Neil Gaiman has got a bit of a rep for his (sometimes worryingly) wild imagination, his novels revered for their incredibly visual fantastical elements. In fact, some of his writing has actually been labelled too difficult to translate for screen – Good Omens is one of those.
Never shying away from a challenge, BBC studios have given it a go, and thank Good Omens they did. We begin where it all begins, the creation of the universe. Adam and Eve tottering about naked as the day they were born – or, created – and meddling with fruit that ought not to be meddled with. Familiar stuff, right? For now. In this version, the serpent is replaced with a demon named Crawley, who’s to blame for tempting eve, and an angel Aziraphale gets in the mix by giving Adam a flaming sword. Then, we skip forward a quick 6,000 years, to the chaos of the modern day.
No, we don’t mean tax returns and inflated house prices, we mean antichrist babies. Crawley has been up to no good again, delivering an evil baby to a bunch of satanic nuns, who then give said baby to an unsuspecting family who are unaware they’re raising the literal demise of the earth. What a pickle. Luckily, our angel-demon-duo Crawley and Aziraphale are on hand to avert the apocalypse by attempting to help raise this wrong kid right. We admit, it’s a slightly mad story. But it’s also brilliant. Co-writer Terry Pratchett was desperate to see the story come to life on screen, and after his passing in 2015 Gaiman vowed to make it happen. And what a job he’s done – every obscure detail is in there, with all the frantic fantasy that makes the story so entertaining. Micheal Sheen playing Aziraphael and David Tennant as Crawley are the perfect choices in casting – Tennant is an eccentric and cynical demon, whilst Sheen plays a gentle and awkward angle. They come together in a feast of wit and imagination, delivered in a bingeable six-episode mini-series.
Mike Hale of The New York Times says the series is “studded with piquant performances by veteran actors,” giving extra points for it having “the wit and good taste to mock “The Sound of Music” on multiple occasions.” The Independent’s Jack Shepherd says Good Omens is “as close to Pratchett’s vision as anyone could have dared dream.,” bringing his “wonderfully obscure imaginations to the screen.” However, Lucy Mangan in The Guardian wasn’t such a fan, saying that “fleshing out minor figures, and bringing the themes alive with more modern touches,” would have made for a more compelling watch.
First shown May 2019. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here: