Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Posted September 3, 2022
Available on: Prime Video, and DVD & Blu-Ray (region-free). A purchase through our links may earn us a commission.
I originally intended to review this three years ago when I first watched it, but thought it best to wait until I could read the book for comparison. For one reason or another I kept putting that off, but finally got around to it, posting that review last week. Considering I will be canceling Prime at the end of the month I watched it again after reading the book. There will be a second season, but the date for that has not been announced. The first season is on disc so I assume the second will eventually get the same treatment. A few other Prime shows have not (Seasons 5 & 6 of The Expanse for instance, Mrs. Maisel another example), but Good Omens is a joint production between Amazon and the BBC. Not sure why there will be another season, other than the popularity of the first, because the show covered all of the book and there has never been a sequel, even though an afterword in the book mentioned Gaiman and Pratchett had discussed it.
There are only 6 episodes, of about 50 minutes each not counting the credits. A very bingeable show if there ever was one, even though I didn't on either viewing. Only a few changes, very little of the book left out. In the show Derek Jacobi appears as Metatron, the voice of God, in just one scene, whereas in the book he also manifested at the climax at the American air base. Jon Hamm as Gabriel was used for the later scene. It's a fairly simple story: the Antichrist is born, and the countdown to Armageddon begins. Representatives of both Heaven and Hell are aware, but only a few humans with that knowledge, or in the case of Anathema Device (Adria Arjona), attempting to puzzle out clues from the prophecies of an ancestor, the witch Agnes Nutter, from 300 years before. SPOILER WARNING: The Apocalypse is averted, which should be evident with another season coming, but it's the means to that end that makes this a series to recommend. Most particularly the performances of David Tennant as the demon Crowley, and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale. They have interacted throughout the history of the world, on opposite sides of the Heaven/Hell conflict, yet neither's heart is in the work. They both acknowledge that humanity has been screwed from the beginning, and both have grown fond of people and earthly delights, even fond of each other.
Anyone who is deeply religious, at least of the Judeo/Christian stripe, may be offended by a lot of it, not able or willing to see the humor. The story acknowledges a lot of the theology and mythology of those creeds, including the Earth being only 6000 years old, give or take, dinosaur fossils being just a practical joke. The Garden of Eden, Eve being tempted by a serpent (David Tennant as Crawly at that point), along with several other Biblical references. What is likely to be most objectionalbe is the angels, most particularly Gabriel, are pompous and uncaring, indifferent to humanity's fate, only intent on ending the rivalry with the fallen angels once and for all. You expect that type of behavior from the demons, not those supposedly close to God. It's hard to judge God, in this show at least, since she (Frances McDormand) is just the omniscent narrator, not directly involved in any of the action. The only admirable angel is Aziraphale, and the only redeemable demon is Crowley. I can criticize show and book on one point; how long those two avoided detection as rebellious outsiders. God and heavenly angels are supposed to be omnipotent, seeing and hearing our every move, even our every thought, so you would think that would apply to their own agents as well. Apparently Heaven is as bureaucratic as any earthly organization, since someone kept dropping the ball on observations of Crowley and Aziraphale. Either that, or they were arrogant enough to think no angel could ever object to the Heavenly Plan.
Some of the humor is forced, but most is cogent and meaningful. Humans are shown to be as admirable as the angels, even more so, able to make their own decisions, decide their own fate. Even the Antichrist (Sam Taylor Buck as Adam) proves the old adage of nurture more important than nature. None of us have to fall into the trap of what society, or the gods, expect of us. We control our destiny, and if we choose correctly we are utilizing "the better angels of our nature." A second season would make sense narratively if the additional book of prophecies delivered to Anathema at the end hadn't been burned. That happens in book and show. I suppose some magic might be able to recreate them, but if not I have no idea how they intend to develop the plot after that. If Season 2 gets positive reviews I'll eventually watch it, but the prospect is not enough to convince me to keep Prime. If you have Prime, watch Season 1 if you haven't already. If not on Prime a free trial should give you enough time to watch before they charge you, or if you still get physical media then check out the discs. Use the links at the top of the page, and as always a purchase through our links may earn us a commission. However you partake of it, Good Omens is recommended.
My review of the book by Pratchett and Gaiman.
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