Perhaps that’s right - but regardless, grownups still need the fanciful. Escapism is needed now more than ever, and Good Omens provides.
Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, the series bends and shakes various superstitions told in Christian mythology. Gaiman, acting as writer and creator, builds an unpredictable world that follows a funny, child-like logic, while being cloaked in a mature darkness. In other words, prepare for blood as much as Sherbet Lemons.
The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley are long time friends, ever since the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden (‘Well… that went down like a lead balloon,’ remarks Crowley). They have lived on Earth for the last few thousand years, and have really liked being among humans.
But their comfortable, immortal lives are thwarted by the upcoming Apocalypse, facilitated by the so-called ‘Antichrist’. Both Crowley and Aziraphale are intent on preventing the End of Days, secretly defying their respective holy and unholy loyalties. Shouldn’t be too difficult...
The opening plunges immediately into the strange quirks of both Gaiman and Pratchett. The story is narrated by God herself – yes, herself, hilariously voiced by the almighty Frances McDormand – starting with the real history of the universe. In this version of events, the Earth is 6000 years old, was created precisely at 9:13am, and its star sign is Libra.
Gaiman, who wrote the screenplays for every episode, adores playing in these silly ideas and deconstructing ancient theories – creating an endlessly baffling and brilliant experience.
The angel and demon bicker and banter like most friends do. Aziraphale is pompous and arrogant, resembling something of a snooty bookshop manager – which is exactly the façade he adopts in London Soho. Crowley is rude, sweary, and possesses snake eyes covered by stylish sunglasses.
They’re reluctant to admit liking each other, but their friendship is immediately obvious. Opposites attract, and they possess similar levels of humanity despite not being human.
As usual with most of Neil Gaiman’s work, old myths intrude upon the modern world. There’s always some secret magic hiding in the everyday. Every scene leads into a bizarre direction and it's joyfully surreal - possessing an accelerated, Pythonesque humour, especially in the little digs against Biblical stories. This is miraculously fun television.
Michael Sheen and David Tennant perform acting miracles as Aziraphale and Crowley – it’s impossible not to look at them.
Tennant in particular returns to his naturally kooky personality, not seen enough since his Doctor Who days. He walks like a camp Dracula, flaunting his textbook sarcasm and high-pitched facial expressions.
Good Omens proves that fantasies and fairytales have their place in adult life – in fact, they’re essential. People still cling to stupid ideas, as if it’s impossible to believe in anything else, but Neil Gaiman shows how chaotic and funny they can be.
Good Omens is available on Amazon Prime from Friday 31st May
|What||Good Omens, Amazon Prime/BBC Two review|
31 May 19 – 31 May 20, ON AMAZON PRIME
15 Jan 20 – 19 Feb 20, ON BBC TWO