Good Omens |OT| It's a hell of a day to be good

Squarehard

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Oct 27, 2017
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Good Omens is one of those books you either love or haven’t read yet. The union of the late Terry Pratchett at his professional peak and a then-little-known Neil Gaiman, the hilarious fantasy novel became an instant cult favorite after hitting shelves in 1990. Ever since, its fans have clamored for a screen adaptation of the lighthearted, wry story about an angel and a demon trying to avert a haywire apocalypse.
Good Omens features a large ensemble cast of angels, demons, and humans all squabbling over the end of the world. At the center of the hubbub are Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and an angel who’ve been friends for millennia, and who have resided on earth so long that they’ve both become deeply fond of it. They’ve also become increasingly jaded with their respective sides of the celestial war between heaven and hell; so when they’re both tasked with aiding the coming of the apocalypse, they inevitably decide to work together to stop it instead.
Gaiman wrote the series’s six episodes himself (Pratchett died in 2015), and in streamlining the book — which was a digressive, more-is-more exercise in the tradition of “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” — he’s made the wisest possible choice. The story is now focused even more closely on the central relationship between Crowley, the high-living devil who kicks the plot into gear by misplacing the baby Antichrist, and the prudish angel Aziraphale, who works with Crowley in a desperate, covert, comical campaign to keep the world from ending.
It’s a good move because the book’s sharpest and funniest writing was mostly in the Crowley-Aziraphale scenes, and for the series Gaiman has reduced the time given to some of the duller material, like the appearances of the horsemen of the Apocalypse (here motorcycle riders) and the group of friends who beneficially influence the unsuspecting 11-year-old Antichrist, Adam Young. (There’s a visual shout-out to Richmal Crompton’s echt-English “William” children’s-book series, a primary inspiration for “Good Omens.”)
If there's such a thing as a fantasy counterpart to A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then that counterpart is Good Omens. Not the most daring comparison, admittedly—both beloved novels are intensely British at their core in a way that goes far beyond mere provenance—but their true similarity lies not in tone or sensibility or even biscuit-per-page ratio. Rather, they share a defiant book-ness. After beginning as a radio series, Hitchhiker's Guide went on to find life as a TV series, a stage show, a live-action movie, videogames, comic books, and probably a few other things as well. Yet nothing could replicate the magic and joy of simply imagining the impossibilities that Douglas Adams' brain had cooked up.



Just started to watch through the series myself, so will be back with my own impressions.

But of course, for me, David Tennant as a devil will always seem like a fun time, so looking forward to finishing it later today.

For those who have watched it, feel free to discuss it here as well, with spoilers where appropriate.
 

Tagg

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Oct 25, 2017
1,206
Only watched the first episode so far and I'm kind of lukewarm on it. The humor from the novel doesn't seem to translate very well, and the narration is rather offputting. Most of that could have been resolved with a better script but oh well.
 

CrazyAndy

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Oct 27, 2017
3,173
Watched all 6 episodes yesterday and I liked it. Very accurate adaption of the book.
 
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Squarehard

Squarehard

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Oct 27, 2017
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Through the first episode.

While the pacing was a bit uneven at times, but when Tennant and Sheen are on screen it really bolsters the feel of everything.
 

Blue Skies

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Mar 27, 2019
672
Got about 1/3 of the way through the book a year ago, didn’t like it.

On episode 5 now and I love it.

Not a big fantasy reader tho
 

Quick Mustard

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Oct 25, 2017
408
Just watched 3 episodes and I'm confused by one part.

Anathema Device meets the children in episode 2 when their playing witchfinder, then later on Adam comes to her garden in episode 3 when shes angry she's lost the book and they act like they have never met before. Did I miss something or is this explained later?
 
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Squarehard

Squarehard

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Oct 27, 2017
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Nearing the end, and I have to say it was a fun ride thus far.

I'm glad after the first episode things start to pick up a lot, so that was good to see.
 

Protome

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Oct 27, 2017
6,019
I'm 4 episodes in and stopped because Amazon Prime shat itself. Will watch the rest tomorrow, I'm loving it so far though. It's very faithful to the book and the things that aren't faithful to the book are smart changes that make it work better as a show. Basically it's how you do a good adaptation 101.

Also, I find these Wired google autocomplete interview things are usually pretty hit or miss depending on the people but this one with David Tennant and Jon Hamm is genuinely rather funny. They seem like they get on well.
 

ForgeForsaken

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Oct 27, 2017
791
I'm 4 episodes in and stopped because Amazon Prime shat itself. Will watch the rest tomorrow, I'm loving it so far though. It's very faithful to the book and the things that aren't faithful to the book are smart changes that make it work better as a show. Basically it's how you do a good adaptation 101.
There's too much narration.
 

Protome

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Oct 27, 2017
6,019
There's too much narration.
Yeah that's maybe the one issue I have with it. Especially because most of it isn't really essential to progress the plot or inform the audience, it's just there to be like "Pratchett and Gaiman wrote this really funny thing in the book and we couldn't naturally work it into the show." But also it's not that bad because the plot has multiple inherent excuses for a narrator to exist.
 

whalenapp81

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Oct 29, 2017
70
Yeah that's maybe the one issue I have with it. Especially because most of it isn't really essential to progress the plot or inform the audience, it's just there to be like "Pratchett and Gaiman wrote this really funny thing in the book and we couldn't naturally work it into the show." But also it's not that bad because the plot has multiple inherent excuses for a narrator to exist.

I quite like it since ...

Since it’s God narrating her Ineffable plan.
 

Maledict

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Oct 25, 2017
1,279
The narration is why this works when all the other Pritchett adaptions haven’t. So much of his humour is in the precise words and language used, and without that it just exiles ‘look at this silly thing, hahaha’. God speaking adds so much to it.

And Tenant is fantastic and I want to watch more of him as a demon.
 

Adnor

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Oct 25, 2017
1,532
Narration is essential for an adaptation of this book. 80% of the jokes in the book are in the narration.

Loved it.
 

Quick Mustard

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Oct 25, 2017
408
Did no one else pick up on what I said earlier when watching?
I find it really jarring and annoying me more than it should do.

She meets the kids in Episode 2 when they play find the witch, then in episode 3 she meets Adam and the scene plays out as though they've never met before. Poor editing or just me missing something / looking into this too much.
 

PlanetSmasher

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Oct 25, 2017
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I can't help but feel like the narration would be less jarring if the actress they picked to voice God was British. The writing for the narration lines feels like it needs to be delivered by a British voice and having McDormand do it instead is just...odd.

Did no one else pick up on what I said earlier when watching?
I find it really jarring and annoying me more than it should do.

She meets the kids in Episode 2 when they play find the witch, then in episode 3 she meets Adam and the scene plays out as though they've never met before. Poor editing or just me missing something / looking into this too much.
Aziraphale and Crowley mention this - Adam has some kind of cloak on him to make him lose suspicion easily. I imagine that affected Anathema as well until she knew him well enough to learn his name.
 

VeryHighlander

The Fallen
May 9, 2018
1,297
There was some really weird editing in the last two episodes, kinda hurts the way I look at the show. Tennant absolutely chews up the screen each time he’s on camera, he stole the show.
 

Kalor

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Oct 25, 2017
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Started watching it earlier and enjoying it so far. I haven't read the book so I should do that afterward.
 

Dougald

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Oct 27, 2017
1,625
Absolutely loved the series. I was a huge fan of the book growing up and this felt like a really faithful adaptation. Gaiman knocked it out of the park.

Tennant was an absolutely perfect cast as Crowley, and Sheen was excellent. My only nitpick is they were so good it made everyone else feel a little wose by comparison. I enjoyed the small "Just William" reference too, considering the pitch for the novel was "William the Antichrist"
 

Westbahnhof

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
4,907
Austria
I really liked it, though the audiobook was vastly superior. The narrator is just too good.

Gotta say I would've preferred
the original Satan defeat though. As in... Adam doesn't confront him. He just changes reality easily, vanishing the threat that everyone heroically prepared to perish against.
 

xyla

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Oct 27, 2017
1,863
Germany
One Episode in and it's very british! I read the book back a decade or so and liked it, but from Pratchetts great works it's not my favorite.

Still, it's casting is fantastic and it has a very genuine feel to it if that makes sense. I'll watch on.
 

PhoncipleBone

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Oct 25, 2017
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Wife and I finished the series last night. It is about as good and faithful an adaptation as you will ever get, for better or worse. There are just some things that do not translate as well from one medium to another without tweaking it, such as the narration as listed above. The show is at its best with the Crowley and Aziraphale bromance being front and center, but slows to a near halt when they are not on screen. In the end, it was good but not great as a TV mini series, but a great adaptation of the source material.
 

William

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Oct 26, 2017
165
Binged it this weekend, really liked it. Best Pratchett adaptation by far I think.
 

PhoncipleBone

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Oct 25, 2017
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A weird nitpick, and part of it has to do with how I envisioned it in Pratchett's books, but I would have loved for Death's voice to come from everywhere instead of the center channel speaker. I thought I remember his "voice" being described as you simply hear it everywhere since he doesn't have vocal chords. The voice simply is.
 

Dache

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Oct 25, 2017
332
UK
Only seen the first episode, but the only thing I really have a problem with is the narration. There's too much of it, and it feels wrong having an American accent saying those very British (to me, as a Brit) lines. Everything else seems as good as it could be, so far.
 

PlanetSmasher

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Oct 25, 2017
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Only seen the first episode, but the only thing I really have a problem with is the narration. There's too much of it, and it feels wrong having an American accent saying those very British (to me, as a Brit) lines. Everything else seems as good as it could be, so far.
THANK YOU. I just finished the season last night, and this was my chief complaint with it. Terry Pratchett narration should be delivered by a British voice.
 

PlanetSmasher

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Oct 25, 2017
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Mini. Gaiman wouldn't make a sequel with Pratchett gone. The only reason this exists at all is because Terry asked him specifically before he died.
Yeah. He also said outright that getting this season made itself was hard enough on him as it is. Showrunning isn't really the kind of job he ever wanted.
 

Protome

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Oct 27, 2017
6,019
Ffs every time Adam’s dad drives somewhere they show his reg plate very prominently and I figured it had to be a reference but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what “SID RAT” was referencing and it didn’t click until right at the end.

Its “TARDIS” backwards for those of you as dumb as me 😂😂

I don’t remember its from the book so correct me if I’m wrong but I think Crowley snapping his fingers to open and close the bookshop door was a reference to David’s Tennant’s Doctor doing that to the TARDIS also.
 

PlanetSmasher

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Oct 25, 2017
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Ffs every time Adam’s dad drives somewhere they show his reg plate very prominently and I figured it had to be a reference but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what “SID RAT” was referencing and it didn’t click until right at the end.

Its “TARDIS” backwards for those of you as dumb as me 😂😂

I don’t remember its from the book so correct me if I’m wrong but I think Crowley snapping his fingers to open and close the bookshop door was a reference to David’s Tennant’s Doctor doing that to the TARDIS also.
For an extra Doctor Who bit, Adam's dad was also the dad of the reality-warping kid in Night Terrors.
 

FreezePeach

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Oct 25, 2017
8,076
This is really good. Well made and clever. Two lead actors are great as usual. So much good tv these days so much is getting overlooked.
 

FaceHugger

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Oct 27, 2017
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I don't think I've ever seen better casting. All of the characters, the ones not changed or invented anyway, look really close to how I pictured them in my head when I read the book.
 

RetroMG

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Oct 25, 2017
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I don't think I've ever seen better casting. All of the characters, the ones not changed or invented anyway, look really close to how I pictured them in my head when I read the book.
Oh, yeah. I read Good Omens about once a year, and every time, I try to cast it differently in my head. The only one I've ever been close on was I think I once considered David Tennant as Crowley. (Opposite Anthony Stewart Head as Aziraphale.)
That being said, this casting is spot on.
 

FeliciaFelix

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,398
Wow, first episode lifts whole pages from the book, word for word narration/dialogue. Love it! Will continue tonight!

I also like the subtle updates, like messing with the phones. I dont think it was on the books. Could be wrong.
 

Dougald

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Oct 27, 2017
1,625
I also like the subtle updates, like messing with the phones. I dont think it was on the books. Could be wrong.
That was actually in the book! I do need to reread it again for the first time in a few years though, because there are a few other things that I'm just not quite sure are tweaked for 2019 or not.

"I tied up every portable telephone system in Central London for forty-five minutes at lunchtime," he said.
There was silence, except for the distant swishing of cars.
"Yes?" said Hastur. "And then what?"
"Look, it wasn't easy," said Crowley.
"That's all?" said Ligur.
"Look, people-"
"And exactly what has that done to secure souls for our master?" said Hastur.
Crowley pulled himself together.
What could he tell them? That twenty thousand people got bloody furious? That you could hear the arteries clanging shut all across the city? And that then they went back and took it out on their secretaries or traffic wardens or whatever, and they took it out on other people? In all kinds of vindictive little ways which, and here was the good bit, they thought up themselves For the rest of the day. The pass-along effects were incalculable. Thousands and thousands of souls all got a faint patina of tarnish, and you hardly had to lift a finger
 

FeliciaFelix

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Oct 27, 2017
1,398
That was actually in the book! I do need to reread it again for the first time in a few years though, because there are a few other things that I'm just not quite sure are tweaked for 2019 or not.

"I tied up every portable telephone system in Central London for forty-five minutes at lunchtime," he said.
There was silence, except for the distant swishing of cars.
"Yes?" said Hastur. "And then what?"
"Look, it wasn't easy," said Crowley.
"That's all?" said Ligur.
"Look, people-"
"And exactly what has that done to secure souls for our master?" said Hastur.
Crowley pulled himself together.
What could he tell them? That twenty thousand people got bloody furious? That you could hear the arteries clanging shut all across the city? And that then they went back and took it out on their secretaries or traffic wardens or whatever, and they took it out on other people? In all kinds of vindictive little ways which, and here was the good bit, they thought up themselves For the rest of the day. The pass-along effects were incalculable. Thousands and thousands of souls all got a faint patina of tarnish, and you hardly had to lift a finger
I'm pretty sure they are talking about landlines but with those phones that didnt have a cord but a long extendable antenna, like old TV Bunny ears. They were portable inside the house. Like a mobile phone great grandpa. But the general idea is the same.

(Showing my age here!)
 

RetroMG

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Oct 25, 2017
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I'm pretty sure they are talking about landlines but with those phones that didnt have a cord but a long extendable antenna, like old TV Bunny ears. They were portable inside the house. Like a mobile phone great grandpa. But the general idea is the same.

(Showing my age here!)
I actually thought it was talking about car phones. But as you say, it still works.
My wife actually called out the answering machine trap as "the moment that the show jumped the shark" but that's straight from the book, too.
 

Masterblaster

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Nov 13, 2017
35
So Good Omens is one of my favorite books and when it was announced that it would be made for tv i was very skeptic as to how this book with tons of clever dialogue and quirky characters can be adapted without loosing something in the process.

Well after 4 eps it turns out i my fears were justified. I am just not feeling it. The main beats from the book are there but its missing the charm and the whit i felt when i read this book. I was happy with the casting of Tennant as Crowley yet he dosen't really work for me here. Maybe its the contacts or maybe its his constant grimacing or maybe that he dosen't have near the level of dialogue or banter or simple chemistry that he has with Aziraphale in the books. Anathema Device is also bland here but at least Shadwell is nicely acted though.

John Hamm dosen't really need to be here as he ads nothing to Gabriel imho.

All in all the biggest problem i have is that the tone from the book dosen't really translate for me to the screen at all. There are echos and bits and pieces of it here but somehow nothing really clicks.

Its a shame but basically what i expected. Maybe at least to people who like this it will give an incentive to read the book as well if they haven't already.
 
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Protome

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Oct 27, 2017
6,019
As much as I love David Tennant, I still think I prefer Peter Serafinowicz as Crowley (he played him in the Radio Play version, if you haven't heard and it enjoy this and/or the book do yourself a favour and listen to it! It's on Audible I think.)
 

Gawge

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Oct 27, 2017
399
Never read the books, but watching with some people who loved them.

It feels a bit like it’s made for the people who read the books? Despite the constant narration I’m barely picking up any sort of thread, it just seems like a chance to act out some scenes that fans of the book with enjoy?

Probably talking shite, but yeah, not for me. It very much feels like it’s just showing off Sheen and Tennant’s chemistry, which whilst obviously is good, I just personally don’t find it funny.
 

RetroMG

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Oct 25, 2017
1,456
As much as I love David Tennant, I still think I prefer Peter Serafinowicz as Crowley (he played him in the Radio Play version, if you haven't heard and it enjoy this and/or the book do yourself a favour and listen to it! It's on Audible I think.)
I loved Peter Serafinowicz as Crowley, but I also couldn't get through much of the Radio Play because of the way the characters were constantly narrating stuff. Crowley gives a lengthy speech about setting up the M25 which is done better as a flashback in the TV version. He also gives another lengthy speech about his watch which was cut from the TV show, and the TV show is better for it.

Peter Serafinowicz himself is *great* as the character, but my god, some of that exposition is clunky as hell.
 

1000 Needles

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Oct 25, 2017
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Never read the books, but watching with some people who loved them.

It feels a bit like it’s made for the people who read the books? Despite the constant narration I’m barely picking up any sort of thread, it just seems like a chance to act out some scenes that fans of the book with enjoy?

Probably talking shite, but yeah, not for me. It very much feels like it’s just showing off Sheen and Tennant’s chemistry, which whilst obviously is good, I just personally don’t find it funny.
I've only watched episode 1 so far, but as one who's read the book, and absolutely loved it, I can see what you mean. It definitely seems like a love letter to those who've read it, at the risk of alienating those who have not.