“I’m not going to comment on the message that was sent,” Hirsch said. “Unfortunately, the book is a very, very rich book. It’s got a lot of depth to it. I don’t know if you’ve read it, but it’s over 800 pages of great story. And Chic and the team decided they’d be in an area where Mr. Nancy doesn’t play a prominent role. And so, that’s where we are. We think the show’s gonna be great. The fans are looking forward to coming back, and we’re pretty excited about it.”
It’s not like this adaptation has been slavish to the book. Laura Moon Emily Browning is hardly in the book and they gave Mad Sweeney Pablo Schreiber a much bigger role, so this was at their discretion. In...
When “Killing Eve” began, its title’s threat, promise, or intimation however you want to read it felt immediate — as if in any episode, at any moment, intelligence officer Eve Polastri Sandra Oh could fall prey to the inventive assassin Villanelle Jodie Comer. But such immediacy inevitably mitigated; success demanded extending their story, and the plot twisted itself into knots so the cat and mouse could work together and two award-winning stars could share the screen. A forbidden romance became a dysfunctional relationship, and the enticement of inexplicable attraction turned into a confounding inability to explain why this cop and this killer are drawn to one another.
Season 3 wisely stops trying to explain it, but it also simplifies the story to an all-too-comfortable degree. “Killing Eve” has always been a procedural at heart, first as Eve studied Villanelle’s murders to get closer to her, and then as they teamed up to track down a new, unknown killer. As much as its serialized aspects made the BBC America drama out to be a new kind of crime show, the bones of a procedural have kept it alive. Serialization got everything twisted up, and procedure is the work of detangling. What’s left may not provide the anything-can-happen rush of early episodes, but for those happy just to spend a little time with their favorite ex-agent and ultra-assassin, “Killing Eve” Season 3 should suffice. For those looking to be wowed week-in and week-out, well, it’s just not that kind of show anymore.
To say much of anything about the first five episodes would send us into spoiler territory, so here’s what can safely be said about where Season 3 stands. For one, Eve is alive. As if there was any doubt following the would-be Season 2 cliffhanger, the bullet that struck Oh’s lead detective passed through her body safely enough to keep her breathing. Now, the former MI5 and MI6 operative is tearing up chicken gizzards and pinching together dumplings in the back of a restaurant, hiding from her former life as much as her former love.
Villanelle Comer, meanwhile, is looking to be promoted. Her handler, Dasha played by new cast member Dame Harriet Walter, helps facilitate a management training period, but anyone should be able to imagine why a solo artist like Villanelle might struggle caring for others. Still, Season 3 is another Villanelle-forward entry. Perhaps new showrunner Suzanne Heathcote recognized the enticing complexity of a remorseless murderer, or simply how brightly Comer shined with the added spotlight last year. No matter the reason, Eve isn’t just kept in the back of the restaurant — she’s taken a backseat in the show. Villanelle even gets a standalone episode at the season’s midway point, right after Eve’s most substantial moment yet.
Though “The Plot Against America” took its time to get going, it’s full steam ahead for David Simon’s Philip Roth adaptation by Episode 4 — but to what end? With just two episodes to go, the drama has certainly flared up: The Levin familial bonds are being pushed to the brink as Sandy falls increasingly under Lindbergh’s spell, with the help of Aunt Evelyn and her new boyfriend Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The lines have been drawn, and it’s not looking good for either side. While this was by far the most exciting episode so far, it still feels as though Simon is obligingly following Roth’s outline rather than forging his own path.
In both the novel and the series “The Plot Against America,” there’s an unmentioned but implicit rhetorical question reaching out from beyond the page and screen. To borrow from the musical “Cabaret,” one of the only pieces of pop culture to artfully grapple with this unthinkable dilemma: What would you do? If a fascist were elected president of your country, if your sister started dating one of his shills, if your son was secretly sketching his visage by flashlight — how would you behave? Would you flee to Canada, organize the resistance, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best?
The fourth episode hones in on these questions with laser-like precision, enjoying the fruits of the preceding three episodes that felt, both in retrospect and in real time, mostly like set-up. Having returned from his “Just Folks” adventure in Kentucky, a Hitler Youth-esque recruiting tool of Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s John Turturro design, Sandy has quite literally become the poster child for assimilationist Jews. Evelyn Winona Ryder proudly features him in a brochure for the program, against Bess’ Zoe Kazan wishes.
Sandy’s transformation has been building since the pilot episode, which ended with him surreptitiously sketching Charles Lindbergh from of a newspaper clipping. Having planted the seeds deliberately, the show earns its most uncomfortable moment so far when Sandy spits at his parents, calling them “ghetto Jews — narrow-minded ghetto Jews.” His transformation is complete. When Bess slaps him across the face, it’s hard not to let out a silent cheer. Your Jewish firstborn becoming a Nazi sympathizer may be the rare instance when a kid deserves a good wallop.
Less effective is a Shabbas dinner argument between Herman Morgan Spector and Bengelsdorf, where Herman puts aside any last shred of civility to tell the Rabbi what he really thinks of his man Lindbergh. Maybe it’s the fact that only the men are talking while the women make sidelong glances of...