By Ermioni Pavlidou,
The six-episode miniseries Good Omens (2019), based on Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 novel with the same title, has officially started filming for another season, although it was originally imagined as a limited series. The well-adapted, comically filled, and beautifully depicted series, captured the imminent Armageddon with a ticking clock, and the unlikely partnership, friendship, and, what was implied as, (b)romance between the classic unconventional duo: the good and the bad. An angel, Aziraphale (played by Michael Sheen), and a demon, Crowley (portrayed by David Tennant), after 6,000 years of overlapping and contradictory course (one caused chaos and the other tried to bring peace, for balance to be assured), these two extremely compatible yet utterly opposite overseers join forces for a common cause: to prevent the destruction of all.
The two old friends want to reverse the fulfillment of the “Apocalypse” prophecy, which Crowley helped in starting the clock of its completion. He assisted his “superiors” and delivered the Anti-Christ to a monastery, where it would be passed on to a clueless American diplomat family to bring the end of the world horrors to life. The first drawback to this plan is that the destroyer of the world is unknowingly delivered to the wrong family. The need to stop the almost inevitable doom of humanity comes 11 years later, when they both have acquainted themselves with earth’s commodities and do not want to let it go to waste (“No more old bookshops…”). They are for the first time in —literally— forever playing for the same team and have an intricate task to complete.
Absurdly entertaining take on the usually serious-themed “fantasy” genre
The series begins with a 28-minute flashback and simultaneous friendship timeline of the two protagonists, to the Garden of Eden, when they meet for the first time, and Crowley manages to ban humans from Heaven by tempting them with the notorious apple. Several past references are scattered through the show’s “cold opens” (also called a teaser sequence, which is a narrative technique of jumping directly into a story at the beginning of the show before the title sequence or opening credits are shown), such as Noah’s ark, The French Revolution, World War II, even an early —and not very popular— rehearsal of Hamlet. Fast forward to the year Earth is supposed to sink into eternal darkness: Antichrist’s 11th birthday and the meet with its hellhound.
The series manages to maintain the serious manner that applies in the countdown, time is of the essence end of the world scenarios, whilst sugar-coating it with admirable aspects of humor. The humanization of its two main characters —and consequently all of them—, the number of stories unfolding, to erupt, into the terminal one (the Four Horsemen or Riders of the Apocalypse, demon bosses, witch hunters, little children playing with hellhounds, God who is also the narrator and is voiced by Frances McDormand), their eccentric looks, their incredible chemistry, Aziraphale’s bookstore, and Crowley’s home phone, and the whole chaotic sequence of simultaneous catastrophic events that need to be handled are the absurdist and surrealistic elements that structure the amazing sequence and pace of Good Omens.
Despite the lesser quality of CGI effects at some points, the flamboyant narration of a story that is told contradicting itself to ridicule the superstitions and ominous signs (or “bad omens”) that lead to THE END is even more captivating than the actual explosive background. It has become a “safe and happy place” while battling with havoc arising. It is the perfect combination of a serious-looking “save-the-world” mission displaying comfortable characters when it seems impossible. It is so weirdly set, it makes perfect sense.
Aziraphale and Crowley, a match made in Eden
The highlight of an Apocalypse, time-is-running-out, tense-filled series and what makes it so adorably nonsensical is the bromance, with accentuated queer implications, between an angel and a demon. David Tennant (Crowley) and Michael Sheen (Aziraphale) have electrifying chemistry that really binds the two together. The two polar opposites have bonded over their thousands of encounters, usually to thwart each other’s plans through the course of history, and have created the most adoring love and hate relationship, although progressively it becomes quite clear that the “hate” part never existed and is only apparent as a cover, justifying their antipodal backgrounds. They are always ecstatic to see one another (“What are YOU doing here?” “Stopping YOU getting into trouble!”).
It is so obvious in many ways that they love each other. They exchange insults like an old married couple (“Not the magic again, please!”), they antagonize each other like kindergarten lovestruck children (“I don’t even like you!” “You do!”), and they always protect each other like old friends (“Even if this ends up in a burning pile, we can go off together”). Whenever they are discussing on-screen everyone is thinking “just kiss already!”. They succeeded in forming a passionate relationship just by loving looks, wandering smiles, and subtle gestures (“It would be funny if I did the good thing, and you did the bad one.”).
Their motives to save the world are different. The kind-hearted and sensitive-looking Aziraphale is infatuated with Earth’s created culture, while the unapologetic bad boy with the eyes of gold, Crowley is occupied with the sinful indulgence and debauchery Earth has to offer. Yet, many people would agree that they simply did not want to let go of each other’s nuanced company. It is a fascinating journey to prevent the end of time and in the process have a few laughs. We surely are excited about what is to come in the second season!
- Cold open, Wikipedia, Available here
- TV Review: Good Omens, BBC, Available here
- Good Omens’ Emotional Core Is A Divine Bromance, cbr.com, Available here
- “Good Omens” is the asexual love story I’ve been waiting for, medium.com, Available here