Good Omens (2019-) REVIEW

Amazon Prime Video took Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1900s “reign of terror” novel “Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” and have created a manic limited series that reminds us that Biblical tales can, in this case, be categorized in the “fantasy-comedy” genre.

The series is short but sweet and takes the abbreviated title of the novel, simply going by Good Omens (2019-.) The adaptation tries to stay true to its literary roots, following the adventures of the good-hearted, stubborn angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the laid-back, carefree and impulsive demon Crowley (David Tennant.)  These rich character tones keep the show afloat.

Tennant’s take on Crowley can only be described as a character that only David Tennant can bring to life. He’s eccentric, flamboyant, cocky, proud and boisterous while at the same time, possessing a soft side for his angel of a counterpart. Sheen, however, reigns in his interpretation of Aziraphale as more nervous, cautious, and more careful about the reproductions of his actions, but this doesn’t take away from the endearment that is offered towards his delightful demon companion.

The relationship between Sheen and Tennant’s characters really does prove that opposites attract. The genuine chemistry between the two supports the weight of the choppy special effects, which are almost painful to watch, or the slow plot points and their natural banter is a delight within itself. They never do seem to miss a beat as they face the inevitable countdown on the doomsday clock.

Good Omens is very self-determined to see success come from such a unique, fascinating and open-ended vision of the end of the world. Once the series tries to veer off from strictly following Crowley and Aziraphale, that’s where things become a little more, well, hellish. The entangled sub-plot of eleven-year-old Antichrist Adam Young (Sam Taylor Buck,) his stereotypical trio of pre-teen friends, and weight of the Rapture becoming more and more urgent doesn’t exactly flow with the same energy as the rest of the series. Even with the intent of Young’s distress being the core of the six-part series, there is a bit of a laborious stretch. However, nothing can go wrong when Frances McDormand is the voice of God.

Somehow Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman wind up in the show, with Hamm more prominent as the Archangel Gabriel, while Offerman barely makes a long-lasting appearance. Still, they contribute notability to the cast list that compiles curious characters.

The writing fluctuates in its quality. There are most certainly high and low points in the script, yet the screenplay for Good Omens doesn’t quite hit a sweet spot where it can become platitudinous. The effort is more than evident, but it doesn’t exactly hit the bullseye when it boils down to genius dialogues or a show-stopping monologue.

Good Omens can be rewarded with a rating of 3 out of 5.  There is plenty of substance that aims to please a crowd and the series is flavored with comedic notes and rich character tones. Though there are some faltering components to this Amazon Prime original and not all of the gears turn,  it remains to be an entertaining delight that is left open-ended for a second season.

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