(Originally posted as a news post by yours-truly over at my other site, comicaddicts, and yes, I know that between that and articles for bleedingcool and this blog it’s little wonder a never post as often here as I’d like!)
Ladies and gents, I couldn’t wait to share all this awesome news with you!
For anyone that knows me, I’m a complete and total Neil Gaiman fan, he is the kind of writer that I struggle and aspire to be and pretty much every book he’s written is somewhere on my favourites list, most fairly high actually.
Thus far his original work has been also in the form of the Coraline movie and the criminally under-appreciated Neverwhere mini-series that I almost didn’t even know about until I was bopping around the inter-webs!
In any case, this week there was not one but TWO huge announcements regarding both his most acclaimed literary work and the one that is a personal favourite, news that was revealed back to back in a flood of Gaiman news that overwhelmed me with school-boy like giddy joy and now has me eagerly awaiting the result.
First up was the announcement on Monday of the his first huge literary success (not including the critically acclaimed and seminal Sandman comic series), American Gods, a massive book that took mythology and modernity and exploded them into a fantastic little tale through spirituality, religion and life itself. The 2001 novel has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation
to battle the new deities. According to CBR:
FremantleMedia North America has acquired rights to adapt Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods for television.
Although many might not know FremantleMedia by name, they will no doubt recognize the programs it produces. Though it’s best known for reality television like Amercian Idol, The X Factor, America’s Got Talent and game shows like The Price is Right and Family Feud, the media conglomerate has recently taken steps into scripted television, producing The Tomorrow People for The CW with other shows in the pipeline, including Basket Case at Spike and The Returned for A&E.
American Gods was in development at HBO up until November 2013, when Gaiman confirmed on a Reddit AMA that the series, though still in development, had changed hands.
“There is an American Gods TV series in the works,” Gaiman wrote in the AMA. “It’s no longer with HBO. The moment that things are ready to be announced I am sure they will be, either legitimately or via a leak in a big Hollywood Agency mailroom.”
Although FremantleMedia picking up the rights to American Gods is a step in the right direction for the series to get to air, it’s still very early days and no other details about timing or a network were divulged.
Granted, the studio being the guys behind those hallmarks of (ugh) reality programming, does make me a tad uneasy. On the other hand, Tomorrow People has been slow and not great but showing some potential and if nothing else, these guys have the money to make it happen for damn sure! I would have preferred HBO who is known for some pretty quality programming, I’ll reserve judgement for now.
The second big news didn’t wait at all for any of this to die down and in fact decided to ride the wave of Monday’s announcement and on Tuesday we were all greeted by the following which I came across also on CBR:
…news from none other than the author himself that his Anansi Boys is being developed as a BBC miniseries.
There are no details, other than it’s being produced by RED, the U.K. company behind such television series as Queer as Folk, Bedlam and Blood.
“Yes, I’m really thrilled about both of these things,” Gaiman wrote on his blog, referring to American Gods and Anansi Boys. “Freemantle has the harder task, as they are going to have to open up American Gods into something bigger than the book. RED are just going to have to make an absolutely brilliant faithful version of Anansi Boys.”
Released in 2005, Anansi Boys is a follow-up of sorts to American Gods, centering on Fat Charlie Nancy, who attends the funeral of his estranged father to discover he was a human form of the trickster god Anansi. What’s more, Charlie learns he has a brother named Spider, who inherited some of their dad’s abilities.
Adapted in 2007 as a BBC radio play, Anansi Boys was being developed for film as recently as 2010. However, in 2011 Gaiman revealed a TV miniseries was more likely.
Personally, while I love the intense, layered and awesome saga that is American Gods, I’ve always been partial to Anansi Boys for many reasons not the least of which is my propensity for quirky fare with humour and some bite but also that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just a blast and a half!
So in the end, I’m happy for both and am looking forward far more to the Anansi Boys adaptation because I have a lot more faith in the BBC than in Fremantle by far.
What about you?