Normally when a book is adapted for TV I have already read the book and had my own ideas about how it should be screened. In this case, despite having nearly read this book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett some years ago I never really got a grip on the novel.
I have read a lot of Pratchett in the past, mostly when I was younger and loved his collaboration with Stephen Baxter on the Long Earth series. Gaiman is new to me, I m aware of his work but one humorous fantasy writer was enough for me.
This 8-part adaptation by Amazon Prime boasted a stellar cast in some well placed roles. The story focuses on Azriphale an Angel and Crowley a Demons attempt to stop the end of the world and the impending war between heaven and hell.
Pratchetts hand is evident early in the first episode, it positively exudes his style, its almost as if I could hear him narrating the story himself. Pratchett at times could get a little too absurd but this modern setting refined this and allowed him to cast his whimsical eye over modern stereotypes in the battle of good over evil. Gaiman influence is harder to track as I am unfamiliar with his work but I feel as if the demons were crafted under his watch as were the way the children were developed.
The acting was great, as would be expected when you have Micheal Sheen and David Tennant as leads, and although Tennant gets most of the plaudits I found his portrayal a little more over acted and Sheens more nuanced. The child actors were great, adding a practicality to all he weirdness that was happening. The others such as Jack Whitehall and Miranda Richardson all supported well.
Good Omens is a comedy but like most good ones is pretty dark in tone and deals with some very heavy tones. Dramatically I think Supernatural handles it better but Good Omens it punchy and to the point. It examines ideas of friendship and duty as well as challenging the principles of free will and destiny.
I have to say that I binge watched the series, it engaged you quickly and pulled you through episode to episode, the humor is less ha ha and more subtle and I found myself grinning the whole way through. I also like the nods to modern society and ideas, the addition of Pollution as one of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse was a great addition.
This is great for fans of the shows creators and for newcomers alike, it has definitely made me want to explore Neil Gaimans work.