Amazon and the BBC brought us the long-awaited delight, Good Omens, this past weekend. Based on the excellent comedy of the same name by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett (and adapted by the former as a final wish to latter), the miniseries stars David Tennant as Crawly/Crowley — a demon who didn’t so much fall as saunter downwards — and Michael Sheen as Aziraphale, an angel with a penchant for collecting books and eating sushi…
The show is amazingly well-casted. Tennant oozes charisma and his rockstar-esque demon plays well with Sheen’s nervous, awkward angel. The chemistry between the two is palpable and makes the book’s subtext explicit. Other stand-outs include Adria Arjona as “professional descendant” Anathema Device, Jack Whitehall as Witchfinder Private Newton Pulsifer, John Hamm as the archangel Gabriel (in a much bigger role than he had in the book) and Sam Taylor Buck, who crushes his role as “Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast That is Called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness” == otherwise known as “Adam Young”.
In addition to the stellar cast, Gaiman’s teleplay makes Good Omens one of, if not the, best adaptations of a book I’ve seen. All the humor is there, from any CD being left in a car turning into “The Best of Queen” to Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell’s (played by Michael McKean) awful accent and obsession with the number of nipples possible witches may have. The tender moments are there, too; especially towards the end of the miniseries when everyone is reflecting on the events of the past few days == or millennia, in the case of Aziraphale and Crowley.
My only issues with the adaptation are minor quibbles. I didn’t like the look of the hellhound; it didn’t feel as scary or threatening as it should’ve. Some of my favorite jokes from the book were omitted (and one was set up visually, but they didn’t follow through with the punchline). Also, Death’s voice felt wrong, somehow; like he wasn’t speaking in ALL CAPS. Brian Cox does an excellent job, considering, but it feels like Death’s speaking voice should be more booming and colder.
Overall, I give Good Omens 5/5 Buggre Alle This Bibles. If you’ve read the book (or anything by Gaiman and Pratchett, really), it’s a faithful adaptation and you’ll love it.