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Good Omens review: Amazon’s lavish new fantasy series is messy, but still better than Game of Thrones

Good Omens review: Amazon’s lavish new fantasy series, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, is messy, but still a better experience than the final season of Game of Thrones.

tv Updated: May 31, 2019 10:21 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times
Good Omens,Good Omens Review,Good Omens Amazon
Good Omens review: David Tennant and Michael Sheen are pure gold on screen.

Good Omens
Director - Douglas McKinnon
Cast - David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm, Adria Arjona, Mireille Enos
Rating - 3/5

The new Amazon Prime miniseries Good Omens, about an impending apocalypse, takes on a new relevance in light of recent events.Perhaps what we also need is for middle-aged men from opposite sides of the divide, agreeing to disagree, and deciding that it is in their mutual interest to work together.

The show is at its best when David Tennant and Michael Sheen are together, coming up with hare-brained schemes to (if not cancel but at least) postpone the end of times.

Watch the Good Omens trailer here

There are, of course, other ways to interpret their friendship; Tennant plays Crowley (a demon) and Sheen is the angel Aziraphale, but after millennia of having no one but each other for company (and surviving the painful dullness of human existence), they’ve realised that it’s always better to work around the system, rather than within it.

Good Omens is based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, about the long-awaited birth of the Antichrist, and the demon-angel duo that attempts to sabotage it. They do it not because of some holy sense of right and wrong, but for more selfish reasons; having been assigned as their respective realms’ emissaries on Earth, they’ve become accustomed to it - much like a long-time employee working a dead-end job.

Tennant plays Crowley like a washed-up rockstar - like Pete Doherty on a particularly bad day, dressed in all-black leather and strutting about with crusty confidence. Sheen, meanwhile, plays the angel Aziraphale like a mixture of Bilbo Baggins, and Arthur Dent from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Crowley and Aziraphale were once supposed to be played by Johnny Depp and Robin Williams, in a film directed by Terry Gilliam. It would have been odd, to have three Americans in charge of such a quintessentially English story. But under the leadership of Gaiman, who serves as showrunner, the quainter elements of the story are allowed to blossom.

For instance, after bungling up the child’s birth - Crowley and Aziraphale had planned on switching him with a regular baby - they learn years later that the original Antichrist has grown up to become a rather pleasant young boy, living an unremarkable life in an English village, wiling away summer days with a tight-knit group of friends. It’s like Stranger Things written by Enid Blyton.

Unfortunately, these scenes are few and far between, with the story making frequent and often very jarring jumps between several plot-lines, featuring too many characters to keep a track of, or to form an emotional connection with.

Despite distractingly gorgeous production values and a very impressive cast, Good Omens - at least based on the three episodes that were given for preview - leaves something to be desired. A more well-rounded, engaging hook, perhaps? Or maybe a more focussed exploration of its larger themes?

This is the trouble of having the original writer in charge of their own story’s adaptation. Chances are, Gaiman was too possessive of his story, and too reluctant to kill his darlings. Fans of the book, however, will probably have a rewarding time, because they’d be better versed with its world, and less likely to lose patience when things stop making sense.

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The author tweets @RohanNaahar

First Published: May 31, 2019 10:20 IST