Good Omens (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Good Omens
Good Omens Title Card.png
Created byNeil Gaiman
Based on
Written byNeil Gaiman
Directed byDouglas Mackinnon
Starring
Voices ofFrances McDormand
Brian Cox
Benedict Cumberbatch
Music byDavid Arnold
Country of origin
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Caroline Skinner
  • Chris Sussman
  • Rob Wilkins
  • Rod Brown
Running time51–58 minutes
Production company(s)
Release
Original network
Original releaseMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
External links
Website

Good Omens is a miniseries[1][2][3] based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A co-production between Amazon Studios and BBC Studios, the six-episode series was created and written by Gaiman, who also served as showrunner. Douglas Mackinnon directed the series. Good Omens stars an ensemble cast led by David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Adria Arjona, Miranda Richardson, Michael McKean, Jack Whitehall, Jon Hamm, and Frances McDormand as the voice of God.

All episodes were released on Amazon Prime Video on May 31, 2019, and aired weekly on BBC Two in the UK between January 15 and February 19, 2020.

Premise[edit]

Set in 2018, the series follows the demon Crowley (David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), longtime friends who, having grown accustomed to life on Earth as representatives of Heaven and Hell, seek to prevent the coming of the Antichrist and with it Armageddon, the final battle between Heaven and Hell.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Michael Sheen as Aziraphale, an angel who has lived on Earth since the dawn of creation. He was tasked with guarding the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword, which he inadvisably gave away to Adam and Eve on their expulsion from the Garden out of concern for their well-being. He has grown to love the finer things, enjoys haute cuisine and currently owns an antiquarian bookshop in London.
  • David Tennant as Crowley, a demon who has lived on Earth since the dawn of creation. Originally called "Crawly", he is the Serpent who tempted Eve with the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.[5]
  • Daniel Mays as Arthur Young, father of Adam
  • Sian Brooke as Deirdre Young, mother of Adam
  • Ned Dennehy as Hastur, a demon
  • Ariyon Bakare as Ligur, a demon
  • Nick Offerman as Thaddeus Dowling, the US Ambassador to the UK and father of Warlock
  • Anna Maxwell Martin as Beelzebub, the leader of the forces of Hell
  • Nina Sosanya as Sister Mary Loquacious, a nun of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, a satanic order of nuns who were tasked with switching a human baby with the Antichrist
  • Doon Mackichan as Archangel Michael
  • Sam Taylor Buck as Adam Young, the reluctant Antichrist who was accidentally placed in the custody of the Young family
  • Jon Hamm as the Archangel Gabriel, the leader of the forces of Heaven. While Gabriel was only mentioned once in the original novel, his role was meant to be expanded in the never-finished sequel to Good Omens, so Gaiman incorporated parts of the plot of the planned sequel regarding the role of the angels into the TV series's plot.[4] In the novel, the leader of the forces of Heaven was the Metatron.
  • Frances McDormand as the voice of God, the narrator of the series
  • Adria Arjona as Anathema Device, Agnes Nutter's last descendant, an occultist who eventually teams up with Newton Pulsifer to try and stop the end of the world
  • Miranda Richardson as Madame Tracy, a part-time medium and courtesan
  • Michael McKean as Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell, the last officer of the once proud witchfinder army
  • Jack Whitehall as Newton Pulsifer, a struggling computer engineer and descendant of witchfinder Thou-Shall-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer. Whitehall also portrays Thou-Shall-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, the witchfinder who burned Agnes Nutter at the stake.[5]
  • Mireille Enos as War: one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that appears in the form of war correspondent Carmine "Red" Zuigiber.
  • Bill Paterson as R.P. Tyler, a member of the Tadfield Neighbourhood Watch and neighbour of the Young family
  • Yusuf Gatewood as Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who appears in the form of dietician and entrepreneur Raven Sable.
  • Jamie Hill and Brian Cox as Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Hill performed Death while Cox voiced him.[6]

Featured[edit]

The below actors are credited in the opening titles of single episodes in which they play a significant role.

Recurring and guest[edit]

  • Samson Marraccino as Warlock Dowling: the son of the Dowlings, mistakenly thought to be the Antichrist
  • Jill Winternitz as Harriet Dowling: wife of Thaddeus and mother of Warlock
  • Paul Chahidi as Sandalphon
  • Josie Lawrence as Agnes Nutter, the last true witch in England. Lawrence reprises her role from the radio adaptation.
  • Amma Ris as Pepper: one of Adam's friends
  • Ilan Galkoff as Brian: one of Adam's friends
  • Alfie Taylor as Wensleydale: one of Adam's friends
  • Lourdes Faberes as Pollution: one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and appears in the place of Pestilence who has retired as a Horseman upon the discovery of penicillin.
  • Gloria Obianyo as Uriel
  • Nicholas Parsons and Elizabeth Berrington as Dagon. Parsons voices him in episode 1 while Berrington portrays Dagon in episodes 5 and 6.

Jonathan Aris appears as the Quartermaster Angel: an angel who gears up the angels for Armageddon. Adam Bond portrays Jesus Christ, whose crucifixion is witnessed by Crowley and Aziraphale. Sanjeev Bhaskar portrays Giles Baddicombe, a slimy lawyer. Steve Oram plays Horace, a motorist on the M25 hypnotised and burned alive by Crowley's sigil. Paul Kaye and Ben Crowe make vocal cameos: Kaye as a spokesman for an electricity board (impersonating the voice of Terry Pratchett) and Crowe as Freddie Mercury. Jayde Adams and Jenny Galloway play participants at Madame Tracy's seance. Alistair Findley and Jim Meskimen cameo as George H. W. Bush, Findley portrayed Bush while Meskimen voiced him. Kirsty Wark, Paul Gambaccini and Konnie Huq cameo as TV presenters. James Naughtie cameos as a radio presenter. Neil Gaiman cameos as all the individuals in the cinema scene in episode 4, besides David Tennant. Terry Pratchett's iconic hat and scarf appear in Aziraphale's bookshop.

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release dateOriginal UK air dateUK viewers
(millions) [7]
1"In the Beginning"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)January 15, 20201.92
The angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley meet for the first time at the Garden of Eden as Adam and Eve are expelled after Crowley tempts them with an apple. Fast forward 11 years before Armageddon. Crowley delivers the Antichrist to a satanic convent, where the baby is to be given to an American diplomat and his family. However, a mix-up occurs and the Antichrist ends up with a middle-class English family, the Youngs. Crowley and Aziraphale meet to discuss the coming apocalypse. Aziraphale reluctantly agrees to work with Crowley. They decide that if each works to influence the boy Warlock, whom they believe to be the Antichrist, he will be neither good nor evil, just normal. In the present day, Crowley and Aziraphale attend his 11th birthday party, but realize they have the wrong boy when the hellhound fails to appear. Meanwhile, the hellhound has found his master, Adam Young. After changing into a small terrier, Adam names him "Dog", unknowingly initiating Armageddon.
2"The Book"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)January 22, 20201.43
Aziraphale assures his superiors Gabriel and Sandalphon all is well with the Antichrist. A parcel delivery man is sent to gather the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; War, in the form of a war correspondent, receives an ancient sword. In 1656, the prophetess Agnes Nutter is burned at the stake by Witchfinder Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer; Agnes causes an explosion, killing everyone present. Her book, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, is left to her family and passed through the generations. Agnes’ descendant, American occultist Anathema Device, studies the prophecies in order to find the Antichrist and save the world. Pulsifer's descendant, Newt, meets Shadwell, a modern-day witchfinder. Invited to join his crusade, Newt meets Shadwell’s landlady, Madame Tracy, a part-time harlot and medium. Visiting the former convent, now a corporate paintball retreat, Aziraphale and Crowley learn that all records were destroyed in a fire. Drawn to Tadfield, Anathema meets Adam and his friends. Aziraphale and Crowley collide with Anathema on the road and give her a lift home. She forgets her book in Crowley’s car and Aziraphale reads it, realizing he holds the key to finding the Antichrist.
3"Hard Times"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)January 29, 2020N/A (<1.44)[a]
A series of historical events highlights Aziraphale and Crowley's growing relationship ranging from Noah's Ark and the Crucifixion of Jesus through 1960s Soho. They cross paths in Ancient Rome, Medieval England, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Revolutionary France, and London during the Blitz. At some point, they strike up an arrangement which lets each do some of the other's work, saving time and travel. In the present day, at Jasmine Cottage, Adam and Dog find Anathema, upset at losing her book. Inviting them inside, she discusses environmental issues, which fascinates Adam. He leaves with a stack of magazines. Aziraphale and Crowley separately contract Shadwell to locate the Antichrist. Newt, sole member of the "army" is sent to investigate the village of Tadfield. The second Horseman, Famine, in the form of Dr. Raven Sable, receives his package, a set of scales. Crowley and Aziraphale meet to discuss progress on finding the Antichrist. Aziraphale sidesteps the question of knowing his whereabouts. They argue and Aziraphale ends their "arrangement". That night, Adam falls asleep after pouring over the magazines. His latent powers cause a nuclear reactor to vanish.
4"Saturday Morning Funtime"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)February 5, 2020N/A (<1.41)[a]
Adam’s dreams bring several magazine articles to life, including Atlantis and the Kraken. His controlling behavior worries his friends. Aziraphale fails to convince Gabriel to stop Armageddon while his superiors question Aziraphale’s loyalty after seeing proof of his meetings with Crowley. Crowley, tries to talk Aziraphale into leaving Earth together. The last two Horsemen, Pollution and Death, are summoned. Driving to Tadfield, Newton crashes his car, and Adam and his friends take him to Anathema's cottage. Warlock’s family arrives in Megiddo. There is no hellhound and Hastur realizes Crowley lied about the Antichrist. Hastur and Ligur confront Crowley at his apartment where Ligur is disintegrated by holy water. Aziraphale phones Crowley admitting he’s found the Antichrist, but Crowley is pre-occupied with Hastur and hangs up. Hastur becomes trapped in Crowley’s answering machine while Crowley grabs his keys and runs out. On the street, the angels Michael, Sandalphon, and Uriel physically confront Aziraphale, accusing him of "consorting with the enemy". At his bookshop, Aziraphale contacts God to try to stop Armageddon. Shadwell watches through the letterbox and believing he is a demon, enters and confronts Aziraphale, who accidentally steps into the open portal and is transported to Heaven. As Shadwell leaves, he slams the door knocking over a candle, which ignites the bookshop.
5"The Doomsday Option"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)February 12, 2020N/A (<1.35)[a]
Crowley races through London to find the bookshop in flames, with no sign of Aziraphale. In Heaven, Aziraphale refuses to join the war and, determined to stop Armageddon, leaves without a body. Crowley is getting drunk in a pub when Aziraphale's apparition appears. He learns his bookshop has burned down, but Crowley saved Agnes Nutter's book, with which Aziraphale worked out who and where the Antichrist is. They arrange to meet at Tadfield Airbase after Aziraphale finds a body to inhabit. He chooses Madame Tracy's body during a seance and convinces her and Shadwell to help stop Armageddon. Crowley is stuck on the M25 as a ring of fire surrounds London. Hastur escaped from the answering machine and appears next to him. Crowley drives the Bentley through the flames, using his imagination to believe the car is not on fire, while Hastur becomes discorporated and returned to Hell. Adam comes fully into his powers, scaring away his friends and Dog. This rejection returns Adam to his "human self". Anathema and Newt arrive at the air base, joining Shadwell, Aziraphale/Madame Tracy, Adam, and his friends. The Four Horsemen arrive and take over the base's global communications hub. Crowley arrives in his flaming Bentley as Adam declares: "I'M HERE."
6"The Very Last Day of the Rest of Their Lives"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)February 19, 2020TBD
Aziraphale is ready to shoot Adam, but the weapon fires into the air when Madam Tracy cannot let him shoot a child. Learning they are two people in one body, Adam separates them. His friends defeat War, Pollution, and Famine, while Death takes his leave. Lord Beelzebub and Gabriel appear to ensure Adam re-starts Armageddon according to God's Great Plan, but he refuses. Aziraphale steps forward and asks if the Great Plan and God's ineffable plan are the same thing. Realizing they are not sure, both sides stand down. Satan emerges but is renounced by Adam, who restores the world, including Aziraphale's bookshop, Crowley's Bentley, and the lives recently lost. Found guilty of treason by their respective superiors, Aziraphale is ordered to be destroyed by a hellish flame and Crowley in a tub of holy water. To everyone's shock, both survive. Afraid of what Crowley and Aziraphale have become, Heaven and Hell agree to leave them alone on Earth. Sitting on a park bench, Aziraphale and Crowley swap back to their original bodies. Agnes Nutter's final prophesy stated "you must choose your faces wisely" providing the key to surviving their death sentences. Anathema receives an updated book of prophesies, but decides to destroy it and get on with her life. Madame Tracy and Shadwell decide to retire together in a cottage outside of London. The series ends with Aziraphale and Crowley enjoying lunch at the Ritz, making a toast "to the world".
  1. ^ a b c Not reported in the weekly top 15 programmes for four-screen viewer ratings.

Production[edit]

Promotional poster

Development[edit]

Pratchett and Gaiman had planned to adapt Good Omens as a movie for years, with various directors and writers attached to the project along the way. In 2011, a television series, written by Terry Jones and Gavin Scott, was first reported to be in the works but no further plans were announced.[8] After Pratchett's death, Gaiman refused to ever consider working on the adaptation alone but changed his mind when he received a letter from Pratchett, written to be sent after his death, urging him to finish the project.[9]

On January 19, 2017, it was announced that Amazon Prime Video had given a green-light to a television series adaptation of the novel to be co-produced with the BBC in the United Kingdom. Executive producers were set to include Gaiman, Caroline Skinner, Chris Sussman, Rob Wilkins, and Rod Brown. Gaiman was also set to adapt the novel for the screen and serve as showrunner for the series. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of BBC Studios, Narrativia, and The Blank Corporation. Distribution of the series was to be handled by BBC Worldwide.[10]

Casting[edit]

Sheen as Aziraphale and Tennant as Crowley while filming.

On August 14, 2017, it was announced that Michael Sheen and David Tennant had been cast in the lead roles of Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively.[11] On September 14, 2017, Gaiman revealed on Twitter that Nina Sosanya, Ned Dennehy, and Ariyon Bakare had joined the main cast.[12] A day later, Jack Whitehall, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, and Adria Arjona were announced as series regulars.[13] A week after that, Sam Taylor Buck, Amma Ris, Ilan Galkoff, Alfie Taylor, Daniel Mays, and Sian Brooke were also cast.[14] In October 2017, it was reported that Jon Hamm, Anna Maxwell Martin, Mireille Enos, Lourdes Faberes, and Yusuf Gatewood had joined the main cast.[15][16] In November 2017, it was reported that Reece Shearsmith and Nicholas Parsons had also been cast.[17][18] On 15 December 2017 it was reported that Derek Jacobi would voice the Metatron.[19]

On 9 February 2018 it was announced that Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss had joined the series.[20] On 6 March 2018, it was announced that Nick Offerman had been cast in a series regular role.[21] On 20 July 2018, it was announced during Amazon's San Diego Comic-Con panel that Frances McDormand had been cast as the voice of God as well as the series' narrator.[22] On 13 February 2019, Neil Gaiman announced that Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Satan with the character itself being a CGI creation.[23]

Filming[edit]

109 days of principal photography for the series took place over a six-month period beginning September 18, 2017 and ending in early March 2018.[24][25] Shooting began throughout the UK with subsequent filming taking place in and around Cape Town, South Africa.[25] In October 2017, the production was spotted filming in Surrey.[26] The series also filmed in St James's Park and Tavistock Square in London and Hambleden.[27] The Soho area of London representing the street and Aziraphale's bookshop was created and shot in Hertfordshire at Bovingdon Airbase.[25] A vacant building in Weybridge, Surrey served as Heaven's Corporate headquarters and Hogback Wood, the location for Adam and his friends was also filmed in Surrey. Bulstrode Park, just outside Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire, with its mansion and grounds, was used for the satanic convent/hospital and later the corporate training center. The American Army base was located and filmed in Upper Heyford, in Oxfordshire. The Weald and Downland Living Museum in West Sussex was used to film Agnes Nutter's burning at the stake. It was shot over a two-day period in October 2017.[24]

The car in the novel is a 1926 Bentley, but neither Gaiman nor Pratchett really knew what a 1926 model looked like when they wrote Good Omens. For the television series, a 1933 model which had more of the look Gaiman had in mind was used.[28] The Bentley used in filming is valued at £250,000.[24]

Title sequence[edit]

Good Omens' opening title sequence was created by the Peter Anderson Studio, based in London and features music by David Arnold.[29] When Douglas Mackinnon approached Anderson about the title sequence, Mackinnon stated that he wanted something "over the top". MacKinnon's idea was to communicate the coming of Armageddon, while also showing the humor and "fantastical tone", Crowley and Aziraphale's friendship, and the idea that good and evil is in everyone.[30] The project was a new style of design by Anderson and his studio, as well as a unique design for a television series. Anderson described the final result as "a totally bonkers mishmash of all animation styles in a way where they feel as if they belong together".[31][32]

The actual production used physical props, animation, illustration, 3D and some live-action motion, to depict the approaching apocalypse and clash between Heaven and Hell.[32] The goal was to include the same spirit from the show into the title sequence. Characters in the title represent "real" live-action persons from the series accomplished by dressing studio employees in the costumes from the show, filmed on green screen, and then later cutting them out and creating animations.[32] Each of the animated characters has either Crowley's or Aziraphale's face.[30]

The title sequence incorporates all the characters from the series as they move towards the Apocalypse.[31] Included are Crowley's Bentley in front of Aziraphale's bookshop, the Chattering Order of St. Beryl's nuns, Shadwell and Madame Tracy, the hellhound, flying saucers, the appearance of Death, and members of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Crowley's work on London's M25 is featured in the parade along with various towns and areas of the world.[33] In the end characters fall from earth, landing either in Heaven or Hell,[31] leading into the Good Omens title artwork.[30] The entire title sequence runs a little over one minute (1:40).[31]

Costumes[edit]

Claire Anderson was costume designer for Good Omens. She found working on the project a unique experience unlike anything else she had done.[34] Anderson received a 2019 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes for Episode 3, Hard Times.[35]  Early design centered on main characters Aziraphale and Crowley. Anderson worked closely with actors Michael Sheen and David Tennant to design their modern-day looks.[24] Once created, they served as an important influence on everything else they wore in flashbacks throughout history.[34]

Crowley's look reflected his transformation into human form from a serpent. The costume was modern, black, almost "goth like" in style, including a "snake head" belt buckle.  He often wore dark glasses to conceal his serpent eyes.[36] Crowley's outfits always had a hint of red, including red soles on his shoes, or red lining on his gloves representing his demon snake's red belly. Jackets contained red on the underside of his collar.[37] Aziraphale's outfits were the opposite of Crowley's, reflecting an ethereal nature.[36] His angel-inspired costumes included cuff-links, a signet ring, and a pocket watch, all containing angel wings.[37] Aziraphale's off-white color palette and style maintained a Victorian Era look through modern times with oversized lapels and shoulders representing his Angel wings.[37]

Other costume inspirations came from the pages of the Pratchett/ Gaiman 1990 book, itself. Details described throughout were incorporated into costumes. The modern-day character, Anathema Device, distantly related to prophetess Agnes Nutter, wears a Victorian "witchy look."  Actor Jack Whitehall, playing would be witch-hunter, Newt Pulsifer was dressed with coat badges and epaulets and the accent color mustard, merging modern geeky Newt with his 17th-century ancestor.[24] Whitehall also wanted the "odd socks" from the book incorporated into his costume.[34] Claire Anderson's idea for Jon Hamm, as Angel Gabriel was to look perfect. The designer found the material on Bond Street. It was "light, ethereal" and ephemeral."[38] The suits were cashmere and made by Italian label, Zegna. Hamm wore lilac contact lenses to emphasize the lilac in his "pearl gray" suit.[38] The Satanic Nuns of the Chattering Order's costumes were created to look like regular nuns except with a satanic undertone. Anderson looked at nuns through the years and chose to use "peaky hats" which had a more witch-like feeling rather than an evil one.[24] The costumes included an upside-down satanic symbol on their clothing as well their watches.[37] The demons from Hell, Lord Beelzebub, Duke Hastur, and Ligur, wore carefully blackened clothing with shredded hems to appear as if scorched in Hell.[24] Mr and Mrs. Young, the Antichrist Adam's parents, were dressed in a nostalgic, "timeless and comforting" 1950s look to represent their dependability. Anderson used her own parents' friends as inspiration.[24] Sergeant Shadwell is "grubby", wearing drab colors that reflect this. His defining look is a jacket with elements of a uniform to represent his witchfinder army role.[24] Madame Tracy, wore costumes to reflect her dual jobs as psychic reader and "sex worker". "Flowing gowns" and colours reflecting "kookiness" were used for her mystic persona while an ostentatious kimono represented her "lady of the night" role.[24] Many costumes had visual effects which required putting small tape markers in the shape of green crosses on people's bodies.[39]

The cold opening, featuring a flashback through history in Episode 3, required costumes to represent the various historical periods, ranging from the Garden of Eden in 4004 BC up to Soho, London in 1967.[40] Anderson took Inspiration from pre-Raphaelite paintings as well as hippie clothes from the movie Serpico.[40]  Throughout the epochs each costume reflected the period as well as the Angel/Demon aspect of their characters.(2)  The scene with Crowley and Aziraphale in armor has black throughout Crowley's armor while Aziraphale's is silvery and light.[37] A "snake-like" skin texture is part of Crowley's costume when wearing a robe or gown in ancient times.[36]

Special effects[edit]

London-based Milk VFX was chosen to create all the visual effects for Good Omens.[41] Jean-Claude Deguara, co-founder, began work in the pre-production, pre-script stage of the series. During pre-production the six scripts were broken down to work out how the VFX could interact effectively with the story in each episode.[42] Neil Gaiman was a constant source of help as he could quote from the book to help with creative decisions.[42] The goal was to use an "in-camera" shot whenever possible.[24] The Noah's Ark scene in Episode 3 used "live-action" elements whenever possible, including the smaller animals. Larger animals were added in post-production.[43] Special effects were to be used as part of the scene and "grounded in reality" for the world and characters created, not stand out on their own. Sixty visual effects specialists, the most Milk had used on a single project, worked over a two-year period to create a wide range of effects.[43] 650 CG shots were created for the six episodes of Good Omens.[44] Post Production turnaround time was five months.[42]

Deguara and his crew created a wide range of effects including creatures, environments and fire.[43] Among the environments created was a penthouse for Heaven with "ever-changing" views of the famous landmarks of the world.[24] The escalator to Hell was filmed in a modern office building in London, using "real time cinematography" as well as a green screen for special effects depicting Crowley's descent from the lobby to Hell.[24] The Soho site for Aziraphale's bookshop, built at Bovington Airfield, used a green screen to extend the streets in post-production. The site was built because Aziraphale's bookshop had to burn down with real fire, not just visual effects, something not possible to do in Soho.[24] The opening scene of Episode 1 at the Garden of Eden, filmed in South Africa, included "many green screen and interactive VFX" to create a big visual effects scene.[45] Episode 4 featured a visual effect of Crowley (David Tennant) flying through the Internet, chased by Hastur, the Duke of Hell (Ned Dennehy).[24] Tennant was in a rig that allowed him to "twist and roll at speed" while Dennehy used a wire. To make Tennant's part look realistic and hide the rig, digitally created "glitch-type movements" were created.[42]

Crowley's Bentley is almost a "character" itself in the series and is often seen racing through London at speeds above 100 mph.[43] The Bentley had to look authentic, but no real Bentley would have been able to drive at 100 mph.[28] The filming of the car through the streets of London was one of the first effects Milk VFX learned about. After locating a real Bentley, CG assets were created for the scenes on the street as well as inside the Bentley.[43] The car used is actually a combination of five different CG, real, and built versions. The Bentley that blew up in Episode 6 is real. The interior was removed and the exterior blown up.[28] Rather than using digital effects to create the scenery as Crowley is driving, the Bentley, Gavin Finney, Director of Photography, used an older technique called "back projection" which first films passing scenery from all the sides of a moving vehicle. On the set, the filmed scenes are projected onto a screen. Finney explains: "It means you see the footage as well as reflections on the glass or the driver’s face, say as the vehicle goes under trees, while it also works as a lighting source."[24]

The Hellhound was created by using, as a model for the Hellhound, a Great Dane dog with similar coloring to the small dog that was used later.[43] Using a blue screen, the Great Dane was filmed, then partially enlarged in CG to create the head and neck of a Hellhound.[46] The Hellhound visual effect was used for a couple of scenes, but the transformation to a small dog used a real dog.[43] The final episode featured a confrontation between Adam Young, the child Antichrist, and Satan, his "father who is no longer in Heaven". The original concept of Satan was a much more "hellish" version. However, Neil Gaiman wanted a more human form of the 500-foot-tall creature, rather than including "hellfire" and over-the-top demonic action.[47] Certain effects were scaled back in the rise of Satan from Hell, so that the focus became the more "human" interaction between a "father" and rebellious son who rejects him as his father.[48] Sound effects such as body sounds, rocks and moving earth were used to emphasize Satan's size and power.[48] Other visual effects included a short demon named Usher, sacrificed to test holy water, a kraken rising in the sea, wings for Crowley and Aziraphale, as well as maggots overwhelming a call center when Hastur escapes after being trapped in Crowley's voicemail.[47] Crowley's snake eyes were created using contact lenses for the most part, but were digitally enhanced when a greater effect was needed.[43]

Music[edit]

Good Omens features music written by Emmy winning composer, David Arnold, along with quite a few Queen songs throughout the series. Arnold received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Main Title theme and for the episode In the Beginning.[49] Arnold's work on Good Omens was unlike any project he had done before.[49] The composer said, "...it might be the hardest I've worked on anything." [49] Arnold describes the series as "universe-sized show in need of a universe-sized score."[50] According to the composer, the opening theme is a "kind of wicked, slightly, devilish, Mephistophelean waltz-- it has a feeling of twirling, out-of-control-ness"[51] He re-wrote the main theme for each episode to reflect what happened in the episode.[52]

Arnold used instrumentation in creating a particular theme for an episode/scene.[49] Among instruments used are lutes, and lyres, bass brass and drums, harps and more depending on the "imagery" or "emotion" of the scene.[49] In composing the music, Arnold wanted to combine "heavenly" and "satanic" elements to that when something sounded good, there would also be an element of bad as well. He says, "Whenever there was a sweet violin, there would be its nasty brother lurking alongside it.[52] The composer was a fan of Queen's music as a teenager, studying their records and how they played sounds.[50] "There is a grandiosity to that music, which kind of informed what I was doing." [50] The choirs and a chorale sound in certain parts of the series reflected this influence at times.[49]

Release[edit]

Good Omens interview at New York Comic Con in October 2018. Front: Richardson, Gaiman, and Tennant. Rear: Sheen, Hamm, and Mackinnon

The six episodes of the series were released on Amazon Prime Video on May 31, 2019,[53] and aired weekly on BBC Two between January 15 and February 19, 2020.[54][55]

David Tennant and Michael Sheen reprised their respective roles in voice-only form for a 3-minute short titled "Good Omens: Lockdown" which was released on YouTube on May 1, 2020. The short imagines how their characters might be doing in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.[56]

Marketing[edit]

On October 6, 2018, the series held a panel at the annual New York Comic Con in New York City. The panel was moderated by Whoopi Goldberg and featured creator Neil Gaiman, director Douglas Mackinnon, and cast members Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Jon Hamm, and Miranda Richardson. During the panel, the first trailer for the series was premiered and subsequently released online.[57][58]

During SXSW 2019, Amazon Prime hosted a Good Omens "Garden of Eden" Party in Austin, Texas during the entire week of the festival. The party was hosted by performers dressed as angels and demons, respectively, with free food, hair & nail services, and a full complimentary bar. David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm, Douglas Mackinnon, and Neil Gaiman made a guest appearance at the Garden of Eden briefly before showing an episode of the series for an early screening at Zach Theatre. A party hosted at the Garden by Entertainment Weekly featured a fire-breather and a spot-on Queen cover band. Good Omens-branded umbrellas and tote bags were handed out at the pop-up experience, and the Garden featured a petting zoo full of local, adoptable puppies called "Hell Hounds".[59]

Reception[edit]

Good Omens has received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 83% based on 93 reviews with an average score of 7.25 out of 10. The site's critical consensus is, "A smörgåsbord of heavenly imagery and irreverent hilarity, Good Omens works thanks to Michael Sheen and David Tennant's very-nearly-holy (or maybe unholy?) chemistry – though, at only six episodes long, it's a rare adaptation that may have benefited from being a little less faithful to the good book."[60] On Metacritic it has a score of 66% based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[61]

Petition for cancellation[edit]

An online petition that erroneously requested Netflix cancel Good Omens has reportedly received more than 20,000 signatures from people objecting to the show's content, unaware that the show was actually on Amazon. The petition, posted as part of a "Return to Order" campaign by a US Christian organization, criticizes the show's irreverent treatment of topics relating to satanism and the devil, and the use of a female voice for God. The petition has subsequently been removed from the site, corrected and reposted.[62][63]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2019
Saturn Awards Best Streaming Science Fiction, Action, & Fantasy Series Good Omens Nominated [64]
Best Actor in a Streaming Presentation David Tennant Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Presentation Michael Sheen Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes Claire Anderson, Bobbie Edwards, Beth Lewis Nominated [65]
Outstanding Music Composition For A Limited Series, Movie Or Special (Original Dramatic Score) David Arnold Nominated
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music David Arnold Nominated
Comedy.co.uk Awards Best TV Comedy Drama Good Omens Won [66]
Best Comedy of the Year Good Omens Won
Nebula Award Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Neil Gaiman (Episode: "Hard Times") Pending [67]
2020
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form Neil Gaiman, Douglas Mackinnon Pending [68]
Peabody Awards Entertainment Good Omens Pending [69]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Griffin, David (June 2, 2019). "Amazon's Good Omens Miniseries Review". Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  2. ^ Gilbert, Sophie (May 31, 2019). "The Heaven and Hell of 'Good Omens'". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  3. ^ Nelson, Samantha (May 22, 2019). "At heart, Amazon's Good Omens is a gay cosmic rom-com". The Verge. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Allen, Ben (October 2, 2017). "Jon Hamm joins David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Neil Gaiman's Good Omens". Radio Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Schwartz, Dana (September 18, 2017). "'Good Omens:' Everything You Need to Know About Amazon's Neil Gaiman Series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  6. ^ White, Peter (March 5, 2019). ""Succession" Star Brian Cox Joins Neil Gaiman's "Good Omens" As The Voice Of Death". deadline.com.
  7. ^ "Four-screen dashboard". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.
  8. ^ Cain, Sian (April 15, 2016). "Good Omens: Neil Gaiman to adapt Terry Pratchett collaboration for TV". The Guardian. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Robinson, Joanna (September 14, 2017). "First Good Omens Table Read Reveals Character Looks, Major Casting News, and More". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (January 19, 2017). "Amazon Greenlights Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens' As Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 14, 2017). "Michael Sheen, David Tennant to Star in Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens' at Amazon". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Caron, Nathalie (September 14, 2017). "The Gifted casts mutant Shatter, Good Omens adds Emerald City alum". Syfy. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  13. ^ Pedersen, Erik (September 15, 2017). "'Good Omens': Jack Whitehall, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson & Adria Arjona Join Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  14. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (September 22, 2017). "Tom Courtenay To Make 'Grandpa's Great Escape'; 'Good Omens' Adds Cast; Deutsche Telekom Gets 'Germanized' – Global Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Lewis, Hilary (October 2, 2018). "Jon Hamm to Play Archangel Gabriel in Neil Gaiman's Amazon Series 'Good Omens'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  16. ^ Pedersen, Erik (October 31, 2017). "'Good Omens': Amazon & BBC Two Cast Their Beelzebub & Horsemen Of The Apocalypse". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  17. ^ Harris, Gerard (November 3, 2017). "Reece Shearsmith joins the cast of BBC 2's Good Omens | Tuppence Magazine". Tuppence magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  18. ^ "Together at last: Sue Perkins and Kenneth Williams: News 2017: Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. November 22, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  19. ^ Roker, Sarah (December 15, 2017). "Derek Jacobi joins the cast of Good Omens". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "BBC - Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton join BBC Two's Good Omens - Media Centre". BBC. September 2, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  21. ^ Clarke, Stewart (March 6, 2018). "'Parks and Recreation' Star Nick Offerman Joins Amazon's 'Good Omens'". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Patten, Dominic (July 20, 2018). "Frances McDormand Joins Amazon's 'Good Omens' As God, Neil Gaiman Says – Comic-Con". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  23. ^ Baysinger, Tim (February 13, 2019). "Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Satan on Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens'". The Wrap. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Whyman, Matt (2019). The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion. New York New York: William Morrow An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-06-289835-7.
  25. ^ a b c Fish, Andrew (June 2019). "The End and the Beginning". American Cinematographer. 100: 30–44.
  26. ^ Perryman, Francesca (October 25, 2017). "David Tennant and Michael Sheen spotted filming in Surrey". SurreyLive. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  27. ^ Carr, Flora (May 31, 2019). "Where is Good Omens filmed?". RadioTimes. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  28. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Ashley (June 1, 2019). "How Amazon's Good Omens' Made a Classic 1930s Bentley Drive 90 Miles per Hour through an Inferno". Business Insider. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  29. ^ "Good Omens Opening Title Sequence Feat. Music by David Arnold Released". Film Music Reporter. February 14, 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  30. ^ a b c Landekic, Lola (August 9, 2019). "Good Omens". Art of the Title. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  31. ^ a b c d Kang, Mun (June 18, 2019). "Peculiar Title Design of Good Omens". Below the Line. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  32. ^ a b c Failes, Ian (June 12, 2019). "The Good Omens Title Designer on the Sequence's Hidden Details". Polygon.com. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  33. ^ Carr, Flora (February 14, 2019). "Sneaky Good Omens Easter Eggs Hidden in Opening Credits". Radio Times. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  34. ^ a b c "Costume Designer Claire Anderson Talks Dressing 'Good Omens' for Success". Film School Rejects. August 24, 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  35. ^ Gomez-Weston, Adriana (June 21, 2019). "Interview: Claire Anderson on Drawing Threads for the Costumes of 'Good Omens'". Awards Circuit. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  36. ^ a b c Desowitz, Bill (June 5, 2019). "'Good Omens': Building the Bromance Between David Tennant and Michael Sheen with Long Cold Open". IndieWire. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  37. ^ a b c d e Yeates, Cydney (August 1, 2019). "Back into the Closet: David Tennant and Michael Sheen's costumes packed with subtle angel and demon symbolism, all the wardrobe secrets from Good Omens". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  38. ^ a b Whitlock, Cathy (May 23, 2019). "'Good Omens' Costume Designer Reveals How Keith Richards Influenced Amazon Miniseries' Looks". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  39. ^ Mink, Casey (May 30, 2019). "How 'Good Omens' Brought Neil Gaiman's Angels and Demons to Life through Costume". Backstage. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  40. ^ a b Vineyard, Jennifer (August 16, 2019). "Emmy Contender: How 'Good Omens' Designed 6,000 Years of Costumes Packed with Subtle Angel and Demon Symbolism, all the Wardrobe Secrets from 'Good Omens'". SYFY Wire. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  41. ^ "'Good Omens' TV Drama VFX Breakdown by Milk Visual Effects". vfxexpress: Online VFX Animation News. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  42. ^ a b c d Frei, Vincent (June 5, 2019). "Art of VFX 'Good Omens': Jean-Claude Deguara - VFX Supervisor & Co-Founder-Milk Visual Effects". Art of VFX. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h Hogg, Trevor (April 30, 2019). "Demonically Good Visuals". Animation Magazine. 33: 24–25 – via EBSCOhost.
  44. ^ "Good Omens VFX Breakdown". Animation Boss. July 24, 2019. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  45. ^ Kleinman, Jake (June 3, 2019). "The Trickiest SFX in 'Good Omens' was David Tenant's Flaming Car". Inverse. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  46. ^ Failes, Ian (July 9, 2019). "Good Omens: Jean-Claude Deguara – VFX Supervisor & Co-founder – Milk Visual Effects". VFXV: The Magazine of Visual Effects Society. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  47. ^ a b Failes, Ian (July 9, 2019). "Good Omens Making Creatures at the End of the World". VFXV: The Magazine of the Visual Effects Society. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  48. ^ a b Yang, Rachel (June 17, 2019). "'Good Omens' Team on Creating the Confrontation With a 500-Foot Satan". Variety. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  49. ^ a b c d e f Elias, Debbie (August 13, 2019). "David Arnold Rocks the World of Good Omens' with Music -Exclusive Interview". Behind the Lens. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  50. ^ a b c Grobar, Matt (August 14, 2019). "Emmy-Nominated Composer David Arnold Playfully Experiments with Sounds of Good and Evil for Amazon's 'Good Omens'". Deadline. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  51. ^ Burlingame, Jon (June 9, 2019). "Composers Hit Balanced Notes Between Comedy and Drama". Variety. 344: 44 – via EBSCOhost.
  52. ^ a b "'Good Omens': Here's Why David Arnold's Soundtrack is Literally Out of this World". ClassicFM. May 31, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  53. ^ White, Peter (February 13, 2019). "'Good Omens' To Launch On Amazon Prime Video On May 31 – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  54. ^ "Good Omens first photo: David Tennant's demon meets Michael Sheen's angel". September 18, 2017.
  55. ^ Kanter, Jake (December 19, 2019). "'Good Omens': BBC Sets Premiere Date Nine Months After Drama Dropped On Amazon". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  56. ^ Chase, Stephanie (May 1, 2020). "Good Omens' David Tennant and Michael Sheen reunite for lockdown episode". Digital Spy. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  57. ^ Roffman, Marisa (October 6, 2018). "'Good Omens' Team Reveals Teaser, Discusses Show's "Fully Formed Brilliance"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  58. ^ Patten, Dominic (October 6, 2018). "'Good Omens' Blesses NY Comic Con With 1st Teaser Trailer At MSG Panel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  59. ^ Rodriguez, Ashley. "Amazon is flexing its marketing muscle for Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens'". Quartz. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  60. ^ "Good Omens: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  61. ^ "Good Omens". Metacritic. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  62. ^ "Religious Group Mistakenly Petitions to Get Amazon Prime's 'Good Omens' Removed From Netflix". Variety. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  63. ^ "Christian Group Admits to Error in Thinking Good Omens Was on Netflix, Redirects Petition to Amazon". Comicbook TV. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  64. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (July 16, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame', 'Game of Thrones' Lead the 2019 Saturn Awards Nominations". Collider. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  65. ^ "Emmys 2019: List of Nominations". Variety. July 16, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  66. ^ "Comedy.co.uk Awards". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  67. ^ "Announcing the 2019 Nebula Awards Finalists". Tor.com. February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  68. ^ "2020 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  69. ^ Lewis, Hilary (May 5, 2020). "Peabody Awards: 'American Factory,' 'Dickinson,' 'Watchmen' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 6, 2020.

External links[edit]