HBO is slowly but surely becoming the place where lengthy genre stories can breathe freely. (So why, oh why, did you guys snub Preacher? Or can Rome and Deadwood so soon?)

According to Deadline, HBO and Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions are in the process of adapting Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to the small screen.

This is no whisper or rumor, either. They’ve already set Gaiman and Robert Richardson (yes, the famed cinematographer)  to write the pilot, though the network is still in the process of acquiring the book rights.

Fans have clamored for American Gods to be turned into a movie since it was first published in 2002.  But like those other unwieldy geek properties like Watchmen and Preacher, it’s a sprawling and uncomfortable story that would be difficult to ever cram into two hours.   HBO has room for all the twists and turns, and would turn a blind eye to the sex, violence, and general weirdness of the story. (Would now be a good time for me to beg that they omit the animals-tortured-for-Odin scene?)

We’ll have more on this as it develops.  Right now, this is all paperworks and pre-production, and I’m not sure I’d get super excited until they start casting. But for now, it’s reason to keep your HBO subscription alive and well.