Starz’s American Gods ends its first season by arriving at the beginning of the real story in a promising, sometimes confounding season finale. Thanks to HBO’s The Leftovers , Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale , and now Starz’s American Gods , there has been plenty to discuss this year when it comes to the feasibility of expanding the fixed story of a novel for television with the express purpose of doing what television does best: avoiding conclusion and letting a story run for as long as possible. There are plenty of other examples to choose from to be sure, but 2017 has seen some excellent television come from the expansion of – or the promise to expand upon – stories first brought to life in book form. Given the kinds of stories being told – from misogynistic dystopian nightmares to nuanced meditations on grief and the inscrutable nature of the universe – there’s really no clear formula for what kind of book is going to make the best series, especially when it exhausts the source material from which it was derived. The Leftovers worked largely because leaving the confines of the novel allowed the series to be reinvented in season […]

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