GOOD OMENS, from creator and showrunner Neil Gaiman (Coraline, American Gods), based on the original 1990 novel of the same name Gaiman co-wrote with Terry Pratchett centers around an overly flustered angel and a lackadaisical demon who must come together in order to stop Armageddon when they realize the life they have enjoyed on Earth will be all gone. Of course, chaos ensues. The series stars an ensemble cast featuring Michael Sheen (“Masters of Sex”, “The Good Fight”), David Tennant (“Doctor Who”, “DuckTales”), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Anna Maxwell Martin (“The Bletchley Circle”, “The Frankenstein Chronicles”), Josie Lawrence (“Humans”, Finding Your Feet), Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim: Uprising, Morbius), Michael McKean (“Better Call Saul”, The Meddler), Jack Whitehall (“Bad Education”, Jungle Cruise), Miranda Richardson (Belle, Stronger) , and Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”, “Fargo”). The series is directed by Douglas Mackinnon (“Doctor Who”, “Sherlock”).
The apocalypse is nigh and everyone has their part to play. This is what Crowley (David Tennant) discovers when he gets dragged into delivering the Antichrist to begin a prophecy that will jumpstart the process of Armageddon. It is prophesied that when the Antichrist turns eleven, he will come into his powers and destroy the world as we know it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you are looking at it, he mixes up where the baby is supposed to go. This decision will have repercussions for both Heaven and Hell as all think the prophesied Antichrist is the son of a well-known politician. Both Crowley and his high-strung angel friend Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) try to circumvent the apocalypse by trying to raise the child properly. However, when the eleventh birthday comes for the politician’s son, they realize they have lost the true Antichrist. Instead, there is an eleven-year-old boy out there who is unaware that he’s meant to destroy the world. It is with this realization that the angel and the demon team up to try to find the boy and save the world.
Although I had yet to read the original GOOD OMENS novel by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, as soon as I heard that the novel was going to be adapted into a series with David Tennant and Michael Sheen, I became excited. With Gaiman’s considerably darker American Gods being well received as a TV adaptation, I wondered tonally how well his GOOD OMENS would be received since it is considered one of his lighter works. Knowing the basics of how the story would unfold and being familiar with the humor Gaiman injects into his works, I had a feeling that I personally would absolutely love the series. And I was absolutely correct!
From the first episode, viewers will immediately get the sense of the tone and speed in which the series will gravitate towards. After the events of the premiere episode, things start to progress rather quickly as the clock starts ticking towards the end of the world. This pacing works well with the hour-long episodes, which could have easily been made to feel like a drag. Each episode is crafted to give the audience the necessary information needed, whether it’s information concerning the depths of Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship or the introduction of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which will end up popping up several times throughout the remainder of the series. The delivery of these pertinent pieces of plot-related information does not feel dumped onto the viewer. Instead, it is delivered in such a memorable way that nothing gets lost as the series moves towards its climax.
What really brings this show together is the portrayal of each character in this ensemble cast and how they work either against or in tandem with one another depending on their agenda as Armageddon approaches. It can be incredibly easy in an ensemble cast to get lost in the crowd. However, as I sit here writing this review, there is not one character that faded into the background for me. Each character had their purpose and each actor delivered in making sure that their character would stand out if just for a moment. My favorite characters, of course, are Crowley and Aziraphale because they both serve as a foil to one another. With both representing opposites, it could have been easy to make both characters completely and utterly obnoxious. However, due to the mastery of David Tennant and Michael Sheen in constructing complex characters full of remarkable shades of grey, it was hard not to fall in love and want the best for the both of them when the time came for everything to end.
All in all, I can definitely say that I think GOOD OMENS is the series to watch for everyone once the series debuts on Amazon Prime, especially since you can’t help leave each episode feeling considerably perkier than you were before. It is difficult not to be drawn into the characters, most specifically Tennant’s Crowley and Sheen’s Aziraphale. Their natural comedic chemistry with one another is so good that you end up rooting for them the entire time. Their individual performances hold you, suck you in, and make you embrace the emotional complexities of what their characters are experiencing as they frantically try to circumvent what is prophesied to come. However, as a whole, the ensemble cast also shone, with each individual actor getting their well-deserved spotlight moments and shining with a memorability that can be hard to build in an ensemble setting. Whether due to the short episode order (there are only six episodes) or because of how the show is paced, by the time you reach Armagaddeon, the moment feels earned. In some shows that feature the end of the world, it sometimes feels like once you get there that you scream out, “FINALLY! Let’s get on with it.” I did not feel this when we got to that moment in the series. In fact, I actually felt sad that it was all ending. This series is a fun and wild ride that you’ll want to stay on until the very end. You absolutely cannot miss GOOD OMENS when it comes out on May 31st on Amazon, guys. You will regret missing it.
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