It is an adaptation that would make Terry Pratchett proud.
Adapted from the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens follows the angel, Aziraphale (played by Michael Sheen) and the demon, Crowley (Michael Sheen) trying to avert the Apocalypse. To do so, they need to find the anti-Christ, Adam Young (Sam Taylor Buck), who has no inkling of his destiny. Agnes Nutter's prophecies (nice and accurate) could point the way for them but as more players enter the fray, the staving off the end of everything just got a little more complicated.
Here be spoilers…
What we like
The adaptation for Good Omens languished in purgatory for years. It was planned to be a film by Terry Gilliam then a TV series written by Terry Jones and Gavin Scott, but neither of those panned out. It did find life as a radio series and a theatre piece. Adaptation for TV only gained traction when Gaiman received a posthumous urging from Pratchett (the author died in 2015) to see the project through.
Since the book published in 1990, 29 years later, we finally get a six-parter series of Good Omens on Amazon Prime. Casting-wise: I can't think of anyone better for the roles of Aziraphale and Crowley then Michael Sheen and David Tennant, respectively. The camaraderie between the two is endearing. It's like watching an odd couple that has been together for the last 600 years, banter and bicker. Personalities clash and, yet, complement each other: Sheen, a timorous angel and Crowley, whose bold blustering bellies a sliver of good.
The book didn't delve into their history but the series does in the third episode. It started out as 'filler' ("When I got to Episode three," Neil Gaiman said in an interview with TV Line, "I went, ‘Oh, Crowley and Aziraphale aren’t in this 50-page chunk'… I’ll do a mini-movie of [them] through time, and it will give Michael and David something to do."). But a jaunt through the duo's adventures throughout the ages gives credence as to why an angel and a demon are best pals.
The rest of the players round up the stellar casting: Jon Hamm as the angel Gabriel, full on with the American exceptionalism in spearheading the Apocalypse; Michael McKean as the heavily accented Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell; Adria Arjona as the determined Anathema Device, trying to live up to her famous ancestor, Agnes Nutter… everybody cast is almost as how I imagined them to look. I mean, Derek Jacobi as Metatron, the Voice of God? Brian Blessed as the voice of Death? None else.
The band Queen plays an important presence in Good Omens, that as the preferred soundtrack for Crowley whenever he's behind the wheel of his Bentley. Though the music cues can be too on the nose ("Ooh, 'Bicycle Race' plays in reference to Crowley sideswiping Anathema when she rode on her bicycle. Cool.") but I suppose all is forgiven, seeing as it is Queen.
Given Pratchett's involvement in Good Omens, the humour doesn't alienate the casual viewer. The odd interjections here and there (Newt Pulsifier [played by Jack Whitehall] is pulled over by visiting aliens) but nothing that takes away from the story that runs at a steady pace. Oh, and props should be given for the casting of Adam and Eve as African-American, given that humanity originated from Africa (sorry Aryans).
What we didn't like
There's a lot to condense in the six-parter so, it's understandable that there are some parts of the series that couldn't be fleshed out or are omitted entirely. I wish that we could have more screen time with the Four Horsemen.
But there is one glaring misstep: this wasn't in the book but for the series, during the final episode, heaven and hell take Crowley and Aziraphale to task for sabotaging the Apocalypse. Sentenced to death with Aziraphale by infernal fire, and Crowley by holy water. They circumvent their ends, thanks to Nutter's prophecy but it felt convenient. Nothing hinted as to the main linchpin of their scheming. We understand that angels perform miracles, but deus ex machina? Really?
What to look out for
If you've read the book, it's fun to find what has been changed in the series. There's the inclusion of Gabriel, yes but there's also the exclusion of the Other Horsemen and the ducking stool used by Adam and his friends.
And hopefully, there will be no sequel. Good Omens, as it is, is fantastic on its own. Quirky and not needing to be preachy, Good Omens stands as a testament to Gaiman and Pratchett's partnership and it would be a disservice to the two if a sequel was announced.
Good Omens is now out on Amazon Prime.