Based on the book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman Good Omens is a Amazon Prime produced TV series starring David Tennant as Crowley and Michael Sheen as Aziraphale, a demon and an angel respectively that have been on Earth since the time of Adam and Eve. The miniseries is Amazon Prime exclusive and was released on the 31st May 2019. If you have a membership you can watch it for free as part of your Prime package. If you haven't...well, then you can't watch it, obviously.
I have been a fan of David Tennant since his outing as the
10th and best Doctor in Doctor Who, his manic energy granted so much energy to the Time Lord that it was impossible not to be entertained. Now whilst others have attempted to do the same
they always just seemed to be imitating him rather than making the role their own. I have also seen Michael Sheen in various roles including the Lycan Lucian in the Underworld films where he
gave the character a calm menace that you wouldn't expect from a werewolf. My point is that both are superb actors and I was looking forward to seeing how they would bring their respective characters
to life here.
The premise of the series is that Crowley is a Demon and Aziraphale an Angel. Crowley was the one who tempted Eve with the Apple in the Garden of Eden, and Aziraphale gave Adam and Eve his flaming sword when they were cast out of paradise.
Over the centuries the demon and angel have formed an unlikely friendship in which they both are able to enjoy their favourite aspects of humanity whilst causing (or at least taking credit) for various good or bad deeds to appease their head offices.
Their enjoyable lives on Earth come under threat when Crowley is told that the Anti-Christ has been born and it is up to him to deliver the child into a family so the Apocalypse can being when the child reaches 11 years old. Crowley and Aziraphale hatch a plan to put themselves in the child's life to act as literal demon and angel on his shoulder, hoping that by the time he hits 11 he will have realised that he doesn't need to be evil and can chose to be good, thus preventing the Apocalypse if he so desires.
Unfortunately due to a mix up at the hospital the anti-Christ is not given to the intended American diplomat but an English couple.
Aziraphale and Crowley influence the child through his first 11 years and on the eve of his birthday they await the coming of his Hell-Hound. A beast that will unite with its Master, take on its final form, and the countdown to the end of the world will begin.
Unfortunately the beast does not seek out the child they have been influencing for 11 years, and they realise that they have been watching the wrong child.
With time running out they must hurry to find the child before the Apocalypse begins and the forces of Heaven and Hell return to Earth to battle for supremacy whilst washing away humanity in a wave of destruction...
So straight off the bat I love the premise of the series, a demon and an angel working together for a common goal. It always irritates me when good and evil is black and white, right and wrong, as there are so many shades of grey. Shows like Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed that whilst there are those that are "evil" they are capable of seeing the bigger picture so good and evil joining together is an idea I like. In my own works (oh yeah in case you don't know I've written a number of novels during my time here) I always enjoy exploring the notion that the lines between good and evil are often blurred, Bad people are capable of good things and Good people are capable of bad things. Plus Good and Bad are also a matter of perspective similarly that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I was, therefore, already massively on board with the idea that the show was based upon.
David Tennant and Michael Sheen also have a great on-screen chemistry with both fitting their characters perfectly. Tennant as the demon Crowley and Sheen as Aziraphale, the polite and soft spoken angel. Tennant also doesn't go too manic which works in the series' favour as he could have ended up giving us a Doctor-esque performance which I wouldn't have minded but I don't think would have necessarily worked alongside the straight-man character that Sheen was portraying. The friendship between the two is rocky but strong and my personal favourite part of the series was a collection of flashbacks showing how the friendship formed, and that the two have been helping one another throughout the centuries.
The supporting cast is both Holier-Than-Thou and twisted diabolical as we see the likes of John Hamm portraying the Archangel Gabriel with Ned Dennehy, and Anna Maxwell Martin as the twisted Demons. Suitably there are moments that are not horror exactly because this is a family show, however, they do manage to show the demons to be twisted monsters. The series only has a PG rating so it just demonstrates that gore is not always necessary as it is possibly to make something family friendly but also convey things that are designed to be, for want of a better word, evil.
The supporting characters naturally want to see the Apocalypse happening as it is part of the divine plan and neither side are happy at the prospect of Crowley or Aziraphale interfering.
In the mix as well, we have a witch named Anathema Device (Adria Arjona) that is also trying to stop the End of Days being guided by a series of prophecies left behind by one of her ancestors. Plus a new Witch-Hunter named Newton Pulsifer (Jack Whitehall), who’s witch-hunter ancestor killed Anathema’s ancestor for being a witch, is dispatched to destroy Anathema because witches are considered to be twisted monsters that need to be killed.
The show is also narrated over by name as God, however, Derek Jackobi also cameos as the "Voice of the Almighty" as naturally the world doesn't know that God is in fact a woman.
In terms of acting the only weak link is Sam Taylor Buck as Adam the Anti-Christ. He is generally fairly wooden and barely has any expression most of the time. I guess this could have been intentional but as the Darkness within him begin to manifest, he doesn't react to his growing powers at all. He doesn't get freaked out when things that he's imagining just start happening around the world, nor does he relish his growing power and the idea that he can do whatever he wants.
Most of the effects are achieved simply using make-up with the use of CGI being rather sparing. There is one exception with the Lord of Darkness being a huge CGI monster (the CGI does look pretty good admittedly) voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Sadly I think the show really missed an opportunity to have the Lord of Hell taking on the appearance of a man. Cumberbatch could have effortlessly appeared sinister and his voice being the personification of the Devil would have fitted perfectly with the idea of the Devil whispering into a person's ear.
Thing is though there is a demon in the show called Beelzebub which I thought was another name for the Devil, like Lucifer or the Lord of Darkness. I was initially under the impression that Beelzebub was the one in charge but they also answer to Satan himself so not sure if I got my Bible stuff wrong.
The only other thing that I thought was a tad unnecessary is a sex scene (well PG sex scene) between Anathema and Newton Pulsifer because it doesn't seem to serve a purpose. Anathema has lived by the prophecies of her ancestor her whole life and in one of these prophecies it says that when the Apocalypse begins she will have sex with a witch hunter. So when she and Newton are under a bed, sheltering from a tornado that starts to rip the surrounding area, she grabs Newton and basically fucks the crap out of him...because it was prophesised.
Wouldn't a prophecy happen regardless of whether the person it spoke of was aware of it or not??
Think about it, if someone prophesised that on the 29th July 2019 I was tinkering with the reactor and it blew up killing me then that is something that I'd consider to be out of my control. I might have been working on the reactor because it was in danger of exploding; if I didn't try to fix it, when it blew it would take two-thirds of this planet with it. If I didn't try to fix it I was as good as dead anyway. However, if someone prophesised that I was going to eat chips that day, all I'd need to do is not eat chips, and the prophecy would be wrong. Plus it doesn't add anything to the story, Anathema and Newton hump under a bed, somehow, which must have been a little tricky considering the bed is only a foot or two off the floor but let’s not get bogged down by that little detail. Afterwards they get back to trying to stop the Apocalypse. Not sure what it added to the series and if it was just to break the cycle of witch and witch hunter killing one another throughout the years. Still Newton had only just been recruited into the Witch-Hunters rather than a lifelong member and didn't seem to be that into the whole witch hunter thing anything, even though he got at least balls deep in...er, never mind
Anyway, all in all it is a great series with Sheen and Tennant effortlessly lighting up the screen whenever they appear, more so when they are sharing the screen together. Both play their parts superbly with the majority of the supporting cast also giving excellent performances as they try to bring about or prevent the End of Days. The show easily earns a Thumbs Up and is a must watch for anyone who has a subscription to Amazon Prime.
8/10 - Thoroughly entertaining show that knows when to have a sense of humour and when to play things straighter. Its cast are all perfect but Sheen and Tennant make an excellent on-screen double act, bouncing off another beautifully, and making the whole show a must watch for Amazon Prime subscribers.