Review: ‘Good Omens’ Takes A Bizarre and Delightful Poke At Religious Tropes

Good Omens
Season 1 Episode 1: “In The Beginning”
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine
Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Starring Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Frances McDormand, Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman
Amazon Prime Video
Air Date: Friday, May 31, 2019

The long-awaited Amazon Prime Video original series, Good Omens, has finally been released for our viewing pleasure. Having covered New York Comic-Con and SXSW panels on the show –– based on the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch –– as well as interviewing the cast and creators, the Geeks of Doom have been READY to see David Tennant (Crowley), Michael Sheen (Aziraphale), and their outstanding castmates in all their glory. Gaiman servers as writer and showrunner on the series, which takes a bizarre and delightful poke at religious tropes.

Read here below for a review of Good Omens Episode 1: “In The Beginning.” WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

Before the 51-minute episode even begins, the tongue-in-cheek tone is already evident in the masterfully-crafted description of Good Omens‘ first installment:

Aziraphale and Crowley, of Heaven and Hell respectively, agree to join forces in order to prevent Armageddon. They attempt to raise the Antichrist in a balanced and human way, but are they focusing their efforts in the right direction?

The narrator guides viewers through a brief overview of the creation of the universe and the world, from confirming facts (the universe came into existence at exactly 9:13 a.m.) to debunking myths (“the whole business with the fossilized dinosaur skeletons was a joke the paleontologists haven’t seen yet”). Fans of the book (particularly the audiobook) may have been surprised to find that our narrator, “God” a.k.a. Frances McDormand, was not British (as I was totally expecting) but American. Something about the juxtaposition of her matter-of-fact, straight delivery with the whimsical, primarily London-based episode just adds to its wry humor.

Zooming through the rest of the episode, we find that both Crowley (a demon who loves causing hijinks, but doesn’t seem to care for truly hurting people) and Aziraphale (a proper angel who adores the finer things) have grown to love their life on Earth a bit too much. The two have been frenemies throughout the ages and are now aghast that the final battle for dominion has begun and it is truly the end times. When Crowley is tasked with bringing the Antichrist child to a secret satanic nunnery hospital and switching him with the baby about to be delivered by the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to the UK, it all goes wrong. The Antichrist is accidentally placed into the care of a quaint English couple, the Youngs. In disguise, Crowley and Aziraphale work together as negative and positive influences, respectively, on the young boy whom they think is the Antichrist, all the while unknowingly allowing the real “Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan and Lord of Darkness” to be brought up in the quiet countryside with his very normal parents.

The misinformed efforts of our protagonist and antagonist (I will let you decide which is which, or if the terms even apply) allow the real Antichrist, Adam Young (Sam Taylor Buck), to grow up “under their noses” and go on to unknowingly name the Hell-Hound creatively “dog” on his 11th birthday, kickstarting the apocalypse.

To the soundtrack of Queen’s Greatest Hits (stemming from an inside joke between Gaiman and the late Pratchett), “In The Beginning” is a chuckle-worthy, smile-inducing, eyebrow-raising rhapsody for what one can hope will be a unique, thoroughly enjoyable series that differs from the usual. Tennant and Sheen’s chemistry is electric and their acting is superb. With comical appearances from the likes of Nick Offerman as an over-the-top, buffoonish government official and Jon Hamm as an irritating-yet-amusing “middle management boss” Archangel Gabriel, the pilot episode of Good Omens is simply a delight.

Watch the official trailer below and check out all 6 episodes of the Good Omens miniseries now on Amazon Prime Video.

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