Neil Gaiman by Beowulf Sheehan
Credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Good Omens

If you haven’t heard, the world is about to be graced by a vest-wearing David Tennant and a bleached blonde Michael Sheen, united with the shared purpose of preventing the apocalypse.

If you haven’t yet read Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 satirical novel, you should probably get on that before its six-episode miniseries premieres on Amazon in 2019. But if you’re a slow reader or all of the bookstores in your town have gone out of business, consider this your handy primer for all things Final Judgment.

What’s it about?

With the End of Days imminent, an angel and a demon have decided that they rather enjoy living on Earth with mankind and would rather not see us destroyed. And so, the unlikely friends Aziraphale, a bookkeeping angel, and Crowley (originally Crawly, the serpent who tempted Eve) attempt to keep an eye on the Antichrist as he grows up.

Except, of course, due to a wacky mishap (there are always wacky mishaps), the boy that Crawly and Aziraphale think is the Antichrist is actually a normal boy, and the real antichrist is elsewhere, just a living an average life as a boy named Adam, hanging out with a group of friends called “Them.”

All of this has been foreseen by Agnes Nutter, a 17th-century witch who wrote the only accurate prophesies in the history of the world (even though her book, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, was no bestseller). Agnes was burned at the stake, but the author’s copy of her completely accurate prophecies has been passed down to her great-great-great-great-(dot dot dot)-granddaughter Anathema Device, who joins up with Aziraphale, Crowley, and a member of the Witchfinder Army (a decedent of the man who burned her ancestor at the stake) to stop the Four Horseman from going through with the Apocalypse.

Who’s in it?

Credit: Christopher Raphael/Amazon Studios

The cast is led by Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley.

Adria Arjona, who played Dorothy in NBC’s short-lived Emerald City, will be Anathema, with English comedian and actor Jack Whitehall (Fresh Meat) as Newton “Newt” Pulsifer, the “unfulfilled wages clerk turned witch-hunter.”

Amazon has also confirmed that the cast will also include Michael McKean (Better Call Saul) as Sergeant Shadwell, the last remaining Sergeant of the Witchfinder Army, and Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as the “psychic medium and part-time courtesan” Madame Tracy.

On October 2, it was announced Mad Men actor Jon Hamm will be playing the archangel Gabriel—a character only briefly mentioned in the book but whose role was to be expanded in the unwritten sequel.

Who’s behind it?

In 2002, director Terry Gilliam attempted to turn Good Omens into a movie, and although he completed a script, adequate funding for the film was never able to materialize. Fourteen years later, in 2016, Gaiman announced that in order to honor a posthumous request from Pratchett (who passed away in 2015), he would be writing all of the scripts for a six-part television adaptation of their novel.

Gaiman will also serve as the showrunner for the series.

When’s it coming?

Good Omens will premiere on Amazon and the BBC in 2019. “17 months,” Gaiman predicted on Twitter, which means, optimistically, we might get to see Tennant’s red hair in action as soon as February 2019. Filming began in Sept. 2017.

Good Omens
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