It’s official: Tom Hanks’ Playtone and HBO are set to produce a six-season series adapting Neil Gaiman’s epic road novel,American Gods, to begin in 2013. Each season would be 10-12 hour-long episodes with a budget of around $40 million. And, as if $3 million per episode and six seasons weren’t enough good news, Gaiman himself has been retained as the writer and executive producer, ensuring fans will be getting what they expect from the show.
Gaiman is famous for his work across a broad swath of media. His first major hit was the graphic novel, The Sandman, published by DC and then Vertigo, from 1989-1996. Gaiman’s stories were complemented perfectly by Dave McKean’s surreal art, catapulting the series onto the New York Times bestseller list, coming in at 46 on EW’s list of “100 best reads from 1983 to 2008″.
Following up that success was string of novels, short stories and poems that run the gamut from the mundane to the completely fantastic and also includes television episodes, most recently Doctor Who, and movies like Coraline. To top it off, because being rich, talented and worshiped by millions of fans wasn’t enough, Gaiman recently married Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer. Yes, his life is cooler than yours.
It certainly seems that a sprawling novel like American Gods is more suited to this format than to a single film, but a six season schedule from the outset seems frighteningly optimistic and ambitious. That being said, there’s little that Hanks and HBO have touched of late that hasn’t been absolutely stellar.
What do you think? Too much to bite off at once? Will Gaiman be able to deliver his vision on the small screen as effectively as he does in print? I’m curious to see who they come up with at casting time. The sheer number of characters and appearances in the book means they will have an opportunity to bring in a ton of people for major and smaller roles.
As a fan of his work, I am excited beyond belief that this project is going to happen. And now, we wait.
More info on American Gods, and other works by Neil Gaiman