All posts by Gene Lyons

American Gods cast starts strong, but we have concerns

“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.

Shadow Moon

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

Laura Moon

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”

Mr. Wednesday

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

Mad Sweeney

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

Technical Boy

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.

Zilpha Geary isn’t dead. She’s Taboo’s most important character

Zilpha Geary’s suicide scene pissed off a lot of “Taboo” fans. We witnessed her grow over six episodes, cheered when she pushed a needle through Thorne’s heart and gasped when James finally rejected her love. And then the show’s writers threw her off a bridge.

Oona Chaplin didn’t have a Zilpha Gearyclose-up to explore the pain on Zilpha’s face before she leapt. No flashback surfaced to illustrate better times between James and Zilpha. The woman we thought would be key to James Keziah Delaney’s heart wound up being a footnote in the show’s history.

But what if we were wrong? What if Zilpha Geary is Taboo’s most important character?

Think about it: Who else shows us so much turmoil on screen? Who else can crush James or elate him? Who else kills with such glee and transforms with a taste of blood? And who else has fans hungry for more?

Zilpha isn’t gone, not by a long shot. She could have faked her death. She could have been abducted. She could have attempted to leave a secret message in her suicide note. Or, even if Zilpha is dead, she could delightfully spook us forever as a ghost in James’ head.

Why would Taboo waste time on Zilpha Geary?

Taboo’s first season weaved mystery, horror, action and romance in just eight short episodes. That left no time for filler episodes or self-indulgence. Every minute had to be important, and Zilpha devoured a lot of those minutes. Continue reading Zilpha Geary isn’t dead. She’s Taboo’s most important character

MIB is actually a grown-up Logan

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Hey guys, love your podcast. I, too, have subscribed to the William is the MIB since early in the show. However, episode 9 changed my mind completely. I now believe, with almost near certainty, that the MIB is actually a grown up Logan. It seems very clear to me now and I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Here are my reasons:

The MIB is clearly a man with considerable means and power. This would have been a full 180 from William (who has had to work hard for his position and is of a more gentle nature). However, this is right in line with Logan. If you think about it, if Logan grew up, became slightly more serious and mature but his innate nature stayed the same you have the MIB. Heck, he even looks more similar to the MIB than William does (the only thing I cannot reconcile is the brown to blue eye issue). Also, Logan was always wanting to go out into the far corners of the park. He didn’t want anything to do with the vanilla story lines. He wanted to dive deep…..which is exactly like the MIB.

The MIB tells how shocked he was when he saw Maeve show signs of true emotion and humanity….if this were a grown up William, why would he be shocked at this? He’s already seen and believed in the “real” emotions and humanity of Delores.

When Delores, supposedly present day, is in the church in Escalante, she hears someone at the door and she says, hopefully, “William?” yet is obviously terrified when she sees it is the MIB. This not only shows that she is scared of him like she would be scared of Logan, but it also shows the MIB has NOT been coming to the park living a second life with Delores all these years, otherwise why would she be scared of him? She would, however, have a visceral fear of the MIB/Logan.

So here is my theory: William obviously goes a little nuts in this episode, but I believe he still loves Delores,…maybe now more crazily than ever. Logan blames this entirely on Delores. There is going to be some big showdown and I predict that Logan will be the only one coming out alive. Delores will be killed on the beach where she “saw” herself dead in the water, however, she will of course be brought back to life to resume her sweet little loop once again. William will be killed at the Abernathy ranch. I think he will try and get back to Delores after she has been reset from being killed on the beach, Logan will try to stop him and William will end up dead. Not before the pic of Juliet that Logan carries around is dropped in the dust to be uncovered years later by Delores’ father. Which brings us to the current timeline.

…Not to mention, on Reddit there is talk that Jimmi Simpson does NOT have a renewed contract for season 2 but Ben Barnes does.

drop mic

Thanks again, guys! Great podcast for a great show. Can’t wait for next Sunday!