Good Omens - Season 1 - Review
High concept television isn't as hard of a sell it used to be. After all, Game Of Thrones is high concept, and it was one of the most popular shows of all time. Amazon's newest show, Good Omens is deep, complex, joyous and absolutely hilarious thanks to its charming cast, brilliant writing, and strong direction. It is one of the strongest word-to-screen adaptations ever, and if you can buy into the concept, you should experience it ASAP.
Michael Sheen (Masters Of Sex) and David Tennant (Doctor Who, Jessica Jones) anchor a crazy premise, and because of their sheer talent and chemistry, make the entire thing work. They are supported by the writing of Neil Gaiman (who co-wrote the novel) and the direction of Douglas Mackinnon.
Sheen is an angel, Tennant is a demon, and they team up to stop the apocalypse. That is about as simple as the show can be described, but it doesn't do it nearly enough justice. Writer Neil Gaiman gets a ton done in 6 episodes. We get story that spans 10s of thousands of years.
The story is relatively simple to follow if you pay attention and don't text during it. But each scene oozes charm, and while you know how ridiculous the entire premise is, you buy into it because you can't help but want more. The supporting cast that includes Michael McKean, Frances McDormand, Jon Hamm, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Richardson, and Adria Arjona adds to the humor and campiness of the premise.
Even with my Tennant bias, Sheen's performance is award-worthy. His quiet, delicate, reluctance to go along with the schemes of Tennant's Crowley was a joy to watch. Sheen gets a ton to do, and plays off of the always solid Tennant in weird and wonderful ways.
Angels and demons are generally one dimensional, but Aziraphale and Crowley are some of the most complex characters on the show. They share a true friendship, and keep each other balanced. Aziraphale has Crowley do some good things, and Crowley has Aziraphale do some bad things. It speaks to the "gray area" that every human operates in.
Every episode doesn't feel the same. They all offer something different. It sort of like Doctor Who in that sense - you don't know what time period you might visit, or what eccentric character you might be introduced to, but they all contribute to a larger story.
The sets are gorgeous, the dialogue is witty, the story is intriguing, and the characters are fun. That is about all you can ask for in a piece of entertainment.
While a lot of the things are borrowed from the Christian mythology, it is not a Christian story. People with any religious beliefs (or none) can enjoy the story. It doesn't force anything down your throat, it is fantasy just like Iron Man or Star Wars is. It doesn't really comment on "religion", it just uses characters that religious people believe in.
I never read the book Good Omens was based on, but they told a complete story through six episodes. If there was anything missing from the books, it wasn't needed. The adapted story was told nearly perfectly. Even when the story takes some unnecessarily long detours, the detours are colorful and entertaining. Plus, most of the time, those detours enhance a character's journey.
Good Omens was unlike anything I had ever seen, and I loved every frame of the weird, wacky, and humorous piece of art. We need more things on TV like this. There are a ton of medical procedurals, court procedurals, and family soap operas. Good Omens is uniquely its own thing and has a little something for everyone. As soon as I finished, I wanted to start it again. I crave more adventures with these two. The story did exactly what it was supposed to do, it left you wanting more. I will read the books eventually. Meanwhile, I hope Amazon makes more adventures with Aziraphale and Crowley. I will be there when they do.
Good Omens is now streaming on Amazon Instant Video.