Good Omens- Some big shoes to fill!
First episode date: 2019
Original network: Amazon Video; BBC Two (UK)
Network: BBC Two
Director: Douglas Mackinnon
So, it’s safe to say that the Amazon Prime adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens had a lot to live up to. The nearly thirty-year-old book is so well loved and cherished by many and has been well elevated to cult status. You only needed to see coverage from the premiere to see how enthusiastic the fans are!
Attempts to adapt this beloved book have been plentiful, with many false starts and near misses, it’s actually shocking it ever actually made it to TV. Not only has Neil Gaiman managed it, on the wishes of the late Sir Terry Pratchett. And, he’s also done it justice. Which is not an easy task, to say the least!
Have they pulled it off?
Good Omens as a book is completely madcap, filled with satirical humour and larger than life characters, all who are dealing with the literal biblical apocalypse. Translating that on screen is not easy, and to say that I was worried was an understatement. What if the humour was missed out? or if things were changed? What if we didn’t get the Queen soundtrack we were promised?
I needn’t have worried at all, because my God, was it accurate!
Entire pages of dialogue are lifted straight from the page onto screen, to the point where I could actually quote things as I watched for the first time. Literally, I sat there, quoting the entire way through, from start to the end.
That’s not even going into how well the show follows the events of the book. Sure, there are a few added things, like the Archangel Gabriel, but it still feels like it was lifted right from the book. Possibly because, these elements added to the show were things discussed by Gaiman and Pratchett when they thought of making a possible sequel, which was sadly never written.
Good Omens or bad signs?
For the most part, everything unfolds just like it does in the book. There’s a couple of scenes that are either cut, or combined with others to speed things up, but that’s just TV adaptations for you. It’s impossible to include every single thing on every single page, but it’s so close that I didn’t mind the changes at all.
It’s clear that this show was made with so much love, that Gaiman scoured the pages of the original Good Omens book and took absolutely everything he possibly could and put it into script form. He kept so many details, details which could be gotten rid of entirely, such as Elvis working as a cook in the diner, that work as beautiful little nods for the die-hard fans of the book.
When I think about it, there’s literally only a couple of things that bug me in this adaption, those being:
- Newton’s socks don’t have holes in.
- R P Tyler’s dog wasn’t a poodle
- They left out the REVELATIONS CHAPTER SIX scene and the bikers entirely.
Now, the bikers weren’t in the show because of budget reasons, Gaiman himself said that they had everybody cast and ready to go, but they had to be cut because the production was running 1.5 million over budget.
Then, the only things not entirely book accurate were holes in socks and the breed of a dog, which appears for five minutes at most.
That’s when you know that something has been accurately adapted when you’re worried about holes in socks instead of screaming THEY CHANGED THE ENTIRE ENDING WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! At the screen!
Final thoughts on Good Omens on Amazon Prime
To say that we’ve been spoiled with this adaptation is an understatement, I’ll never see another adaptation so lovingly accurate in my lifetime. Hollywood wants to constantly change everything that makes a book good, this adaptation kept everything it possibly could, and then some.
And I could not be happier about it if I tried, the casting alone is perfect!.
Sir Terry would have been so happy to see his work so lovingly adapted to screen.