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Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ TV Series: HBO Explains Decision to Pass

American Gods Neil Gaiman HBO TV Series Pass
HBO / Harper-Collins

Like many other beloved novels and comes, Neil Gaiman‘s ‘American Gods‘ has long languished through the adaptation process, recently receiving second life as a potential TV series through Fremantle Media after HBO’s initial option to adapt the fantasy novel fell through. And while we’ve no word on where the ‘American Gods’ might land next, HBO head Michael Lombardo has at least offered up the premium cable’s reason behind passing on the property.

For those unfamiliar with ‘Sandman‘ creator Gaiman’s work, ‘American Gods’ follows ex-convict Shadow Moon, who partners up with mysterious con-man Mr. Wednesday (secretly a god himself), becoming embroiled in a battle between classic mythological gods who have fallen out of style, and the “new” American gods based on greed, technology and celebrity. A few years ago, HBO had in mind to develop the drama with Tom Hanks‘ Playtone, though the project eventually bottomed out.

Speaking to Vulture, Lombardo offered a bit of clarification on what ultimately broke the deal for their proposed adaptation:

I think we’re all huge fans of the book, and I think the script just didn’t — we couldn’t craft the script as good as we needed it to be. I think we knew going in that it would be a challenge; every good book is a challenge to adapt it and find the level you need for it.

The bar is high now for great dramas. And to find that bar — we tried. So it was a huge disappointment […] We tried three different writers, we put a lot of effort into it. Some things just don’t happen. We have to trust at the end of the day, if you don’t have a star with a great script, you’re just not going to go through with it.

As recently as February, an ‘American Gods’ series had fallen to FremantleMedia North America, who will executive produce the drama with Gaiman himself, for an unspecified network. FremantleMedia also has deals set up with A&E for their adaptation of French drama ‘The Returned,’ a developing drama with Spike, and formerly The CW’s ‘Tomorrow People.’

Hopefully we’ll see the ‘American Gods’ brought to life one day, but what do you think? Are you comforted to know HBO wouldn’t have adapted the novel without full confidence in the screenplay?

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