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Like ‘American Gods?’ Try These Trippy TV Shows

These TV shows like American Gods will thrill and confuse you until it returns to STARZ.

American Gods is TV series that premiered in 2017. It’s based on the titular novel by Neil Gaiman.

If you’re not familiar with Neil Gaiman, he is famous for writing Sandman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere, which is one of my favorite books of all-time, and definitely my favorite Neil Gaiman book. He also wrote Stardust and Coraline.

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American Gods is set (obviously) in the United States. Why it’s called AmercianGods” is slowly revealed as the story progresses. American Gods follows an ex-convict named Shadow. When he gets out of prison, he is sucked into another world within our world that’s entrenched in mythology, Greek, Roman, Norse and other ancient mythologies.

A lot of different things start happening to Shadow. He takes a typical hero’s journey when he hears the call to adventure. He wants to escape his humdrum life and so he heeds the call. The next thing he knows he’s in the middle of a dangerous battle of good versus evil.

American Gods can be pretty trippy. If you haven’t read the book, you might not be able to follow it terribly well, but you also might enjoy the mystery, the slow build-up and the gradual revelation.

After Season 1 of American Gods — which I absolutely loved by the way —  it was unclear if it would return for Season 2. Bryan Fuller (Star Trek: DiscoveryHannibal and Pushing Daisies) and Michael Green (Heroes, Smallville), the showrunners, were having budget disagreements with the production company and with the network. Whether or not American Gods would return was very unclear, which was a shame because it was getting all this awards attention.

The result of the budget disputes is that Fuller and Green have decided to step down as showrunners. They will remain as executive producers and still be involved in some way. They just won’t be involved in the day-to-day duties.

The new showrunner is Jesse Alexander who worked on Hannibal and Heroes just like the other two. He has a pretty good feel for what the show should be like.

Gillian Anderson, who played Media, will also not be returning. I wish she was returning because she’s such an excellent actress, and she brought a lot of eyeballs to the show.

(You can watch my YouTube video or download my podcast about TV shows like American Gods. Just scroll to the bottom.)

TV Shows Like American Gods

What do you watch until American Gods comes back next year 2019? These seven TV shows like American Gods are similar in style and tone, not necessarily in the story details. These TV shows, just like American Gods, are told in a that creates a lot of mystery and suspense. And there’s a lot of character exploration.

Legion

Dan Stevens in 'Legion'

Dan Stevens in ‘Legion’

If you’re not watching Legion, you should be. It’s super trippy and there’s a lot of kitsch involved. Legion is about Marvel’s mutants, however, the word “X-Men” is never used.

Legion is visually gorgeous. The angles are crazy. The colors are crazy. It’s not always clear what’s going on, but it builds a lot of suspense.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to have things unraveled slowly in a delicious agony, Legion is the show for you to watch.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks / Showtime

Twin Peaks / Showtime

Another TV show like American Gods to watch is Twin Peaks. I’m talking about the original Twin Peaks from the ’90s, not the Showtime reboot. Twin Peaks was one of the first TV shows that had a lot of creepy mystery in the story, but wasn’t an anthology TV show, like Twilight Zone.

After a few episodes, it was clear that solving Laura Palmer’s murder wasn’t the most important thing to do in Twin Peaks. It had a lot of unusual characters, like American Gods. The show was more character-driven than plot-driven.

Westworld

Evan Rachel Wood and Jimmi Simpson on Westworld

Evan Rachel Wood and Jimmi Simpson on Westworld

Westworld just returned for Season 2 on HBO.  Westworld is incredibly popular because it’s another head-scratcher kind of a show. The audience isn’t sure what came before or what’s coming next. It messes with timelines and chronology so you continuously feel disoriented.

Westworld has very mysterious, strange characters. Plot points are revealed to you very slowly, very gradually.

Preacher

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Televsion/AMC

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer – Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Televsion/AMC

Preacher is like American Gods but it flies under the radar. It’s based on a comic series that’s published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics. The Preacher isn’t that great of a preacher, but he suddenly acquires the power of God almighty.

Preacher also has a town full of unusual characters, like Arseface, The Saint of Killers and Adolf Hitler.

Preacher is unpredictable and keeps you on a need-to-know level.

Mr. Robot

MR. ROBOT -- "da3m0ns.mp4" Episode 104 -- Pictured: Rami Malek as Elliot -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/USA Network)

Pictured: Rami Malek as Elliot (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/USA Network)

Mr. Robot doesn’t have any fantasy or paranormal element. Mr. Robot is about our growing dependency on technology and corporate greed. It’s futuristic, but based very firmly in our current reality.

Like American GodsMr. Robot has a lot of confusing twists and turns. The whole story can get turned upside down and, suddenly, you look back on the story you’ve been watching and say, “Oh, I had that all wrong.”

Counterpart

J.K. Simmons as the second Howard Silk.

J.K. Simmons as the second Howard Silk.

Counterpart just finished its first season on STARZ.

I think some people misunderstood what I was saying in my review of Counterpart. Is it a white man’s show? Yes. In fact, I would go out on a limb and specifically say it is a middle-aged white man’s show. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed it a lot!

Counterpart has an other worldliness to it, just like American Gods. Counterpart also has strange characters and mysteries wrapped in enigmas; we’re never given the full picture.

Taboo

TABOO -- "Episode 8" (Airs Tuesday, February 28, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Tom Hardy as James Keziah Delaney. CR: FX

Pictured: Tom Hardy as James Keziah Delaney. CR: FX

The last TV show like American Gods that I’m recommending is Taboo.

Taboo stars Tom Hardy, and is set during the War of 1812. Hardy’s character, James Keziah Delaney, has been in Africa for ten years. He returns to find out he’s inherited a mysterious legacy. He winds up caught between Great Britain and America.

The story begins in a very typical way. Taboo seems like it’s just another historical fiction series, but then you’re pulled into a completely different world.

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I hope this list of seven TV shows like American Gods will feed your appetite for mysterious thrillers.

TV Shows Like American Gods

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3 Comments

  1. Marge

    Well when is Taboo returning? Didn’t Preacher get cancelled?

    • No date is set for Taboo, even though it got picked up for a second season. Preacher is set to return on June 24 this year.

  2. Marge

    Thank you, Nancy.

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