Stuff We Love: The American Gods opening sequence is the neon haunted house of your nightmares

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Apr 12, 2017

Have you ever walked into one of those haunted houses where everything blacks out to complete darkness until your eyes are suddenly assaulted by neon ghouls? Try neon gods.

The recently released opening credits for American Gods are like that haunted house on steroids, an electric nightmare of modern technology and long-forgotten idols lit up by an unnatural rainbow of neons. Lost gods made of metal and wire transfix you with their glowing gaze. If you worship this book as much as I do, a closer look reveals heavy symbolism that makes the whole spectacle (set to an eerie musical echo reminiscent of the electro-Goth ambience shrouding Queen of the Damned) even more mesmerizing.

“Is it strange to want action figures from a main title sequence? Crucified astronauts, neon cowboys and S&M centaurs, we bow to Elastic and their spectacular vision,” said co-showrunners, executive producers and demigods Bryan Fuller and Michael Green about the inspiration that plugged them in to this pantheon of phantoms and electricity. “A totem of godly visions we didn’t know we needed to worship until they showed us the light with this clarion call to the ‘American Gods’.”

Neil Gaiman’s juxtaposition of dying “old gods” and the “new gods” that are seeping into society has been presented in a dreamlike sequence that may remind of you of the altverse of deities that Shadow often passes into. Divine entities are being taken over by technology. That skeletal tree that flashes in reds and blues through the shadows is Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life in Norse mythology—except the roots giving it life are cables and fiber-optic wires. A Greco-Roman statue majestically frozen in marble shows herself to be a Cyclops with a hidden camera for an eye. The branches of a menorah are USB plugs, an ancient face gazes emptily through a sheer veil of computer guts, and the steel specters of a neo-pyramid and sphinx loom in the radiation.

Fuller and Green’s dream vision heightens anticipation for the series, which premiers April 30, to mythical proportions. This warped amusement park is only a glimpse of supernatural things to come. You will probably end up idolizing American Gods even if you’ve never read the book—because seriously, wouldn’t want to tune into a show advertised by a neon totem pole of ghost gods with Shadow’s symbolic Thunderbird taking off over a launching rocketship?