Good vs evil. The ancient battle that’s been going on for centuries, well, those that believe in that sort of stuff anyways.
Let’s put our beliefs to one side for a moment as Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 end-of-days fantasy novel, Good Omens has been creatively weaved into an adaptation of its own.
Now, I’m not much of a reader, but gathering the success of the book, I only had positive vibes towards the Prime mini-series. From first glance, you can’t help but look at the cast and think: this is going to be good. David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm, Frances McDormand; they’ve pulled out all the stops to get the best cast they can, but is the mini-series a hell-bound mess or a heavenly-divine concoction?
Good Omens is a tale of Armageddon, but that’s not where it starts. The story begins way back when in the Garden of Eden, when mortal enemies, Angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Demon Crowley (David Tennant) come together for the first time over the failure to keep Adam and Eve from escaping their division.
Over roughly 6,000 years, they continually bump into each other in the most obscure places, forming an unlikely friendship – from aiding Shakespeare into perfecting Hamlet to the beginning of World War II. If this were a love story, they would be meant to be.
However, moving forward in time towards the present day, a boy is to be delivered to Earth by Crowley into the arms of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl Nuns. But this boy is no ordinary boy, he’s the Antichrist, the one to bring all evil into the world. As the boy grows, Doomsday will be upon them and there’s nothing they can do about it.
As much as they are enemies, Aziraphale and Crowley decide to work together, retrospectively keeping it away from their hierarchies. But can they do the job or does someone from higher up (or further below) need to take control?
Created, executive produced and written by Gaiman alongside director, Douglas MacKinnon, Good Omens feels so intelligently created, wonderfully intertwined and made with passion and imagination. From the elaborate costume design to the throwback soundtracks. No detail is left untouched.
The credits feel like the end of a chapter and the series finale feels like a hard-back cover, revealing more and more of this remarkable and intricate world.
Michael Sheen and David Tennant deserve all the credit they can get for carrying the series to where it is. Their performances are more than ineffable. Sheen has the poise and sophistication while Tennant brings back that theatrical doctor-esque character we all loved. They bounce off of each other, creating harmony between heaven and hell. The unlikely friendship between the two characters is made even more entertaining by other weirdly-wonderful friendships forming around them.
Frances McDormand as the voice of God is a highlight; the addition of her monologues and historical interruptions give an essence of calm and coolness to the plot. Jon Hamm’s violet-eyed persona in the form of heavenly boss of all angels, Gabriel is the ideal linchpin between Sheen and Tennant to help carry them through to the bitter end. Jack Whitehall and Michael McKean, or should I say, Witch-finder Newton Pulsifer and Sergeant Shadwell complement each other perfectly and add to the comedic elements of the show ingeniously, but I won’t be testing a cup of tea with 9 sugars and condensed milk anytime soon…
The witch herself, Anathema Device (played by Adria Arjona) not only adds her beauty to the chaos but moulds the narrative all together to stop it from falling apart. With her experience, she also takes the new age of actors under her wing, leading them to their bright (or positively dark) futures ahead, especially for the young Antichrist, Sam Taylor Buck.
Terry Pratchett’s death back in 2015 was a loss to many, more so to Neil Gaiman who’s carried Pratchett’s wish with him: to make Good Omens into television series.
It’s safe to say that Gaiman has done the job and made Pratchett proud. From the first episode to the very last, it’s completely ludicrous but ever-so-charming, heavenly witty and devilishly fun. Bring on a second series!