Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

"You gotta serve somebody," Bob Dylan once sang. The deities on Starz's American Gods are vying for that service. And they're not messing around.

Turns out, the gods of yore have hit hard times as of late, what with the world growing more secular and so few folks having the inclination to set up sacrificial altars in their closets. Americans bow before different masters now. Media. Drugs. The internet. These are the gods ascendant, the new kids on Elysium's block. And they're not interested in sharing their worshiping masses with a bunch of has-beens from history class.

But the Old Gods still have a few tricks up their sleeves. In fact one of them is orchestrating a climactic showdown between the old and the new—a winner-take-all contest that'll make the whole Zeus vs. Chronos conflict look like a game of Twister.

Altared States

Shadow Moon stands at the center of this murky melee. He never intended to get mixed up with the gods, but he didn't have much going on when the mysterious Mr. Wednesday offered him a job. See, he had just gotten out of prison, but his wife and best friend were both killed in a traffic accident … in a seriously compromised position that revealed the two were having an affair. The job Shadow's best friend had promised him died that day, too. So while Wednesday doesn't seem to be the most honorable of men, at least the money's good and the work is relatively light.

Well, except when Shadow's attacked by quasi-spiritual assailants, that is.

See, Wednesday's a god—Woden, or Odin, to be precise, from the old Norse myths. He's up to something, and the New Gods—led by the glowering Mr. World and the young and seriously punkish Technical Boy—know it. They want to find out what Shadow knows. And if Shadow doesn't tell them anything, maybe they'll just kill him.

But Shadow has more on his mind than just putting up with these divine hijinks. Because thanks to a special, magic coin given to him by a seriously angry leprechaun, it turns out his dead wife, Laura, isn’t so dead after all. Well, she is, technically. The lady’s a fly magnet. Still, she’s remarkably ambulatory for a dead woman, and still carries a torch for her favorite widower.

Baal Out of Here!

Let's get this out of the way now and perhaps save you from the rest of this review: American Gods is the one of the worst, most content-laden shows on television.

Even apart from the show's syncretistic take on spirituality, it achieves this dubious distinction early and often. American Gods features incredibly explicit sex scenes. Its special effects team clearly bought fake blood by the liquid ton. The language is blushingly, crushingly foul. It's almost as if someone from Starz' executive wing looked at Game of Thrones and American Horror Story and said, "Nope, not extreme enough. Let's double it. Triple it if we can."

Stir the show's murky spirituality into the mix, and American Gods becomes just that much more troubling.

It's not that the idea of gods losing their mystical mojo from lack of worship is exactly new terrain. In fact, I think I remember a Star Trek episode ("Who Mourns for Adonais?") dedicated to that very narrative. And if the show sequestered itself to just old Norse and Egyptian mythological figures—along with making its sly, cogent statements on the new "gods" we've built for ourselves—I could at least give American Gods a little credit for making some kind of statement about what we Americans worship.

But the opening credit sequence—festooned with Buddhas, Jewish menorahs and, yes, Christian crosses—makes it clear that this series has more ambition than that. Christianity comes into the mix at times. The show plucks the pagan elements from Christian holidays out at others (such as when Easter made a bunny-festooned appearance in Season 1). Five different actors have played the show's version of Jesus: "Jesus Prime," "Black Jesus," "Mexican Jesus," "Hippie Jesus" and "Asian Jesus." “Gods are real if you believe in them,” Mr. Wednesday tells Shadow as he stares at Jesus Prime in a Season 1 episode. It suggests the showrunners put just about as much stock in Christianity as they do its angry leprechauns: That is, not much.

American Gods is based on an award-winning book by Neil Gaiman. And if the show follows the novel, viewers are in for a twisty, crazy and incredibly bumpy ride. My advice? Don't even get on. This show, like the gods it gives us, is not worth our time.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

March 10, 2019: "The House on the Rock"
American Gods: Apr. 30, 2017 "The Bone Orchard"



Readability Age Range



Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon; Emily Browning as Laura Moon; Bruce Langley as Technical Boy; Yetide Badaki as Bilquis; Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney; Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday; Crispin Glover as Mr. World; Demore Barnes as Mr. Ibis; Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya; Peter Stormare as Czernobog; Gillian Anderson as Media; Kristin Chenoweth as Easter





Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!