Good Omens (miniseries)

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Good Omens
Good Omens Title Card.png
Created byNeil Gaiman
Based on
Written byNeil Gaiman
Directed byDouglas Mackinnon
Starring
Voices ofFrances McDormand
Music byDavid Arnold
Country of origin
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
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 written and created by Gaiman, who also served as showrunner, and directed by Douglas Mackinnon. The series stars an ensemble cast led by David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Adria Arjona, Miranda Richardson, Michael McKean, Jack Whitehall, Jon Hamm and Frances McDormand.

All episodes of the series were released on May 31, 2019, on Amazon Video, and will later be broadcast weekly on BBC Two.

Plot[edit]

Set in 2018, the series follows the demon Crowley (David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), who, being accustomed to life on Earth, 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]

  • 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]
  • 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. He loves the finer things and currently owns an antiquarian bookstore in London.
  • 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' 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
  • Jack Whitehall as Newton Pulsifer: a struggling software designer and descendant of witchfinder Thou-Shall-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer.[5]
  • Adria Arjona as Anathema Device: Agnes Nutter's last descendant, a witch who teams up with Aziraphale and Crowley to stop the end of the world
  • Michael McKean as Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell: the last officer of the once proud witchfinder army
  • Miranda Richardson as Madame Tracy: a part-time medium and courtesan

Recurring[edit]

  • Ned Dennehy as Hastur: a demon
  • Ariyon Bakare as Ligur: a demon
  • Daniel Mays as Arthur Young: father of Adam
  • Sian Brooke as Deidre Young: mother of Adam
  • Nick Offerman as Thaddeus Dowling: the U.S. Ambassador and father of Warlock
  • Jill Winternitz as Harriet Dowling: wife of Thaddeus and mother of Warlock
  • 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 baby with the Antichrist
  • Anna Maxwell Martin as Beelzebub: the leader of the forces of Hell
  • Doon Mackichan as Archangel Michael
  • Paul Chahidi as Sandalphon
  • Josie Lawrence as Agnes Nutter, the last true witch in England
  • 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
  • Simon Merrells as Leslie the International Express Man: a man who helps summons the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  • 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 Neighborhood Watch and neighbor of the Young family
  • 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
  • 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]

Guests[edit]

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 date
1"In the Beginning"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
Aziraphale, an angel and former guardian of Eden, and Crowley, the demon who tempted Adam and Eve in the form of the Serpent, are the respective representatives of Heaven and Hell on Earth. Both have grown fond of earthly life and have formed an alliance to complete various blessings and temptations whenever the other may require them. Crowley delivers the infant Antichrist to a hospital overseen by the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, a group of Satanic nuns. Two families are present at the hospital: the Dowlings, an American diplomat and his wife; and the middle-class Youngs. The Antichrist, meant for the Dowlings, is inadvertently placed with the Youngs. Aziraphale and Crowley, both reluctant to facilitate Armageddon, hope to influence the child (whom the Dowlings name Warlock) in equal heavenly and hellish measures so that he becomes normal. The two lie to their respective leaders, archangel Gabriel and head demon Beelzebub, about their plan. At Warlock's eleventh birthday party, Aziraphale and Crowley wait for the hellhound who is destined to arrive on the antichrist child's 11th birthday. When the hound does not arrive, they realize they have the wrong boy. The hellhound locates the real Antichrist, Adam Young, and conforms to Adam's wishes transforming into the form of a small dog. Adam names the hound "Dog", initiating the countdown to Armageddon, to Aziraphale and Crowley's chagrin.
2"The Book"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
The forces of Heaven and Hell still do not know about Aziraphale and Crowley’s true plan. Meanwhile, the a postman is given the task of summoning the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: first War, then Famine, then Pollution, and finally Death. American Anathema Device (the descendant of Agnes Nutter) arrives in England. A flashback reveals that Agnes Nutter had written a book of her prophecies called The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch which also included when she would die. Before she was burned at the stake by Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultry Pulsifer, she snuck some gunpowder and nails into her dress that also killed everyone present. In the present day, Newton Pulsifer (the descendant of Thou-Shall-Not-Commit-Adultry Pulsifer) meets Shadwell, a modern day witch finder, who invites him to join his crusade. He also meets Madame Tracy, a harlot and medium and landlord of Shadwell. Meanwhile, Aziraphale and Crowley go to the nunnery to figure out what went wrong in the baby switch. However, all the records have been destroyed because Crowley’s fellow demons burned the nunnery. Adam and his friends later meet Anathema who lives nearby, and they befriend her. Aziraphale and Crowley have a run-in with Anathema and accidentally take her book. Aziraphale reads the book at his bookshop and notices the accuracy of her prophecies, which include the location and name of the Antichrist, Adam Young.
3"Hard Times"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
The episode begins with a series of historical and biblical events that Aziraphale and Crowley have witnessed and experienced and how their relationship grew, including Aziraphale robbing a church for Crowley to prevent the latter's death. Among these events are Noah’s Ark before the flood, the Crucifixion of Jesus, the days of King Arthur, meeting William Shakespeare, the French Revolution, and dealing with Nazis seeking books of prophecies during World War II. In the present day, Adam comforts Anathema after she loses her book. Both Aziraphale and Crowley separately send Shadwell to find Adam. Shadwell later sends Newton there to investigate. Aziraphale tries to tell Gabriel and the forces of Heaven about the Antichrist switch up, but they do not seem to care and later cast suspicion on him. Meanwhile, Adam mysteriously makes a nuclear reactor disappear from an air base because of what Anathema told him.
4"Saturday Morning Funtime"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
Things that Adam has read about and been told by Anathema become true like Tibetan monks in an underground tunnel, the reappearance of the Lost City of Atlantis, aliens arriving, and the Kraken destroying whaling ships. Aziraphale tries to convince Gabriel to prevent the war, but he refuses. Gabriel also learns Aziraphale has been consulting with Crowley. Meanwhile, Newton soon arrives in Adam’s hometown, Tadfield. His car crashes, injuring him and causing Adam and his friends to bring him to Anathema’s house to heal up. Newton reveals to her that Adam is the Antichrist. Adam starts showing signs of being the Antichrist, which worries his friends. He eventually does not allow them to leave his sight. Ligur and Hastur find out Crowley lied about finding the real Antichrist and go after him. He manages to kill Ligur with holy water and trap Hastur in the answering machine. Meanwhile, God talks the audience through the theological question, 'How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?' Aziraphale consults the Metatron and tries to convince him to prevent the war, but he too agrees it is a good thing. Shadwell arrives in Aziraphale’s bookshop convinced he is in league with the witches and demons and tries to exorcise him, but ends up separating him from his mortal body and sending him up to Heaven. Shadwell also accidentally burns down the bookshop.
5"The Doomsday Option"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
Crowley becomes deeply distraught to find Aziraphale's bookshop in flames and no sign of him, leading him to believe he has "lost his best friend." Meanwhile, Aziraphale is discorporated from his physical body. He is able to tell Crowley that he placed information about the Antichrist in Agnes Nutter's book which Crowley salvaged from the bookshop. Aziraphale co-inhabits Madame Tracy's body. With Shadwell, they head to the military base in Tadfield to meet with Crowley. Hastur escapes from the answering machine and teleports into Crowley's car that he drives through a fire causing Hastur to be incinerated. Adam comes to his power, but he frightens off his friends. Upset over his friends leaving him, Adam comes back to himself not fully remembering. He and his friends also head to the military base. At the military base, the Four Horsemen have taken over the classified communications hub from which they gain control of all the world's systems. Crowley catches up to Shadwell and Madame Tracy.
6"The Very Last Day of the Rest of Their Lives"Douglas MackinnonNeil GaimanMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
Adam uses his abilities to separate Aziraphale from Madame Tracy. Adam's friends defeat War, Pollution, and Famine while Death takes his leave. Beelzebub and Gabriel come to Earth to have Adam start Armageddon in accordance with the Great Plan, yet Adam refuses. Aziraphale and Crowley suggest to their respective superiors that what they want may be part of the Great Plan, but perhaps not the Ineffable Plan. Both sides reluctantly stand down. Satan hears of Adam's refusal from Beelzebub and comes up to Earth to destroy Adam. Adam confronts Satan, renouncing him as his father. Satan disintegrates just as Adam's earthly father arrives, rendering Adam human and no longer the Antichrist. Adam repairs the world to how it was before Armageddon started, including restoring Aziraphale's bookshop and Crowley's Bentley. Two men do claim that the Kraken was a hallucination despite the fact that some deaths were caused by it. Aziraphale and Crowley are tried by their respective peers for treason. They are found guilty and are sentenced to the most extreme punishment with Aziraphale being told by Gabriel to get into the Hellfire while Crowley enters a tub filled with holy water provided by Michael. Yet to everyone's shock, they both survive. Back on Earth, Aziraphale and Crowley switch back their outer appearances, which is why they were able to survive their sentences. Anathema is sent a continued version of Agnes Nutter's prophecies, but Newton convinces her to let go of her responsibility to follow the prophecies and she burns them. Adam still has some of his reality-warping powers while confined to his parent's property. Shadwell and Tracy start a relationship. Aziraphale and Crowley finally have lunch as a nightingale sings in Berkeley Square as God states that nobody can hear it over the traffic.

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 at various times. 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.[7] 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.[8]

On January 19, 2017, it was announced that Amazon 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.[9]

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

On 9 February 2018 it was announced that Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss had joined the series.[19] On 6 March 2018, it was announced that Nick Offerman had been cast in a series regular role.[20] 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.[21] On 13 February 2019, Neil Gaiman announced that Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Satan with the character itself being a CGI creation.[22]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the series began in September 2017, with Gaiman tweeting a picture of Tennant and Sheen in costume on set.[23] In October 2017, the production was spotted filming in Surrey.[24] The series also filmed in St James's Park in London, Hambleden[25] in Buckinghamshire, and wrapped in March 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.[26] Gaiman revealed at the New York Comic Con 2018 panel that they used a Bentley 1934 model, unlike the 1929 model mentioned in the book. This was due to the authors' lack of research on cars at the time of writing the book, and the 1934 model was more the look the authors had in mind.[27]

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 was released on Amazon Prime Video on May 31, 2019,[28] and will later broadcast weekly on BBC Two.[29]

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.[30][31]

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".[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Good Omens has received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 82% based on 60 reviews with an average score of 6.91 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."[32] On Metacritic it has a score of 66% based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[33]

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. ^ Cain, Sian (April 15, 2016). "Good Omens: Neil Gaiman to adapt Terry Pratchett collaboration for TV". The Guardian. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Robinson, Joanna (September 14, 2017). "First Good Omens Table Read Reveals Character Looks, Major Casting News, and More". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (January 19, 2017). "Amazon Greenlights Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens' As Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 14, 2017). "Michael Sheen, David Tennant to Star in Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens' at Amazon". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Caron, Nathalie (September 14, 2017). "The Gifted casts mutant Shatter, Good Omens adds Emerald City alum". Syfy. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Pedersen, Erik (September 15, 2017). "'Good Omens': Jack Whitehall, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson & Adria Arjona Join Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Pedersen, Erik (October 31, 2017). "'Good Omens': Amazon & BBC Two Cast Their Beelzebub & Horsemen Of The Apocalypse". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  16. ^ Harris, Gerard (November 3, 2017). "Reece Shearsmith joins the cast of BBC 2's Good Omens | Tuppence Magazine". Tuppence magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Together at last: Sue Perkins and Kenneth Williams: News 2017: Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. November 22, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Roker, Sarah (December 15, 2017). "Derek Jacobi joins the cast of Good Omens". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "BBC - Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton join BBC Two's Good Omens - Media Centre". BBC. September 2, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  20. ^ Clarke, Stewart (March 6, 2018). "'Parks and Recreation' Star Nick Offerman Joins Amazon's 'Good Omens'". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Baysinger, Tim (February 13, 2019). "Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Satan on Neil Gaiman's 'Good Omens'". The Wrap. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  23. ^ Gaiman, Neil [@neilhimself] (September 18, 2017). "They are amazing. This is them in the opening scenes, 11 years ago, in St James's Park. David and Michael, demon & angel. #GoodOmens" (Tweet). Retrieved January 20, 2019 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Perryman, Francesca (October 25, 2017). "David Tennant and Michael Sheen spotted filming in Surrey". SurreyLive. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  25. ^ Carr, Flora (May 31, 2019). "Where is Good Omens filmed?". RadioTimes. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Deehan, Tom (March 7, 2018). "Filming for Neil Gaiman's Good Omens to wrap in South Africa". The Location Guide. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  27. ^ "In the Beginning". Good Omens. Episode 1. May 31, 2019. Event occurs at 28:29. Amazon Video. Retrieved June 3, 2019. Neil Gaiman revealed at a panel during New York Comic Con 2018 that the Bentley used in the show is a 1934 model. Neil admits that no research was done on cars during the writing of the book, so when it came time to select a car for the show they found the 1929 model mentioned in the book did not have the look the authors had been going for.
  28. ^ White, Peter (February 13, 2019). "'Good Omens' To Launch On Amazon Prime Video On May 31 – TCA". Deadline. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  29. ^ "Good Omens first photo: David Tennant's demon meets Michael Sheen's angel". September 18, 2017.
  30. ^ Roffman, Marisa (October 6, 2018). "'Good Omens' Team Reveals Teaser, Discusses Show's "Fully Formed Brilliance"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  31. ^ Patten, Dominic (October 6, 2018). "'Good Omens' Blesses NY Comic Con With 1st Teaser Trailer At MSG Panel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  32. ^ "Good Omens: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  33. ^ "Good Omens". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2019.

External links[edit]