Read Watch Listen - 2019


Good Omens - A Hilarious Look at the (Maybe) Apocalypse

By Jennifer Allen

Starring: David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm, Adria Arjona, Jack Whitehall, Sam Taylor Buck, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, and Frances McDormand as the Voice of God.

Creator & lead writer: Neil Gaiman

Director: Douglas Mackinnon

Adapted from the novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman seems to be busy lately. American Gods, which I've written about before and is based on arguably one of Gaiman's best novels to date, has just finished its 2nd season at the time of writing and has already been renewed for a 3rd. So it came as quite a surprise when it was announced that he would also be adapting Good Omens, the 1990 novel he co-wrote with the equally acclaimed fantasy writer Terry Pratchett as a miniseries. Sadly we lost Terry Pratchett in 2015 from complications with Alzheimer's disease, but not before he gave his blessing to Gaiman to move forward with an adaptation of Good Omens for TV or film.

And so when it was announced to become a miniseries on Amazon Prime, I was already excited. When it was later announced that David Tennant and Michael Sheen would be playing the two leads, my mood was then elevated to ecstatic.

Tennant plays Crowley, a hedonistic Demon with a particular love for the band Queen and classic cars. Sheen portrays Aziraphale, a somewhat prissy Angel who prefers 3-piece suits and reading old books. The two seem to be the most unlikely pairing to become good friends, but as you find out they've been running into each other since literally the beginning of human existence. Crowley was the serpent who tempted Eve with the Apple. Aziraphale in turn gave Adam his weapon (a flaming sword) to protect him and Eve as they were cast out from Eden.

The story itself revolves around the coming of the Anti-Christ, Adam (Sam Taylor Buck), who will come into his own and destroy the world once he turns 11 years-old. There's a series of oddball misadventures involving a baby mixup, introducing The Four Horsemen (with Pollution replacing Pestilence), a witch hunter (Michael McKean with a Scottish brogue) obsessed with nipples, and reading passages from a prophecy book written by a witch named Agnes Nutter; all of which are bound to come true.

The miniseries, like the book, is written like a satire akin to reading a Douglas Adams story. The quips by Frances McDormand as the Voice of God are given in same vein as listening to the unseen narrator of A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.

Her deadpan delivery of how Crowley tends to his plants so precisely that they live in fear of him or how She explains how Famine has opened a chain of restaurants with food that isn't even food makes you want to laugh but also makes you think.

The story pretty much follows the book, but with some expanded parts for some characters such as Jon Hamm's Gabriel who is barely mentioned in the book and Adam's three friends who are especially charming and help to further establish Adam as character.

While the story and the other characters are entertaining, the true joy is whenever both Michael Sheen and David Tennant are on screen together.

They are two soulmates who are so different and yet can't seem to exist without the other. The show doesn't go so far as to outright say they're a couple, but they do interact like a pair who've been married for decades and have simply come to terms with their differences… as much as you can when both are celestials originating from opposite sides of the moral spectrum.

I think the show could have done better with maybe 1 or 2 more episodes to flesh out some of the supporting characters like each of The Four Horseman, Anathema Device (Adria Arjona), and Newton Pulsifer (Jack Whitehall) but overall it's a great bit of fun that is truly hinged on the relationship and adventures that Crowley & Aziraphale share throughout.

Good Omens is available with all six parts released on Amazon Prime now.

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer & Graphic Artist.