(UK / US, 2019-2023)
Review by Iva Apostolova
Both oh-so-short seasons of Good Omens follow faithfully the narrative of the eponymous book written by the two titans of the fantasy genre, the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Yes, yes, for the super-fans and the sticklers for accuracy out there, the full title of the book is, indeed, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. The story follows the lives of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley throughout millennia of mischief in their favourite playground, Earth. Aziraphale is played by a platinum-bleached and doe-eyed Michael Sheen, while the demonic role is claimed by David Tennant. Obviously! There is no actor on this planet who can fit, literally and figuratively, in the black leather outfit and rock the blood-red do other than Doctor Who himself (Tennant reprised the cult role for 52 episodes, from 2005 to 2022). And to top it all off, Jon Hamm plays archangel Gabriel while Frances McDormand is the voice of God. I mean, it really doesn’t get any better than that!
Those familiar with Terry Pratchett’s whimsical humour know that irony, sarcasm and surrealism always take centre stage in his books. The screen version of Good Omens is no different. I would say it is a cross between the brilliant, kooky, comedy style of Monty Python (especially The Life of Brian), the warm and fuzzy feeling one gets from (re-) watching Love Actually and the uber-British, uber-dry humour of The Office (the version with Rickey Gervais, of course).
There are no sacred cows in the show: everything and everyone is made fun of, from the glowing heavens to the stinky hell. It is absolutely enough if you watch the show for its clever dialogue and punchy one-liners. But if you want more, the show offers an unusual love story between two polar opposites (I mean, one is supposed to represent perfect benevolence while the other, irrevocable evil) and everything in between. And if you ever wondered how some of them Biblical miracles were performed, this is certainly the show for you!
The on-screen chemistry between Sheen and Tennant is reflective of their real-life bromance which led to the unique collab project Staged. Staged is a pandemic-born (2020-2023) show in a Zoom format about two actors who are trying to rehearse for a play that’s been cancelled because of COVID. The jibber-jabber is nothing short of genius, much like Good Omens actually, where the angel and the demon end up really, really, really liking each other.
Iva Apostolova is associate professor and vice-rector, research and academic, at Saint Paul University and a regular Glebe Report contributor on films and TV.
2 seasons, 6 episodes per season
Running time per episode: 55 mins.
Available on Amazon Prime