Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: TV Review: Good Gods Almighty!

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  • DeepRed,

    Or this Ragnarok.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I'm still recovering from the mild testosterone overdose (in case anyone wasn't sure this was a Bloke Show, we had wall to wall Lynx ads to remind us), but I enjoyed it. Definitely channelling American Gods, but I hope Odin's a bit better behaved. Wonder if Loki's going to show up?

    Outside of American Gods, I can't think of another pop culture appearance of the Norse pantheon off the top of my head. Percy Whatsit and the Olympians (which is surprisingly likable) on the other hand - we never seem to get sick of the Greek lot.

    I think Terry Pratchett's Four Horsemen showed up a couple of years prior, in Sourcery, to the Pratchett/Gaiman versions in Good Omens. I like the second versions better, though, with Pollution taking over where Pestilence left off.

    There was a Ghostbusters (the cartoon) episode entitled Ragnarok and Roll, which screened in NZ around 1989. IIRC they poached the magic words from LOTR. Nothing is ever lost on the internet:

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 781 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lyndon Hood,

    Omigods&godlets! I had totally forgotten Tom Robbins (except when thumbs come up.) Havent reread “Jitterbug Perfume” since 1985 (when the Bantam pb came out.)
    Thank you Lyndon!
    The rereading list has grown even more delectable-

    and thanks B Jones – yep, the 4 horsemen were mutating a while before “Good Omens.” And if Loki doesnt show up - it aint the Norse pantheon...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Outside of American Gods, I can't think of another pop culture appearance of the Norse pantheon off the top of my head.

    To complete the Holy Trinity of British Humourous Fantasy writers, Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul features a Thor with considerable problems.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Tui Head,

    Certainly the most odious appearance of Norse mythology in (un)popular culture at the moment must be the peculiar popularity of Odin worship among white supremacists. Which quite puts the point on Leopold's earlier comments: this is a show deliberately constructed to be about a bunch of straight white dudes. Still, there's no reason gods from other pantheons can't or won't show up, right? -- although that does raise the spectre of unfortunate trips through exoticist fantasies about other religions and cultures. (There was a terrible episode of US genre show Supernatural with a similar American-Gods-knock-off theme recently, which included frankly gross and extraordinarily insensitive portrayals of a bunch of gods - off the top of my head, Kali, Loki, Odin, Baron Samedi, Zao Shen, and Ganesh. I can think of a few more pop culture references to Norse mythology - a popular manga, a couple of young adult books, quite a bit on Stargate: SG-1 and of course the Marvel superhero Thor, about whom they're about to make a movie - but it's hard for any mythology to compete with two thousand years of classical educations (read: Greek & Roman myth), I suspect.)

    I'm quite hopeful to see some genre TV on our screens again - I have no idea how This Is Not My Life did last year, but I always find it quite pleasing when we have genre TV that isn't an adaptation of a book by Maurice Gee or Margaret Mahy (or Ken Catran! Who remembers Deepwater?) It's a good genre for developing loyalty in audiences, and they obviously succeeded at that with Outrageous, so!

    To get quite distracted, although obviously Gaiman and Pratchett share some interests, Gaiman had been playing around with the urban-fantasy-gods-among-us in Sandman (1989), years before Small Gods. But then again, Marilynne Robinson and Jonathan Franzen both write domestic fiction; just because the trappings of genre fiction are slightly more, well, trapping-y than the trappings of literary fiction doesn't make them necessarily more significant.

    Te Whanganui-ā-Tara • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Douglas Adams also features a rain god who doesnt know he is a rain god - which concept I found really appealing (and is obviously taken up by the writers of the show under discussion.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I just saw the almighty. He came to me like a vision in the night sky. I mean, just watched it on MySky. Can see the appeal. Hope it develops a bit.

    Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul features a Thor with considerable problems.

    He also appears in Eion Colfer’s And Another Thing, and his problems seem even more considerabler.

    Ian M. Banks Surface Detail has quite an interesting take on the whole gods, heaven and hell motif. Hard to explain in 100,000 words or less, but it just quietly blew my mind.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Hi Craig,

    Yes, have been following the reactions across the day - really really wasn't sure how this would go down with the punters. So it is with some relief that it seems to have received a fair and generally appreciative hearing - all you can ask for, really.

    Had a glass of wine with Rachel this afternoon and she concurred that it was nice to read your review - intelligent, considered criticism is a rare thing of beauty in this country.

    But enough of the sucking up, there are a couple of teensy things I think I can add to the discussion....

    I've never read American Gods. I think I do have a copy of it, but it is one of many books residing on my Shelf of Shame. It's probably just as well I didn't read it, from what I'm getting here. I don't think Rachel has read it either - it doesn't strike me as her kind of fiction and we certainly never talked about it when we were storylining.

    Just for the record we also never talked about: John Irving, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams et al. And Misfits never appeared on the radar until we were in pre-production; and Heroes was always referenced in terms of something we weren't. When you're making this stuff the reality is you work with what's in front of you and try and block out everything that says "it's like..."

    We did, however, talk about the acid-rock group Ragnarok because, quite frankly, when you're dealing with Norse Gods in New Zealand, how can you not?

    I did, however, read Gods Behaving Badly, when I heard about it after we'd pitched the idea for the Johnsons - or The Gods of Norsewood as it was called back then. It's a novel - can't remember who wrote it, sorry - about Greek Gods living in London and there are certain annoying similarities (including someone being a tree, damn it) but I swear they happened independently. I'm kinda surprised no-one has mentioned it thus far.

    I'm not surprised about the Aryan comments, however - it definitely comes with the territory when you're dealing with Norse Gods. All I can say is that any white supremacists who would adopt the Johnson brothers as their poster-boys would truly be the most tragic pond scum on that particular cess-pool.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Damn! I was at Sufjan Stevens and so enjoying it, I forgot to request a MySky booking. Will ep. 1 be repeated anywhere?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2269 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Griffin,

    Steer clear of suggesting Vikings discovered NZ and I'm sure you'll be forgiven for choosing Norse gods :-) Good show.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Griffin,

    We did, however, talk about the acid-rock group Ragnarok because, quite frankly, when you're dealing with Norse Gods in New Zealand, how can you not?

    You guys are awesome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to James Griffin,

    any white supremacists who would adopt the Johnson brothers as their poster-boys would truly be the most tragic pond scum on that particular cess-pool.

    I will be awesomely pissed off if Emmett Skilton and Keisha Castle-Hughes don’t have one tender, awkward, prophecy-and-flat-destroying, white supremacist-enraging sex scene. Extra points if she accidentally pokes out one of Axl’s eyes, and I get to serve up the awful Twitter-sized Whale Rider gags I prepared earlier.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    You guys are awesome.

    Rachel Lang and James Griffin are the Jane Espenson and Russell T. Davies of New Zealand television. Discuss.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    10.30 pm Sunday repeat

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Producer Simon Bennett talks about creating the show (7 mins clip)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to B Jones,

    Outside of American Gods, I can't think of another pop culture appearance of the Norse pantheon off the top of my head.

    The top of my head throws out a couple:

    - Six Days of Luke (Diana Wynne Jones)
    - Thor Meets Captain America (David Brin, and available online)
    - Sandman (Neil Gaiman) has appearances from Loki

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 451 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to James Griffin,

    I'm not surprised about the Aryan comments, however - it definitely comes with the territory when you're dealing with Norse Gods

    True, but I believe it comes with the territory when dealing with any of the pre-Christian European religions. Norse mythology seems to be the better known, so has more followers (well, fans anyway). A large part of the European extreme far-right is simply looking for an identity more original, more exclusively defining and older than what Christianity provides.

    Related to this, there's been some outrage by the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall in the upcoming Thor movie.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Boganette,

    The Lynx ads screening before it and in between every commercial break makes me think it's being marketed as a dude show for dudes. And a previous ad made it look like one of the guys was with an unconcious woman or something....So I was already a wee bit concerned about that. But since Outrageous Fortune is to me the greatest thing ever in the whole world I'll still probably watch another episode. And give it another chance.

    The whole 'is it date rape' thing about the poetry God is interesting....well it will be interesting to see how they cover that.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Amy Gale,

    Outside of American Gods, I can’t think of another pop culture appearance of the Norse pantheon off the top of my head.

    There was also Roger Langridge’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger – which, naturally, was too sweet-natured, humane and bereft of shrink-wrapped Zeppelin-tits doing ultra-violence not to get cancelled after eight issues. Knuckles The Malevolent Nun would have kicked those fuck bags at Marvel right in the slats, then threaded their shrivelled balls on piano wire to use as rosary beads.

    I had to read this interview with Langridge through tears of geek rage. But I have even more sympathy with Dylan Horrocks' decision to run away from the American comics “mainstream" as far as fast as he could.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Amy Gale,

    Outside of American Gods, I can't think of another pop culture appearance of the Norse pantheon off the top of my head.

    They are referenced in a lot of video games.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    uh, guys? I didn't say that…

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 451 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Amy Gale,

    @Amy: Crap sticks, of course you didn’t. Sorry, I hit reply to you and didn’t cancel it before pasting in your quote from another comment. Apologies for the munged attribution.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Tui Head, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    There was also Roger Langridge’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger – which, naturally, was too sweet-natured, humane and bereft of shrink-wrapped Zeppelin-tits doing ultra-violence not to get cancelled after eight issues

    Not exactly the first or last appearance of Thor in Marvel comics, though!

    Te Whanganui-ā-Tara • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Just a quick story about the whole eye-poking thing: we did go to Mimir's Well for one episode but it turned out to be so huge that it would have been impossible to shoot within the capabilities of the production - there was Axl having freaky visions all over the show; police roadblocks; a brawl in a Viaduct bar; screaming hordes of trolleyed party-girls running amok; ending up with Axl's car getting crushed at a wrecker's yard. It was epic and, unfortunately, we had to shelve it. Maybe if we get the chance to go round again we'll haul it out and see what can be done.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to James Griffin,

    Tim Balme? Keisha? Norse gods? Squee! I need to see this show and I need to see it now. Streaming? DVD release? Telepathy ?

    And if these are the Norsewood gods, when do their Dannevirke rivals make an appearance? The possibile conflicts are endless.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

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