I watched this series for the second time this last weekend. I had made use of the month-long free trial of Amazon Prime that Amazon are always trying to push on you when you buy stuff from them, and so there was just enough time for a rewatch before my free month was up!
Earlier this year, having heard that this TV adaptation would be coming out, I read Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens novel for the first time. Geth has owned a copy since before we met, but despite being a fan of both Pratchett and Gaiman’s work, I’d never got round to reading it until this year. The story, in which a demon and angel team up to stop their respective realms from unleashing a world-ending war via an eleven-year-old Antichrist, was an enjoyable and funny read and I’m glad I was able to read it so close to seeing the TV adaptation.
Although I loved the book, though, the TV series blew it out of the water – largely due to the spectacular cast, with a plethora of recognisable faces from both sides of the pond. The show belongs to David Tennant and Michael Sheen’s stunning double act as Crowley and Aziraphale, but there were so many other performances I loved – Jon Hamm’s hilariously arrogant and ignorant Angel Gabriel, Bill Paterson’s irritable neighbourhood watchman, and Miranda Richardson’s dotty courtesan-slash-spirit-medium were favourites, but it’s tough to choose. I’m not a fan of Jack Whitehall’s stand-up but I really liked him as Newton Pulsifer, to my surprise!
Also, the cameos! I loved David Morrissey as the cruise ship captain who picks up the inhabitants of the lost city of Atlantis, and it was brilliant when Benedict Cumberbatch showed up as the voice of Satan – not to mention when all three of the League of Gentlemen appeared in the already-infamously-long cold open in episode three (would it be insulting to point out that Mark Gatiss makes a wonderful Nazi?) – but my personal favourite was current Doctor Who Sontaran go-to Dan Starkey, whose character passes by purely to tell Aziraphale, ‘You’re better off without him,’ after the latter has yet another shouting match with his demonic best friend.
The story was really faithful to the original novel as well. From what I’ve read, this was partly because Gaiman was adapting it because Pratchett had asked him to do so before he passed away a few years ago, and so it was important to stick to the original story. There were only two major changes I noticed – first, in the book, the supernatural Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are followed around by a group of four human bikers who decide that they are going to be sort-of assistant Horsemen. These characters don’t appear in the adaptation, presumably because there just wasn’t room. Secondly, there was a whole extra sequence in the last episode that was new to the story, where Crowley and Aziraphale are taken away and put on trial by their respective authorities. It was a good addition and fulfilled its objective, which was to ensure that viewers who had read the book would be able to enjoy a twist that was new to them.
As I mentioned above, it’s the two central characters that really drive the story in the adaptation. This really is down to Tennant and Sheen’s wonderful performances and chemistry as actors – I enjoyed their friendship in the book version, but after watching the TV version, I’m really invested in their story and would love to see another series. I’d even be willing to pay for Amazon Prime next time!
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the BluRay release so I can watch this yet again.