Authors and Nerd Gods Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman once collaborated on a novel, Good Omens. It’s about an angel and a demon who got a little too comfy on Earth to tolerate the apocalypse and try to thwart it. It’s been in development almost as long as Gaiman’s Sandman comics series, and it is, after years of gyrating through different creative hands and visions, finally coming to television on Amazon Prime. TV feels like a good space for Good Omens, which has a lot of fun, weird corners a movie wouldn’t have time to visit (not unlike the Gaiman adaption American Gods). Amazon has released the first trailer for Good Omens and it looks fine.
I am super into the casting. Michael Sheen as a nervous Nellie angel, Aziraphale, and David Tennant as a vaguely skeevy English hipster demon, Crowley, are pretty inspired choices. I really like every moment of those two together. I love the way Sheen exclaims, “We’re not friends!” But I don’t care for anything else in this trailer. It looks a little…plain. American Gods and the similarly apocalyptic Preacher have both delivered on creative, cinematic spectacles. Comparatively, Good Omens looks a little flat. Hopefully the TV show expands the visuals a bit, but comparing this to the trailers for American Gods and Preacher, you can really see the difference. I think maybe it’s the lighting—it’s flat, so everything from different time periods to planes of existence looks the same. Television has long had a bad rap for lighting, and this isn’t helping.
But it might also be that this trailer is leaning hard on Aziraphale and Crowley, who are only half the story. The other half of the story is Adam, the child Antichrist, who is up to (mostly) normal kid stuff with his friends in small-town England. I can’t even find Adam in this trailer, is how far down they’ve demoted him. Yes, Aziraphale and Crowley are fun, palling around England and trading spectacular dialogue, but the backbone of the STORY is to do with Adam. Maybe they feel like holding back is a way to avoid any backlash from conservative religious factions, but Preacher and Lucifer—the perfectly mediocre and highly bastardized adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comics—have survived multiple seasons of same, so why bother? You KNOW someone will clutch their pearls, why worry about it? I’m just not sure why there is no hint that Aziraphale and Crowley are trying to find the Antichrist but they’ve lost track of him due to a mix-up at a hospital. That’s funny! That’s a good hook. It gives a frame to what the angel and the demon are doing and why you should invest in it. As is, all Good Omens is doing is reminding me that I like Michael Sheen and David Tennant.