Good Omens is an Amazon Prime original mini-series. The show is based on the novel of the same name. The book and series are written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It was initially released in 1990.
Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley (David Tennant) are agents of Heaven and Hell respectively. At the dawn of man both were sent to earth to spread their influence. Through differing circumstances both entities were left on earth… forever.
Since the two eternal beings have been on earth so long as the only constants they developed a unique friendship. This friendship is unknown to either side of the great and eternal war between Heaven and Hell. Circumstance and human nature lead Crowley and Aziraphale to be less than diligent in their duties.
Circumstances lead to the Anti-Christ displacement when he’s ‘born’. As the apocalypse grows closer the two improbable friends do what they can to avoid the end of the world. All while not letting those they report to know about it.
The story is tough to summarize but the dry wit, cheeky, and humorous take on the apocalypse is a refreshing take on the end of the world. The battle between heaven and hell, biblical stories, and human history, are all tackled. Tackling these subjects in a TV show with enough charm and class to appeal for the masses is no small feat. Good Omens doesn’t preach. It never takes a side or puts down any other version of beliefs.
I never like the never ending, and often arrogant, argument of “well in the book…” so let’s do this part quickly. This is a TV show. It isn’t a book. It’s not a line for line remake. Infact, Good Omens was re-written entirely for the screen by the original authors. The story was boiled down and compressed so the core elements were preserved. The story was re-written from the ground up so that the stuff that doesn’t make it to the screen isn’t painfully missed. As with any good show, previous knowledge of the story is not a prerequisite. I’d even take it one step further and say that the show is superior to the book in a lot of ways.
Good Omens is an Amazon Prime Original series.
So, how the show actually improved on an already great work? The biggest thing that stands out is also one of the best aspects about the show. Crowley and Aziraphale. The characters are given way more to do and are much more the center of focus in the series. This means that David Tennant and Michael Sheen are in nearly every shot which is absolute perfection.
Another strength Amazon found is in the less is more approach. This is a miniseries. All six episodes came out on the same day and Neil Gaiman himself has said there is no more coming. That means every hour is important and everything that made it to the final cut matters. There is no treading water while audiences sit and hope that enough people watch for it to come back and give us an ending. It’s all there for you. Enjoy it.
Good Omens is a good book turned into a great show. The tone is perfect, the acting is top notch, and the whole story is presented to you. The first episode feels a bit slow but after only the slightest of hiccups it’s a fantastic series.