Full disclosure: I will try to remain neutral and unbiased about Good Omens, but there is no way that’s how it’s going to shake out. It’s based on my very favourite book ever, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and stolen more than once from my mom’s personal library. I’m either going to love it or hate it. I will do my best to not But In The Book They, this I shall solemnly swear, as long as you all promise to read the book forthwith. Deal? AWESOME! *Totally legally binding* Let’s roll right into this magnus opus, it has our beloved David Tennant, Nina Sosanya, Frances MacDormand narrating, honestly, just awesome.
Our Faithful Narrator /God (Frances MacDormand) explains the beginning of the universe to us and while the words are right, it’s just that I imagined an English accent while reading the
Wow, that must have broken a record; breaking a promise that fast.
But see, the humour is very English so he description of god playing cards sounds very odd in a flat midwestern parley.
The earth was created October 4, 4004 BC at 9:13 am. It’s a Libra and about to have a very bad day.
We start in the Garden of Eden with an apple and Eve! Eve (Shelaine Bennett) is a woman of colour AND has a bum! Wooo! Which we see all of, as a snake induces her to partake from the apple tree with a hot Adam (Anthony Kaye) right before they’re cast out with a flaming sword and a baby on the way.
The serpent transforms into Crowley (David Tennant) as the Demon and we meet Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), our Angel. Crowley’s the one with a sense of humour, we’re going to love him and tolerate Aziraphale because he means well.
AND SO IT SHALL BE.
The flaming sword was Aziraphale’s he was worried about Adam and Eve trucking around with all the wild animals about.
We’re at Eleven Years Ago:
Good and Evil are eternally at odds; now we’ve got two demons about to start the clock on Armageddon.
*Okay. Frances, I love you. I’m going to need Helen Mirren to take over narration immediately; she can handle a lurking description with her hands tied behind her back. You’re just so wonderfully American, Frances, it’s not working out.
The two demons are waiting for Crowley, who’s late and not the least bit devout, the “flash bastard.” A quick recounting of the deeds of the day, Duke of Hell Hastur (Ned Dennehy) and Duke of Hell Ligur (Ariyon Bakare) are definitely old school in their approaches, going after priests and politicians but Crowley had a masterstroke. He tied up the cell networks for an hour at lunch time. He waits for applause that is not forthcoming. Onto the task at hand!
They have the antichrist in a woven basket for him: the end of the world is nigh! Oh sorry, you’re not supposed to know he’s the antichrist yet, it’s just a baby. My bad.
Crowley receives instructions through his radio while Aziraphle is met by Gabriel (Jon Hamm – I adore the Hammaconda but I have discovered grave reservations about Americans mixing with the Brits on this show, so I shall reserve judgement for 30 seconds until I start shouting) who is here to explain our Angel’s role in Armageddon. He’s to watch Crowley, without being spotted, of course.
*We saw Aziraphale and Crowley meet back in the beginning, they’ve been hanging out every once in a while ever since.
Gabriel won’t have any sushi or tea, he does not sully his celestial being, but he looks good!
*Jon Hamm is SO FUNNY. WHY do we all like him better when he’s a sexy psychopath doing awful things to women in restaurant hallways?
Let’s meet our prospective parents! One set is Deidre (Sian Brooke) and Arthur Young (Daniel Mays), she’s about to have this baby right.now. Also in labour are Harriet Dowling (Jill Winternitz) and her big deal husband American Thaddeus (Nick Offerman) corresponding via videochatting. Thaddeus is busy with the President of the United States.
Mother Superior (Susan Brown) explains the plan to the nuns at the hospital; once the Dowling baby is born, it will be removed and replaced with the antichrist baby in Crowley’s basket. Sister Mary Loquacious (Nina Sosanya!! From Last Tango in Halifax!) listens carefully and asks a question, let’s explain this particular religious order!
The satanic nuns serve the dark master and innocuous chatter is their weapon of choice. They talk and talk and talk and twitter on all day as cover; that’s why they have fun names!
Harriet Dowling rolls in with her entourage, the nuns are ready! Not so ready for Deirdre and Arthur Young, however. Sister Grace (Jasmine Hyde) shoos away a grateful Arthur, she thinks fathers just complicate things in the delivery room. He’s happy to stand outside and misdirect Crowley, who now thinks he’s to replace the baby in room 3, as opposed to wherever Harriet Dowling is labouring.
Crowley’s second mistake, after trusting some rando smoking outside, is to hand the baby off to Sister Mary Loquacious, who was not assigned a role in this great caper for good reason.
Off she goes to Room 3 with the Destroyer of kings and his little toesywoesies, delaying rather too long. The Dowling baby is brought out of Room 4 to be switched out with the Adversary, who is STILL in Room 3 with Sister Mary Loquacious, who thinks Arthur and Deidre are Americans with very English accents.
Baby switch complete! Just not in the way anyone expects. Time to name the destroyer of kings! The two boys are dubbed Warlock Dowling and Adam Young.
One extra baby. What shall his fate be?
Crowley calls Aziraphale for a meet at St. James’s Park to catch up, snorting at the antichrist being placed with an important American family.
They’ve only got eleven years; Crowley counsels Aziraphale to not stump too hard for the win, none of the good music is going to be with him! Or the restaurants, what about bookshops? None of that in heaven, just here on flawed earth. Crowley wants Aziraphale to help him subvert the arrival of the Adversary, but angels are the OG goody two-shoes, so he’s got his work cut out for him.
Fancy lunch, followed by fancy alcohol, lots and lots of alcohol. They contemplate the nature of their relationship. It’s End of Times, but you know, English.
A very drunk Crowley reasons with an equally drunk Aziraphale, you must watch this scene if anything. They sober up and discuss nature vs. nurture; they could thwart each other!
Heaven and Hell couldn’t get mad about that, could they?!
Hastur kills Sister Theresa Garrulous (Maggie Service) and sets fire to the hospital, can’t have any records kicking about!
It’s now 6 years before the end of the world; Crowley is the nanny, Aziraphale the gardener. Did I mention that they’ve got their energies focused on young Warlock Dowling (Will Holloway) and not Adam Young, the actual Destroyer of Kings who grows up without any influence of any kind?
Time for a progress report!
Crowley updates Beelzebub (Anna Maxwell Martin whom I know from And Then There Were None but is also in The Bletchely Circle, which I must watch as it was recommended) while Aziraphale is gently nudged toward war by the godsquad.
Crowley and Aziraphale regroup; Warlock is too normal. What happens when he comes into his powers? How are they supposed to stop him them?
Cut to Monday, 6 days before the end of the world. Time to released the hound of hell, it’s Warlock’s birthday present! Once the dog is named, the die is cast. If Crowley and Aziraphale have succeeded in cancelling each other out, the boy will send the dog away unnamed and problem solved.
What if he doesn’t? Crowley carefully floats the suggestion that if there was no boy to receive a hound from hell…?
It would have to be Aziraphale to do it, though, no way that’s going to happen. Aziraphale has another idea, how about he perform at Warlock’s birthday party?! As a magician. Crowley groans, it’s demeaning! Humiliating!
(Nobody has a birthday party on Wednesday)
Aziraphale is a very bad magician, but those kids are spoiled brats. The hound is released at 3pm sharp, where is it? Crowley checks in with those below, where’s the puppy?
The right kiddo is playing in the woods with his friend with his gang of The Them, we have Pepper (Amma Ris), Brian (Ilan Galkoff), Wenslydale (Alfie Taylor) and Adam (Sam Taylor Buck). The extremely creepy hell hound waits by the tree as Adam explains what kind of dogs he wants. And what the name it would have: Dog. And here we have Armageddon in the shape of a small, happy fun puppy named Dog. Crowley can sense it; welcome to end time, Aziraphale!
The best thing about the show was always going to be Crowley, I can’t even say how fantastically David Tennant has done. To capture the mannerisms of the Thin White Duke mixed with a bunch of Mick Jagger pouts and Bill Nighy comic timing is just…sublime. Check this perfect swagger.
Nick Offerman and Jon Hamm were totally excellent as token Americans. Frances, we’ve already talked. Love your work, on you go.
One thing I was concerned about is the fact that the series is written by the sole remaining author Neil Gaiman. I have no idea how the writing process worked between he and Terry Pratchett on Good Omens the book, but I have picked up a few Neil Gaiman tomes to almost immediately put them down. The opposite happened with the Terry Pratchett books I found, I even bought some of my own to go with the ones I stole from my mother’s library. So. I was skeptical, to say the least. HOWEVER. They’ve preserved so much of the original source material, I am gladdened and gleeful and slightly awed by how well it’s been wrought. YAY!!
Until next time!