Like many fans, we can’t wait for Amazon’s new TV series Good Omens to start – here are just a few of the reasons why…
It will help to pass the time until the next season of The Good Place comes out
Season three of The Good Place concluded on January 24th, and the long wait for season four is here. But fear not! Another comedy drama series about angels and demons and Heaven and Hell is coming soon! Based on the book Good Omens, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, this series will feel very familiar to anyone who has watched The Good Place, Supernatural, or Lucifer (not to mention, obviously, the other screen adaptations of Pratchett and Gaiman’s works, including the Discworld TV dramas and American Gods) and will help to plug that gap in your TV-viewing schedule.
The David Tennant and Michael Sheen Factor
These two are playing the two lead characters, the demon Crowley (Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (Sheen). As well as the geek-friendly casting of a former Doctor, these are two of the most charismatic actors out there, both with proven ability to make big, over-the-top performances really work, and so are perfect casting for an angel and a demon facing the end of the world.
And the rest of the cast and crew too
The cast also includes Jon Hamm, Mark Gatiss, Miranda Richardson, Derek Jacobi, Nick Offerman, David Morissey, a freshly announced Benedict Cumberbatch… the list goes on, and they’re the cream of the acting crop. Director Douglas Mackinnon has some serious fantasy chops, having directed episodes of Outlander, Doctor Who, and Jekyll, as well as geek favorite Sherlock. And the whole series was written by Gaiman himself, one of the two authors of the original book – you can’t get much more faithful to the source material than that.
There will be extra material that isn’t in the book
Mackinnon told Entertainment Weekly at San Diego Comic-Con that episode three will feature the history of Crowley and Aziraphale, from ideas Gaiman and Pratchett had talked about when writing the original story. This isn’t the only extra touch. Gaiman is an old hand at screen adaptation and at producing the same story through different media, having written Neverwhere as a television series and as a novel at almost the same time, and developing MirrorMask as a film before writing it as a children’s book. He is well aware of the demands of different media and the way a story can be enriched by changing it to fit a new format. So while this adaptation can hardly be criticized for being unfaithful considering it’s written by one of the authors of the book, it will be different, and that is what will make it a thrilling viewing experience both for those who have read the book, and for those who haven’t.
Hopefully there will be Queen music
Fond jokes about Queen music (in the vein of Shaun Of The Dead’s use of “Don’t Stop Me Now“) are a key aspect of the novel. The trailer features a classic Queen track (“You’re My Best Friend“) and Mackinnon has suggested at SDCC that “there might be a little bit of Queen,” so hopefully that means the series has the rights to some good old fashioned Queen soft rock, and can make the audio that plays in our heads as we read the book come to life. Though, sadly, they have had to jettison the gag about cassette tapes.
The story captures the best of Terry Pratchett combined with the best of Neil Gaiman
Good Omens came out in 1990, a year in which Pratchett also had four other books published – Eric and Moving Pictures in the Discworld series, and Diggers and Wings in the Bromeliad series. At this stage, the Discworld books had moved on from the slightly two-dimensional fantasy spoofs of the very early books, and was starting to become the bigger, more fully-realized world we now know. Guards! Guards! had been published the year before, kicking off perhaps the most popular sub-series within the Discworld, the City Watch books, while the Death and Witches sub-series were going strong, with Reaper Man and Witches Abroad appearing the following year. Gaiman, meanwhile, was working on the comic book series that made his name, Sandman.
While the two authors’ written styles are clearly distinct in their own works, in Good Omens, they blend perfectly. The story follows a wry take on religion and mythology, which suits both to a T – it would be a few years before Pratchett would write a ceramic atheist or Gaiman would create the rich (and often imitated) myth-driven world of American Gods, but the seeds of both can be seen here. Pratchett’s down-to-earth humour combined with Gaiman’s flair for the surreal and the weird come together perfectly in the source novel. With Gaiman writing the television adaptation, based partly on ideas from their original collaboration, it is to be hoped that this combination will shine through in the new TV series.
It was one of Pratchett’s final requests
Gaiman has made it clear on numerous occasions that he made this series for Terry Pratchett. There had been several earlier attempts to adapt the book for film, all of which failed, and it had ended up adapted for radio by BBC Radio 4 in 2014, not long before Pratchett’s death from complications from Alzheimer’s Disease in early 2015. As Gaiman told Entertainment Weekly, Pratchett had e-mailed not long before he died to ask Gaiman to over-see a screen adaptation of the book. Gaiman has truly honored his friend’s request in writing and producing this adaptation, and Pratchett fans will no doubt be keen to complete the request by watching and enjoying it.
All episodes of Good Omens will land on Amazon Prime Video on May 31st. Stay update to date with the latest Good Omens trailers, news, and more here.