REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (EPISODES 1 - 3) | WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
For many, the novel Good Omens introduced readers to the writing of both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, as well as the urban fantasy genre in general. At the time, Gaiman was known mostly for The Sandman, a dark fantasy set in the modern day, and Pratchett was gaining a reputation for parodying fantasy tropes. Their collaboration, a parody of The Omen, broke new ground and has millions of fans around the world. Almost 30 years later, and we have finally gotten to the inevitable TV adaptation. Pratchett passed away in 2015, leaving Neil Gaiman to not only be the sole showrunner but also fulfil one of Terry’s last wishes in making this series. With legions of fans across the world, expectations are high.
Luckily, they’ve done a stellar job. For those who don’t know the story (where have been?), the base idea is pretty simple: the forces of hell plan to initiate the final conflict with Heaven, with Earth and its people as the battleground. To do this, the Devil’s own son is brought to Earth. The plan was that the child would be swapped at birth and be raised by a powerful American senator. Alas, due to normal human incompetence, the child grows up in a leafy Oxford suburb, with normal, practical parents and an environment straight out of a kids’ storybook. The naarative focuses mostly on the demon Crowley (played by David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (played by Michael Sheen). Both are supernatural beings who have spent perhaps too long in the company of mortals.
Sheen and Tennant are magnetic in their roles, embodying the warmth and humour from the source material perfectly. Your heart goes out to them at times as they struggle with their very natures. One of the central themes of this story is that enemies often have far more in common than you expect, and it is in part an Angel/Demon buddy story. The casting for the rest of the roles is similarly inspired. Jack Whitehall is almost unrecognisable as bumbling Witchfinder Newton, taking on a role that is against his usual type and utterly nailing it. Josie Lawrence is brilliant as the ancient witch Agnes Nutter. Critically, the role of Adam (the Anti-Christ) rests on the slender shoulders of Sam Taylor Buck, and the young lad carries the role very well.
They are a few highlights from the book that are missing, and we get a little more insight into Crowley/Aziraphale than we might expect, but given how well Tennant and Sheen play against each other, that’s very welcome. The story itself doesn’t pull any punches, and the humour has dated well, right down to the cultural references. Fans of horror and or comedy who have never heard of the book will love the show, and bookish types will enjoy becoming re-acquainted with old friends wearing new faces.
Gorgeous, brilliant stuff.