“American Gods” stars Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday. That alone is reason enough to watch the first season, but how well does the rest of the cast stack up?
Starz bought some serious acting firepower for this new series based on a Neil Gaiman novel, including Crispin Glover, Kristin Chenoweth, Corbin Bernsen and Orlando Jones. And, if you’ve ever read Gaiman, you know the entire cast will be hard pressed to make “American Gods” believable. That might be why HBO passed on this series.
So, here’s a quick rundown of the cast and what Shat On TV thinks of Starz’ decisions. Remember the Shat Score is determined by how many wipes it would take to get a performance off your bum. Zero is a perfect score; five is a disaster.
Character snapshot: An ex-con and the show’s protagonist, Shadow Moon is the strong, silent type with mixed American blood and a penchant for coin tricks.
Played by: Ricky Whittle
Previously seen in: Whittle plays Lincoln in apocalyptic drama “The 100,” so “American Gods” should be right up his ally. The real question is whether an Englishman who got his start as a Reebok model can play an everyman who represents the heart of America.
Shat Score: 2 wipes. Whittle has the perfect look for the role but can he carry a story this big as the lead man?
Substitutions: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mike Colter, Jason Momoa
Character snapshot: Shadow Moon’s wife who stumbles through his prison stint. She’s devoted and beloved but not exactly a saint.
Played by: Emily Browning
Previously seen in: Browning has big-screen experience but nothing groundbreaking. She’s starred in “Sucker Punch” and played supporting roles in some iffy movies, including “Pompeii” (aka Game of Chariots) and “Ghost Ship.”
Shat Score: 2 wipes. Browning showed in “The Uninvited” that she can play a haunting character, and her resume matches this relatively simple role.
Substitutions: Jennifer Lawrence, Oona Chaplain, Rosario Dawson, the girl from “The Ring”
Character snapshot: Mr. Wednesday is a grifter, womanizer, and all-around gritty old dude. He also happens to lead the old gods.
Played by: Ian McShane
Previously seen in: “Deadwood.” If you haven’t seen it, just forget watching “American Gods” this season and watch “Deadwood” instead. McShane also was in “Game of Thrones” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” But seriously, “Deadwood.”
Shat Score: 0 wipes. Nobody could do Mr. Wednesday better than Ian McShane, a man who simultaneously manages to be menacing, charming, crusty and sexy.
Substitutions: Jeremy Irons, Mel Gibson, Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson
Character snapshot: Mad Sweeney is a super tall leprechaun because, surprise, leprechaun’s aren’t short in “American Gods.” I feel like people always wanna flip Leprechaun lore on its head.
Played by: Pablo Schreiber
Previously seen in: You probably don’t recognize him as Mad Sweeney, but Schreiber played George “Pornstache” Mendez in “Orange is The New Black.” He also starred in the 2016 Benghazi movie “13 Hours.”
Shat Score: 3 wipes. Schreiber has Sweeney’s height and volatile nature, but does he look Irish enough? Even with gorgeously colored red hair and beard, it’s an imperfect match.
Substitutions: Cillian Murphy, Seth Green, Shane McGowan or all the dudes from Dropkick Murphys
Character snapshot: Technical Boy is a New God and a real dickhead. He’s unpredictable, dangerous, and basically represents everything old farts like Big D hate about millennials.
Played by: Bruce Langley
Previously seen in: Much like his character, Langley is relatively new to the game and doesn’t have much film or TV background. His biggest role was in “Deadly Waters,” a movie about falling in love with a siren. Like, the ocean creature, not the police tool.
Shat Score: 3 wipes. We just don’t know enough about this guy, but his promo photos seem to watch the description of Technical Boy. Honestly, I wish they’d picked somebody a little fluffier.
Substitutions: Chubby Jonah Hill, Donavan Freberg (from the Encyclopedia Brittanica commercials)
Character snapshot: An ancient goddess of love reduced to a prostitute, Bilquis takes sex on TV to a whole new level. She’s gotta be dark, powerful and irresistible.
Played by: Yetide Badaki
Previously seen in: Aside from a small role in “Masters of Sex,” Badaki hasn’t done anything to suggest she can devour men in the bedroom.
Shat Score: 3 wipes. Based on promotional stills and a smoking-hot teaser video from Starz, we’re believers. But Bilquis is a critical character in developing the dark, sexy side of the “American Gods” tale. No pressure, Yetide.
Substitutions: Rihanna, Angela Bassett, Beyonce … damn, could you imagine Beyonce killing this? WHO RUN THE WORLD?
Check back for updates as “American Gods” progresses. We’ll be adding characters to the list and want to know what you think. Comment below, and you could be featured on the “American Gods” podcast from Shat on TV.