David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens
Streaming TV

Boxset Monday: Good Omens (Amazon)

In the UK: Available on Amazon

Globalisation throws up a lot of paradoxes, some of which I’ve remarked on before. On the one hand, globalisation can be a good thing. It can introduce us to different cultures, encourage investment, give us variety and new ideas, and generally enrich our lives. But it can also be a bad thing, leading to homogenisation, cultural appropriation and the imperial imposition of one set of values on another.

I know that’s a bit heavy for both a comparison of Netflix and Amazon and a review of the new adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens. But I feel it’s important as an explanation for why despite fine source material, scripts written by one of the authors and a stellar cast, Amazon’s Good Omens is far more annoying than it is funny.

Jon Hamm in Good Omens
Jon Hamm in Good Omens

Note for Americans and other aliens

Just in case you’ve never read Good Omens, I’ll point out that as the name suggests, it’s a spoof of classic 70s horror film The Omen. In that movie, the Bible’s Book of Revelations starts to come true and the Anti-Christ comes to Earth, where he is raised by the American ambassador to the UK.

In Good Omens, however, the Anti-Christ gets given to the wrong parents by some Satanic nuns and ends up being raised in a small country village by a nice little middle-class English couple of no note.

Meanwhile, an angel and a demon who have been living on Earth since its very creation decide that actually, the Apocalypse will really ruin everything they’ve come to enjoy about humanity and existence, so do what they can to prevent its advent.

The book is a combination of Pratchett’s humour and satire and Gaiman’s whimsy and horror. While it touches on many topics, its central theme was that maybe if we all tried being nice to another – or at least if everything was nice and middle class and English and everyone just bumbled along – maybe the world would be a better place.

With a timeline stretching back thousands of years and frequent inclusions of parts of medieval/early modern English history, particularly witch trials, it also exhibits a love of history and language.

That love of words  – as well as the frequent “notes for Americans and other aliens” to explain quirks of English culture – make it a hard book to adapt. Yet Amazon have had a go, joining forces with the BBC to throw a metric fucktonne of cash at the project, which seems to feature every single famous British actor in the world, as well as more than a few Americans for good luck.

The trouble is that the echo chamber of Amazon-style globalisation has resulted in something that self-consciously presents an international idea of Englishness, rather than the authentic English humour of the book. And by international idea of Englishness, I mean Harry Potter.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: Good Omens (Amazon)”
Neil Gaiman

What TV’s on at the Southbank Centre in May? Including Neil Gaiman: Good Omens

Other than the events at the BFI, The Southbank Centre isn’t one of the venues TMINE regularly monitors for TV-related fare.

However, I’ve just noticed that tomorrow, to coincide with the release of Good Omens on Amazon on Friday, the man-god Neil Gaiman is discussing said show, which is based on the novel he wrote with Terry Pratchett.

There are still tickets left, so get booking if you’re interested.

Neil Gaiman: Good Omens

Date: Wednesday May 29
Timings: 7.30pm-9pm
Venue: Royal Festive Hall

The master storyteller reflects on reinventing the modern classic Good Omens for the screen, joined by stars of the series David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

Before he died in 2015, Sir Terry Pratchett asked Neil Gaiman to make a television series of the internationally beloved novel they wrote together thirty years ago.

Ahead of the series launching on Amazon Prime Video and the BBC, hear from Gaiman himself about adapting the novel as well as being the showrunner for the series, which stars David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm and Miranda Richardson, to name but a few.

For one night only, Gaiman speaks about bringing his original collaboration with Pratchett to life, the differences between page and screen, how the characters continue to surprise him and why this wicked comedy about Armageddon remains relevant today.

Chairing the conversation is journalist, broadcaster and writer Kirsty Wark.

Book tickets


£15 – £25
Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)

David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens
BAFTA events

What (yet more) TV’s on at BAFTA in May? Including Good Omens

Every Tuesday, TMINE flags up what new TV events BAFTA is holding around the UK

TMINE’s regular BAFTA updates are often surprising popular. I imagine this final (?) addition to May’s schedule might be even more popular than usual, though…

TV Preview: Good Omens + Q&A

Thursday, 30 May 2019
6:30pm Odeon Luxe, Glasgow Quay, Glasgow

The end of the world is coming, which means a fussy Angel (Michael Sheen) and a loose-living Demon (David Tennant) who’ve become overly fond of life on Earth are forced to form an unlikely alliance to stop Armageddon.

Good Omens follows the duo who have lost the Antichrist, an 11-year-old boy unaware he’s meant to bring upon the end of days, forcing them to embark on an adventure to find him and save the world before it’s too late… 

The Amazon Original, based on the beloved book by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, is directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Sherlock – The Abominable Bride) and also stars Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Richardson, Adria Arjona, Michael McKean, Mireille Enos, among many others. 

Good Omens is produced by Amazon Studios, BBC Studios, Blank Corporation and Narrativia.

This screening will preview two episodes of the new series and will be followed by a Q&A with director Douglas Mackinnon.

Book tickets