Review: Good Omens (Amazon Mini-series)

This weekend the wife and I finished up watching the new Amazon Prime mini-series Good Omens. This is a series based on a book written by (the late) Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Due to Pratchett’s passing, Gaiman took the helm in writing this adaptation of the book. In doing so, he created a work that very closely aligns with the book, which is a rare thing in entertainment.

I’ll keep this review spoiler free, but the basic premise of the series is that armageddon is coming soon, and an angel and a demon, who have been stationed on Earth for 6000 years, decide they don’t like the idea of humanity getting wiped out. The pair end up in the middle of a cosmic fight that is bigger than the two of them, yet seems to completely center on their unlikely (and unsanctioned) friendship.

One of the absolute biggest strengths of the series is David Tennant and Michael Sheen who pay the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale respectively. Whenever these two are on screen the chemistry is magic, and the banter is as witty as it gets from authors like Pratchett and Gaiman. Between Tennant’s swagger, as he channel’s his inner Bill Nighy, and Sheen’s soft-spoken demeanor, we get an odd couple pairing for the ages. The series thankfully delves into the backstory of their relationship, and you get to see how they became truly great friends.

This strength is also the one weakness that I found with the series. Other reviews have noted that the supporting cast wasn’t as good as it could be, and I would tend to agree. In general, the secondary characters are just that… secondary. They are brought in to the story to fulfill a specific purpose, but we get very little beyond their caricature. This should be a familiar paradigm for fans of this genre of books. Characters are often introduced in the pages of these comedies, given an important role to play, and then disappear. Many of the supporting cast simply are there to do one or two things, and they’re not really meant to have depth. That’s not typical for most modern TV, and so it can throw people off who aren’t expecting it.

Beyond this little nitpick, I thoroughly enjoyed the series. It’s a wonderful story, and Tennant and Sheen tell is beautifully. The fact that it’s only 6 episodes long is great as well. It makes it easily digest-able for folks who have a lot of other TV vying for their eyes. It’s well work the investment in Good Omens.