Apotheosis: Why “American Gods” is the culmination of Bryan Fuller’s career

With just two episodes, the new Starz show “American Gods” has displayed more originality, depth and complexity of tone than most TV series achieve in multiple seasons. Moving effortlessly between grim darkness and fantastical whimsy, it plunges into the multifaceted religious experience while also investigating the human experience. And although it is based on Neil Gaiman’s excellent book, this slice of television perfection could only have been delivered into a new medium with the magical realism of showrunner Bryan Fuller. Throughout his career, Fuller has shown an indelible ability to uniquely traverse between the light and dark, but it’s not until “American Gods” that Fuller was able to perfectly unify so many of his particular idiosyncrasies, obsessions and visions.

As a writer and producer, Fuller has worked on many beloved projects over the years, whether it’s his start in the “Star Trek” universe, his canceled-too-soon dramedy “Wonderfalls” or his work shepherding the cheerleader storyline in the first season of NBC’s “Heroes.” He also tried his hand with ethereal creations in “Dead Like Me” and dabbled in the comically macabre world of the Munsters with the failed reboot, “Mockingbird Lane.” But ultimately, the two shows that best reflect his ethos and duality are “Pushing Daisies” and “Hannibal.” While both cater around an eccentric cast in a sort of hyperrealistic version of life, their tones could not have been more different. And it wasn’t until “American Gods” that Fuller found a way to unify them under one story.

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