When it comes to writing a television series based on a book, there are an infinite number of factors to consider. For instance, it must be decided which scenes must be cut, if there are ideas that can be expanded upon, how much liberty can be taken with the characters, and so on. Perhaps most important is ensuring that there is enough allegiance to the book and honor to the author. This is something that the wonderful writing team of American Gods has succeeded in doing. Though the first season’s writing credits only span six people, all six of those amazing minds have worked together to create something awe-striking that is both an homage to Neil Gaiman’s book and its own marvelous television show. Today, we’ll take a step into those minds and learn a bit about them.
The crux of the first season of American Gods has always rested on Bryan Fuller and Michael Green; if not for them, the show would not exist. Fuller and Green collaborated on the teleplays for six episodes, including the premiere, “The Bone Orchard,” and the finale, “Come to Jesus.” Since an array of Fuller’s work can be found on our site, let’s look at Michael Green’s other achievements.
Green has had an illustrious career, and by glancing at all the things he’s had a hand in, it’s easy to see why he and Fuller make such a great team. Green got his television start by writing an episode of Sex and the City in 1998. He then went on to become a producer and writer on the successful Superman series Smallville, for which he is credited with the creation of the character Dr. Steven Hamilton. In an earlier collaboration, Green and Fuller both served as producers on the television show Heroes, which ran from 2006 to 2010. More recently, Green has been beyond busy on top of American Gods. He wrote the screenplay for the standalone Wolverine film, Logan, which has received rave reviews and many honors—some even calling it the best superhero film to date. Green developed the story for Alien: Covenant, which released in May, and he also worked as the screenwriter for Blade Runner 2049, which has been doing excellent since its release in October. His newest screenwriting work, Murder on the Orient Express, arrives in theaters on November 9. Many of Green’s successes are based around darker, analytical constructions of the supernatural’s presence in the real world, which is something he and Fuller have both brought to the table for American Gods. It is not hard to see, then, why they work so well together and how American Gods has become the success it is.
Maria Melnik served as a staff writer for all eight episodes of the first season, and wrote the teleplay for the episode “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney.” This episode is one of the highest-ranked of the show for its exploration of one of the “Coming to America” tales in the book. The episode tackles topics ranging from immigration to slavery and also provides a deeper look at Mad Sweeney, allowing the god to have a bigger role than he does in the book. One of Melnik’s focuses is working on shows with dynamic female characters, so it’s no wonder she’s found a home with American Gods! Previously, Melnik worked as a writers’ assistant on the television show Black Sails. She is currently working on a 2018 film, The Maze, which has just started filming.
Bekah Brunstetter worked on the teleplay for the finale, “Coming to Jesus,” which is an episode known for its expansive storytelling and nonstop action. Brunstetter started her career as a playwright and has written over ten plays that have been produced all across America. She worked as a writer and story editor for the Freeform series Switched at Birth and currently produces and writes episodes for NBC’s hit drama This Is Us.
Seamus Kevin Fahey has had a dynamic career in the media. He is probably most known to us as the writer of the episode “A Murder of Gods,” as well as supervising producer for the first season. He has written for a variety of mediums, including video games, mini-series, and television. He started off as an assistant to the writers on Battlestar Galactica before becoming a full-fledged staff writer; he then went on to write for the spin-off shows Battlestar Galactica: Razor Flashbacks and Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy. In 2016 he served as a consulting producer and writer for the show Wayward Pines, and he currently works as a writer and co-executive producer on Fox’s Lethal Weapon.
David Graziano is a co-executive producer on American Gods, as well as an occasional writer. His talents were featured in the episode “Lemon Scented You,” for which he wrote the teleplay. Graziano has written for and produced many shows over the past twenty years, including Las Vegas, What About Brian, Day Break and Southland. He may be most well known for serving as writer and executive producer on Fox’s Lie to Me, which ran from 2009 to 2011. American Gods is his most recent work.
Though the writers room of American Gods is intimate in terms of size, these six talents have been able to blossom and grow from the source material of Gaiman’s book, allowing for a full-fledged show that stings us to our cores in all the best ways. American Gods is known for its vigorous, smart, and deep-cutting writing, and we have these writers to thank for making Gaiman’s world come alive. You can follow along with the writers on Twitter—they’re known for giving updates as well as sharing pictures of their dogs!