Starz is adapting Neil Gaiman's epic novel American Gods into a fantasy series created by Bryan Fuller, who was the creative force behind Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, and Hannibal. American Gods looks to have the same darkly whimsical vibe of the former two series, which is the aesthetic for which fans have come to know and love Fuller. It tells the story of a battle between the Old Gods of various mythologies and America's New Gods: technology, media, the stock market, and the "men in black"-type figures who protect them all. So who is Technical Boy on American Gods? Newcomer Bruce Langley plays the personification of the internet, representing the way computers, social media, and technology have become a god-like power over modern America.
Interestingly, Technical Boy is the character who seems to have gotten the biggest makeover for the show from the way he's originally portrayed in the 2001 novel. (Don't worry; Gaiman serves as a consulting producer, which should alleviate any anxieties book lovers may have about the show's loyalty to the source material.) In this case, Technical Boy's update makes perfect sense. He's depicted in the book as a stereotypically overweight, basement-dwelling teen internet troll with bad acne, who dresses like a character from The Matrix because he thinks it makes him look cool. It's a sort of Kevin Smith-esque portrayal of nerdy early internet/tech dudes from the '90s, which makes sense, considering the year the novel was published. (The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy also comes to mind.)
But in the TV series, his image is completely reimagined for the social media era. He's a sort of combination Silicon Valley ingenue/slick alt-right influencer/YouTube star-type who looks very different from "the fat kid" he's referred to as by other characters in the book. Technical Boy is still super young, but instead of being socially awkward, he's a skinny kid with a perfect coif and, most likely, a more involved skincare routine than yours. He's cunning about how to use the internet and social media to influence and manipulate people, rather than simply being an arrogant jerk firing off nasty anonymous comments from his mom's basement.
It's a smart pivot for the character in an effort to make him more relevant to modern internet powers which have risen since the novel's publication. And, from the looks of the trailer and Technical Boy's featurette, he still has his novel version's core arrogant jerk vibe going on.
You can tune into the series premiere of American Gods on Sunday, April 30 at 9 p.m. on Starz.