One of the things I questioned about Good Omens was how the series would adapt the book. The Amazon Prime Original is hilariously close to the source material, with a few fun additions for viewers.
There are no spoilers in this about Good Omens for those who haven’t read the source material, so you can get an idea of what to expect without the storylines.
There’s always a worry when shows are adapted from book material. Will the show be as good as the book? How much will need to be cut? Is it even possible to transform a book like Good Omens into a TV series?
I’ll admit that as much as I loved the trailers and teasers from the production, I worried about this show. Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel is this crazy ride with plenty of description. It takes the reader on a wild ride that you just don’t want to get off. Was it possible to put this vibrant, explosive book on screen?
Well, there’s no need to worry about the adaptation. The show keeps all the same humor and manages to transform the multiple separate storylines in a way that doesn’t pull you out of each other one. Eventually, you know all the storylines are going to combine just like you do in the novel, but the show offers an extra insight into how these storylines can all come together.
One thing the book doesn’t always manage to do is give you a clear look at the characters various people are talking to. In some aspects, the novel is a slow burn for particular storylines, especially when it comes to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Witchfinders. The series helps to speed some of that up – and I say some because the
Four Horsemen Motorcyclists of the Apocalypse remain a relatively slow burn.
It’s all about the actors
I don’t usually say how two stars will make the series, but this is the case for Good Omens. Michael Sheen and David Tennant are perfect in the roles of Aziraphale and Crowley. Their chemistry on screen at every turn is exactly what this miniseries needs (and yes, it’s planned as a miniseries, unfortunately). This show relied on getting the right people in these two roles, and we get a cocky demon and nervous, over-the-top angel balancing each other out perfectly.
One of my favorite moments comes in Episode 3, as we see the two characters throughout the ages. We don’t need to know exactly what happened in history during these moments – the events happening in the background are enough. This moment is all about the interaction between the two. And they’re interactions you need to pay attention to because elements come up later.
I will admit that there are times I get the sense of The Doctor in David Tennant now and then. I think it’s going to be hard for Doctor Who fans not to see elements of that character, although we have a guy who is happy to do evil in Good Omens.
In the novel, Gabriel is only mentioned and never really seen. The TV show adapts this character with the excellent Jon Hamm in the role. His cockiness is everything you’ll hate about angels, especially if you’re a Supernatural fan like me. While the novel leaves you learning of some events through telling, the inclusion of Heaven (and some elements of Hell) show us the events instead, adding another visual layer for the viewer.
Then there’s the Antichrist, who has gone missing. The boy Crowley and Aziraphale believe is the Antichrist isn’t the right guy, meaning they need to go looking for him. The boy they do have playing the role takes on the role effortlessly. His role in the story and his three amigos offer a lighter, child-like balance to this tale, which it certainly needs at times.
Visually, the show is going to be one of the most appealing on TV right now. Yes, there’s some bad CGI but that’s the whole point of the effects used. It’s not a show that takes itself seriously — just like the novel doesn’t. This is for pure entertainment and that’s what you’re going to get from all six episodes.
What about the voiceover?
To transform this book into a series and keep the humor, a voiceover has to be used. Most of the time, I find voiceovers a bad point. However, for this particular show it works.
Sometimes the voiceover is a little too much. It can take you out of the journey of the characters now and then. There are times that we could do with the show actually showing us more events than telling them. However, there are times the voiceover is definitely needed.
My only real complaint is that this is a miniseries. I need more Good Omens and I guarantee you will too.
Are you ready for Good Omens? What did you think of the novel? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Good Omens premieres on May 31 on Amazon Prime Video.