Ms Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 3 Review (Spoilers)

  • Series Title: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Season: Series 3
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: ABC (Australia)
  • Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Ashleigh Cummings, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, Anthony J. Sharpe
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Series 3 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries includes two arc plots: Phryne’s father returns, and, separately, Dot and Hugh prepare for their wedding. Phryne’s father, Baron Harold Gordon Fisher, is a card player, a gambler, and a rake. Even Phryne isn’t sure she can trust him. He arrives in Melbourne, financing a famous magician, but seems to be in serious trouble. Harry and his problems are important to several episodes in the season, including the finale. Hugh meanwhile had proposed to Dot last season. This season the two are determined to get married and set the date. They experience a few issues and problems, but the final episode sees the two married!

The individual stories this season also were better than last season, I felt, although there were good stories in season 2 as well. The reoccurring issues with Phryne’s father, and Dot and Hugh having problems even getting married, though Hugh’s parents disapprove, leads to issues. But the young couple prevails. Phryne and Jack are also more romantic this season, and Phryne is much less likely to chase any convenient man she comes across.

As in previous seasons, the mysteries take place in a variety of settings: a traveling magic show, a championship tennis invitational, a scientific society awards night at a local observatory, The Grand Hotel, a pair of warring Italian restaurants, a women’s health clinic for “hysterical” women, the streets of the poorest section of Melbourne and the hospital van treating the street kids, and an air force base. Phryne, Jack, Dot, and mostly Hugh have their hands full. Hugh is missing from two episodes, he’s sent on a fishing trip. But he returns even more determined to marry Dot. While Hugh is gone, the replacement constable also hits on Dot but she turns him down flat. We even learn Phryne’s one weakness.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a wonderful show. The women are strong, independent, and capable. Jack is adorable with Phryne – and he has learned to let her have her head on an investigation. Hugh is still a bit more traditional, but he respects Dot and her career choices. The costumes, wardrobe, wigs, and hats are beautiful, especially Phryne’s outfits. The settings are beautiful and filled with excellent historical detail. The format of the mysteries themselves are more in the “British cozy” vein, but that isn’t a slight. This is a fun, light program. Series 3 is like series 1 in that it’s a bit darker, with the season-long arc about Phryne’s father. Dot and Hugh’s upcoming wedding counterbalances the darkness of the other season-long plot, however.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is highly recommended.

Read My Review of Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Read My Review of Series 1 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

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Book Review – Doctor Who: Luna Romana

  • Title: Luna Romana
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Matt Fitton
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Romana I, Romana II, Future Romana, Fourth Doctor, Stoyn
  • Cast: Lalla Ward (Romana II), Juliet Landau (Romana I, Future Romana), Terry Molloy (Quadrigger Stoyn)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/27/2018

Luna Romana is a two-disc Big Finish Companion Chronicles story. It features Lalla Ward as the Second Romana and Juliet Landau as a future Romana and as the first Romana, a role originated by Mary Tamm. Tom Baker does not actively play the part of the Doctor (his voice is not present on the audio) but this story is firmly set in the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who, and Terry Molloy plays the villain. Each of the four episodes in Luna Romana is set in a different time and place, so I did have to listen to this audio twice to figure it out, and even then I found it a little confusing.

Part 1, after a short intro in which future Romana reflects on her early days with the Doctor, has the first Romana and the Fourth Doctor landing in ancient Rome to track down the Sixth Segment of the Key to Time. The Doctor takes in some local theater, but Romana is quickly bored by the coarseness of the play, so she decides to explore the nearby temple dedicated to the moon goddess. She finds a hidden room, and a very precise instrument to track the position of the moon and the calendar. She also finds a strange man, well, six of them, all with the same face. This man threatens her.

In part 2, the Second Romana and the Fourth Doctor land in what Romana takes to be ancient Rome again, but they quickly discover to be an amusement park on the moon: Luna Romana. The only person left in the park beside automatons is an insane Time Lord, named Stoyn. Stoyn’s been trapped on the moon for 2000 years. His only company is a time-space visualizer, which constantly shows the Doctor’s adventures. Stoyn has developed quite the hatred for the Doctor whom he blames for his predicament. Once the Doctor and Romana arrive, he takes the Doctor hostage. Romana quickly rescues him. However, during the resulting fight after Stoyn realizes that Romana disabled the robotic guards with her sonic screwdriver, Stoyn falls through the Time-Space Visualizer, which shatters around him, and into a time tunnel. Then Romana arrives. Realizing that she remembers seeing herself, this other Romana urges the Second Romana to jump through the time tunnel – which she does.

Back in ancient Rome, Romana lands on the temple roof, and nearly falls off, before being rescued. She and the Doctor discover the Key to Time, but it’s the Fifth Segment which they already have. Earlier Romana had let the “injured” Time Lord in the TARDIS to use the Zero Room to pull himself together (literally – the six identical men were splinters of Stoyn who was splintered by the journey through the broken Visualizer). But the TARDIS is stolen. Fortunately, the Future Romana sent the TARDIS back from the moon.

There is another confrontation on the moon, and this time the Doctor and Romana succeed in defeating Stoyn for good. Both return to ancient Rome, where the Doctor encourages an ancient playwright. The Doctor, who had been nervous about completing his mission for the White Guardian, realizes he can’t avoid it any longer. And Romana, in her future version, is more confident in herself and assured of her past lives and adventures.

I did listen to this audio adventure over a week ago (thus the April posting date on GoodReads). It was a good story, but a bit confusing in places. Lalla Ward does an excellent job telling the story, however, as does Juliet Landau. Terry Molloy is suitably angry and crazy as Stoyn (Molloy is known for his portrayal of Davros in “Genesis of the Daleks”.) Recommended. I still, though, prefer the single-disc Companion Chronicles but I do like the entire premise of the series as “missing adventures” and stories told from the point of view of the companion.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order Luna Romana on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Witches of Lychford

  • Title: Witches of Lychford
  • Author: Paul Cornell
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 04/15/2018

Witches of Lychford is a short book and first in a trilogy. Three women all return to their home town, a small English village, and become unlikely allies in a battle against Sovo – a supermarket chain that wants to build a store in the village. One of the women had actually never left. Judith lives in the village and always had, and has a slightly abusive husband she would never leave. Lizzie returns to the village as the new Anglican priest, but she is having doubts about her faith. Her former best friend, Autumn, has also returned and opened a “New Age” and witchcraft shop. Autumn and Lizzie had a falling out years ago, partially because Autumn was always logical and scientifically-minded. Lizzie is shocked, therefore at the type of shop that Autumn now owns and runs.

But the three all, gradually, deal with the traumas in their past, open up to each other, and work to stop Sovo, which is up to a great deal more than just “bringing progress, jobs and modernity” to the small village of Lychford. It seems the village is a lynchpin – holding a dark, supernatural world at bay. Autumn, who disappeared for two years, had actually literally fallen in to “fairy land” which was not a wonderful place but dark and scary. Lizzie had accidentally pushed her fiancé in front of a car. The accident changed her life. And Judith – Judith is also hiding a secret that is only revealed in the last few pages of the novel.

The story brings these three characters together, and they learn to trust each other. They also learn about the supernatural world from Judith – though each has an affinity for it in their own way. The developing friendship makes the story work. But this also feels, not so much as an “unfinished” book, but definitely the first part of something. I will need to read the next too volumes to see how interconnected the story is. But for now, I enjoyed Witches of Lychfordas a story of the unlikely friendship of three women who are “sisters-in-arms” in a battle against dark forces.

Recommended.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 2 Review

  • Series Title: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Season: Series 2
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: ABC (Australia)
  • Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Ashleigh Cummings, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, Anthony J. Sharpe
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries does not have a season-long arc like series 1 did, and I missed that. Phryne trying to find out what had happened to her sister, between individual cases and mysteries gave series 1 a darker edge. However, series 2 is still enjoyable. I liked this light, and fun mystery series set in Melbourne Australia in 1929. Phryne Fisher is a modern woman, a “lady detective” and still meddling in the cases of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Phryne and Jack are still dancing around their mutual attraction. Dot and Hugh are now a couple, and Hugh eventually proposes to Dot. Dot accepts him immediately, but then some of the complications of their relationship come to light – they decide to have a long engagement.

The episodes are completely separate this season, with no connecting arc. Each story puts Phryne, Dot, Jack, and Hugh in a different setting: a gentleman’s club, a football club (Australian rules football or rugby), a high fashion salon, a winery, a seaside carnival, an automobile race, a medical college, even a silent movie and a radio station. The settings are varied, but the plots tend to be very similar: there’s a murder, somehow it involves one of our main characters (including Jack being called in because he’s a police officer), our four characters work to solve the case, rushing to the scene if they aren’t there already, revelations are made, and the murderer is revealed and caught. In that respect, this series is more like the “English cozy” style of mystery story than anything more hard-boiled. But, again, that isn’t a slight. Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is light-hearted and enjoyable to watch – and there’s always Phryne’s wonderful dresses and hats to look at! Phryne herself is modern, intelligent and capable. Dot (Dorothy Williams) has come out of her shell.

The finale of the season is an honest-to-goodness Manor House Mystery, set at a mountain chalet during “Christmas in July”. Phryne, Dot, Mac, and Aunt Prudence arrive because the chalet is near Prudence’s gold mine, which she plans on selling, so she needs to sign some papers to dump it. The mine has been closed for years, so it appears to be worthless. When our characters arrive they find someone at the house died in a “horrible accident” – falling and getting electrocuted when decorating the Christmas tree. However, it wasn’t an accident. When there’s a second murder that night, everyone decides to call the police – but the power goes out and the phone line is cut. The next day, Jack and Hugh arrive, stating they barely got through and the road was closed behind them. They are cut off. There are several more murders and attempted murders, all to the theme of “The 12 Days of Christmas”. However, there is something more sinister going on, related to the mine collapse years ago that killed all the miners and caused the mine to be closed. It’s a brilliant finale!

I still highly recommend Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and I’m glad I can jump right into Series 3.

Read my Review of Series 1 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Outlander Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: Outlander
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  5
  • Network:  Starz/SonyPictures
  • Cast:  Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD (R1, NTSC)

Season 3 of Outlander begins with Jamie and Claire separated and living completely separate lives. Jamie survives Culloden and joins up with a few additional survivors. The British army finds them and executes all the surviving “rebels” save Jamie. By an incredible act of luck, one of the British officers is the brother of an English officer whom Jamie spared a few years earlier. Owing Jamie a debt of honor he captures him and does not kill him. Jamie is on the run for a few more years, before being captured and sentenced to jail.

Claire meanwhile returns to her own time. She, her husband, Frank, and her daughter, Brianna, are living in Boston, where Frank is a history professor at Harvard. Claire is in a prison of her own, trapped in a loveless marriage. She eventually enrolls in Harvard medical school and becomes a surgeon, one of the first female surgeons in the US, at Boston General Hospital. But she and Frank are not happy. The discuss divorce once, but Frank won’t hear of it – fearing Claire will take Brianna from him. The second time the two discuss divorce, Brianna is eighteen. Frank intends to divorce Claire and marry his long-time mistress, one-time grad student and now a linguistics professor. But Frank is killed in a car accident shortly after the discussion. Claire and Brianna return to Scotland and Roger, to try to find Jaime. They discover he survived Culloden and was jailed, but when the jail was closed, they find no evidence that Jamie was “transported” as an indentured servant.

Meanwhile, we discover what Jamie’s up to. Jamie had become the leader of the prisoners in his jail, and reluctantly befriended both governors of the prison, the second is John Grey whose life he had spared so many years ago. At one point, a man is found on the moors muttering about treasure and a white witch. This motivates Jamie to escape, which he does and he finds the island the man’s mutterings lead him to – but not Claire. He does find a treasure, but hides it again, taking only a single sapphire. When he’s recaptured he gives the sapphire to Grey, telling him the treasure box was empty. Much later, the prison is closed. Rather than turning Jamie over for transportation, Grey has him change his name and gets him a job as a groom (stable hand) in an English landlord’s house in England. Jamie does well there and eventually is bribed into having sex with the Englishman’s young daughter (it’s complicated). The girl is married off to a much older Earl and is soon pregnant. The Earl doesn’t believe that he’s the father of the child. The girl dies in childbirth, and during a struggle between Jamie, the girl’s distraught sister, and the two sisters’ parents – the Earl is killed. Jamie’s child, Willie is taken in by the sister. Soon after Jamie leaves.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Roger drops by – and tells Claire and Brianna he has found Jamie, he was a printer in Edinborough twenty years after Culloden. Brianna convinces Claire she must try to be with her one true love. Claire succeeds in her journey through the stones. She finds Jamie right away, and the two are happily reunited. Jamie is a printer, a smuggler, and also printing “seditious” pamphlets and helping what remains of the Scottish Rebellion. He’s also living in a rented room at a brothel. Claire, though surprised and upset, accepts everything as well because she loved Jamie so. She and Jamie catch-up on their twenty years apart. Claire shows Jamie pictures of his daughter.

However, one night, the excise man comes calling and attacks Claire. In self-defense she kills him. At the same time, someone attacks Jamie’s nephew, Ian, at the print shop – during the struggle, the shop is set alight. Jamie is able to rescue Ian from the flames, but the shop is a total loss. Jamie, Claire, and Ian leave for the family estate. Once they arrive, Jenny, Jamie’s sister is extremely cold to Claire, not quite getting why she disappeared for so long.

Just as Jamie is about to reveal to Claire his last secrets from their time apart, two young girls rush into the room calling him “Daddy”. It turns out Jamie is married to Laoghaire MacKenzie. He quickly explains it was a marriage of convenience the two girls are from Laoghaire’s first marriage, and he and Laoghaire have lived apart most of the time of their marriage. Jamie consults Ned Gowan and confirms that because Claire was “missing” but not “dead” his own second marriage is null and void. But, to let him leave, Laoghaire demands alimony.

No problem, Jamie tells Claire and Ned – he knows of a treasure on a small island off the coast. They can get the treasure, go to France to sell the antique coins and jewels, and come back to pay off his other wife. But Jamie’s been in a fight and is injured and cannot swim to the Selkie Island. Young Ian offers to swim to the island instead. But a pirate vessel captures Ian and the jewels. Claire and Jamie discover the ship is Portuguese and probably going to Jamaica to sell Ian as a slave. They book passage on another ship.

The journey on the ship isn’t without issues – they are becalmed at one point. Then a British warship approaches, they press Claire into service as their ship’s surgeon to treat a fever on the ship. Claire recognizes the fever as Typhoid. Although the British ship loses many men, eventually the disease runs it’s course. But Claire discovers the young captain knows who Jamie is and instead of reuniting her with him in Kingston Jamaica, he intends to use her as bait.

Claire jumps ship at first opportunity and washes up on another island. She bitten up by fire ants, becomes a bed for a python, and eventually meets a very strange defrocked priest and his mother-in-law. The priest offers to help her get to Jamaica “in a few days”. But he then complains one of his goats was killed “by a Chinaman” from a stranded ship. Claire realises this is “Mr. Willoughby” a friend of Jamie’s and a companion on their journey. She rushes across the island and is reunited with Jamie. They head to Jamaica to find Ian, forwarned that the Navy Captain wants to capture him.

In Jamaica, Claire runs into Geillis, who wants the three sapphires from the jewel box on Selkie Island so she can hear a prophecy about the “next king of Scotland”. She also bathes in goat’s blood and is just very, very weird. The Seer she hires is Margaret Campbell – a patient of Claire’s in Edinburgh when she was with Jamie (and he was a printer). The new governor of Jamaica is John Grey – friend to Jamie. Yes, all this dovetails the season nicely.

I’m not going to spoil the last two episodes, because the series’ does a really good job of bringing together these various characters from various times in Jamie’s and Claire’s lives. They do find, rescue, and escape with Ian in the same boat they took to Jamaica, but that boat is hit by a hurricane – still Claire and Jamie survive, and it’s a set-up for the next season.

Outlander is beautifully filmed and has excellent acting, especially the leads. This season paints a wide canvas of locations: 1960s Boston, Edinburgh in 1766, 18th-century sailing vessels, including a British Man’o’War, and 18th century Jamaica and nearby islands. The season is a bit timey-whimy, and plays with the ideas of predestination versus free will. On the other hand, Claire and Jamie are soul mates, destined for each other, and whatever the obstacles in their path they always overcome them to be together. It’s a beautiful, enjoyable and lovely show. Highly recommended.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 1 Volume 1.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 1 Volume 2.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 2.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Emperor of Eternity

  • Title: The Emperor of Eternity
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Nigel Robinson
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Victoria Waterfield, Jamie McCrimmon, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Deborah Watling, Frazer Hines
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/16/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Emperor of Eternity is a volume in the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line of audiobooks and audio plays. The Companion Chronicles feature stories told from the companion’s point of view and usually rather than being a full play in the audio format like most of Big Finish’s productions, they are a smaller, two-hander production. The Emperor of Eternity is a purely historical story featuring Victoria, Jamie, and the Second Doctor (as played on the Doctor Who television series by Patrick Troughton) set in Ancient China during the end of the Chin Dynasty in 200 B.C.

Victoria tells most of the story with assistance from Jamie. The TARDIS materializes in space, gets hit by an asteroid and the re-materializes in Ancient China to make repairs. But as the Doctor, Jaime, and Victoria wander while waiting for the TARDIS to repair itself, they come across utter devastation. It seems that the general for the emperor took the “falling star” as a sign of the gods’ displeasure with the village where the meteor fell, so he ordered the destruction of the village and the killing of the men, women, and children living there. The TARDIS crew is appalled, especially Victoria.

They meet a young woman and warrior who takes them to another village. There they meet a wandering monk. The people of the village argue about who might be a spy or assassin out to kill the emperor. Some of the people in the village insist that as strangers, the TARDIS crew, especially Jamie must be assassins. Jamie insists the strange monk must be the assassin because he doesn’t really look like a monk. But Victoria says that the village should show kindness to everyone. She says that she and Jamie and the Doctor are travelers, and no doubt they should show a holy man respect. The Emperor’s warriors also arrive. Victoria also convinces them not to hurt anyone. But they take the Doctor prisoner in the night.

The next morning, discovering the Doctor missing, Jamie and Victoria decide they must rescue him. One of the people in the village agrees to lead them to the Imperial City. They sneak in through the underground tunnels, that her father built. In the tunnels, they discover rivers of mercury, which freak Victoria out a bit, but they successfully get to the throne room. They discover the Doctor is fine, and that the Emperor has asked him to provide an elixir to grant him eternal life. But in the throne room, the woman who led them to the city kills the old man on the throne. She blames the emperor for her father’s death because the mercury vapors in the underground tunnels killed him. She is executed by the emperor’s general – and the old man turns out to be a decoy. Victoria is appalled by this turn of events and the death and violence. Victoria, however, still argues for clemency, for understanding. She shows sensitivity and caring for all. The emperor insists the Doctor take him to his machine of wonders, TARDIS, which would allow him to wander in eternity. The Doctor refuses of course.

The Doctor and company are sent to the dungeons. That night, someone arrives and lets them out and offers to help them escape. They make their way to the TARDIS in the foothills of the mountains, but Victoria insists they must warn the village, thinking the emperor might target them for allowing prisoners to escape. Near the TARDIS, they again meet the monk from earlier. The general arrives also and captures Victoria. Victoria insists the Doctor and Jamie should leave without her. The monk reveals he is the real emperor, who disguises himself to find out what the people really thought of his rule. He is impressed by Victoria’s kindness and caring – and angered by his general’s violent answer to everything. But most importantly, the emperor has had a change of heart. He no longer thinks he needs to live forever to avoid the wrath of the gods. And he is angered at how his general has exploited and harmed his people. He fires and executes the general, vows to be a better emperor, and lets the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria go to the TARDIS unmolested.

The Emperor of Eternity is a good story. It’s nice to have a purely historical story for a change – and Deborah Watling does a wonderful job telling the story as Victoria. Frazer adds to the story as Jamie. Overall, this is an enjoyable tale and I recommend it.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order The Emperor of Eternity on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

American Gods Season 1 Review (Spoilers)

  • Series: American Gods
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast: Ricky Whittle , Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, Pablo Schreiber
  • Network:  Starz (Lionsgate, Freemantle Media)
  • DVD Format: Blu-Ray, Color, Widescreen

Here Be Spoilers – for the first season of American Gods.

The television series American Gods is based on the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman, which I have read, twice. Since I read the book, I was familiar with the necessary background information for this series – and I still found it to be a very, very, very weird show, one that I wasn’t exactly sure if I liked or not.

American Gods, the show, uses a lot of extreme close-ups in its cinematography – these extreme close-ups emphasize the symbolic nature of the show. And since the show decided to have Shadow Moon as the POV character, and Shadow has no idea what is going on, the audience has no idea what is going on for much of the series.

The basics are these: Shadow Moon is in jail for “aggravated assault”, although it isn’t until episode six, which tells the tale of his wife, Laura, that we learn he attempted to rob a casino – we can surmise the “assault” was hitting a guard when he was caught. Shadow is due to be released within a few days and is released soon. He’s released a few days early – because his wife Laura died in a car accident. He sees Wednesday pull a con at the airport to get a free upgrade to first class, and when he is also bumped to first they meet and talk – and Wednesday offers him a job. Shadow declines, not wanting to be involved in anything shady so soon after his release from prison.

However, at his wife’s funeral, he learns the exact circumstances of his wife’s death, that she was having an affair with his best friend, and his friend also died in the crash. Shadow, left with nothing, takes up Wednesday on his job offer.

From there – the series diverts from the book. The book is a road novel, taking place largely in the Midwest, with Cairo, Illinois being of special significance. Although Wednesday’s big, black Cadillac is frequently seen, the television show doesn’t show much traveling. Instead, most episodes start with an opening story of how one of the Old Gods got to America – like any other immigrant. The series tells the story of the nation of immigrants through their gods. What the series doesn’t tell you that the novel does from the start is that the Old Gods from the Old World are at war with the New Gods. The series introduces us to a few new gods – Technical Boy, Media, and Mr. World – but they insist there is no war.

Wednesday, however, is trying to build an army of the Old Gods for the fight. And he’s not doing that well. It isn’t until the last episode of the season when Wednesday and Shadow arrive in Kentucky to speak with the goddess of Spring, Easter, that we learn who, exactly, Wednesday is – something that readers of the book remember, and is hinted at strongly in the first “story within a story” telling of the Vikings who landed in America, bringing their god, and then leaving. Yep, he’s Odin – and not a friendly All-Father Odin either.

What’s more surprising in the final episode is the story of Laura Moon (who rejects death) and the Leprechaun, Mad Sweeney. Sweeney had caused the death of Laura and Robbie (which makes it ironic that his lucky coin was the instrument of bringing her back) but he did so at the command of Wednesday – who needed Shadow. As Laura discovers, everything that happened to her and Shadow was manipulated by Wednesday.

American Gods is just plain weird – it drops you into a world with no guidance points whatsoever. Ricky Whittle is excellent as Shadow, and he and Ian McShane make for an awesome double act. In fact, if it wasn’t for Ian McShane’s light touch (half Paul Newman from The Sting and half Columbo) the show would be hard to take, it really would. But, on the other hand, each episode is set in a time and a place specific to the episode – so the show doesn’t have that “road movie” feel it really should. The series is also definitely R rated, though there is no rating on the Blu-Ray box (NTSC version). There’s considerably more sex and violence in the show than the book. Not that it wasn’t there in the book, but it was more subtle. This series seems to be cashing in on the Game of Thrones trend (something possible for a pay-extra cable station like Starz). I also didn’t like having to watch roughly 15 minutes of previews every time I popped in Disc 1 – with no ability to skip to the menu. I will watch previews once without prompting, but I hate autoplay previews especially when forced to watch them over and over (and with violent content for shows such as “Hannibal” too! Yuch!).

Anyway, ambivalent feelings about this one. I don’t think they quite caught the book. Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane are excellent though. I’m not even sure I’d get the second season whenever it may arrive. No recommendation.