You’d think with their body of work including Doctor Who, The Queen, Frost / Nixon and Broadchurch that the fate of the world might be in good hands with David Tennant and Michael Sheen in the drivers’ seat.
But that’s not the master plan of Good Omens where, as two angel opposites, they bungle the ushering in of the next antichrist and trigger Armageddon.
This cockamamie notion comes from the hands of Terry Pratchett (Discworld, Hogfather) & Neil Gaiman (American Gods) whose 1990 book of the same name has a been a fantasy best-seller.
Gaiman is showrunner on this sprawling series set largely in the UK, but initially in a heavenly Garden of Eden. Demon Crawley (Tennant) morphs from his slippery snake skin after tempting Eve, to banter with the angel Aziraphale (Sheen) who is the goodly guardian of the Eastern Gate.
Both have grown rather fond of humankind and decide to intercede when the Antichrist baby is to be ushered into the world a mere 11 years ago, via a chattering order of Satanic nuns. Crawley has but one task: to deliver the infant, Rosemary’s Baby-style, to the expectant wife of an American diplomat. But in a classic case of mistaken identity it ends up with another couple.
Thus the Antichrist is raised by a couple of ordinary Brits, and the child our heroes are supposed to be overlooking is not whom all intend him to be. Crawley and Aziraphale hatch a plan to influence his (mistaken) upbringing with so much good and so much evil that he matures with negligible amounts of both. These diabolical godfathers therefore intend to offset Armageddon…
If you haven’t worked it out by now, lashings of high concepts and theatrical performances make for a rollicking time with Tennant and Sheen positively bouncing off one another with some sparkling dialogue.
Michael Sheen (unrecognisable from his current role in The Good Fight) boasts a shock of white hair and a crisp bow tie as the very proper, occasionally camp, Angel Aziraphale. David Tennant swaggers behind his sunglasses, rocking out to Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen get a special thanks).
There are plenty of lively supporting roles and cameos including Jon Hamm as the Angel Gabriel, Frances McDormand as the voice of God, plus Ned Dennehy and Nick Offerman. Big names will feature across the series including Miranda Richardson, Derek Jacobi, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brian Cox, Michael McKean, Jack Whitehall, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and more.
Director Douglas Mackinnon throws a lot at this (the budget was clearly skyhigh) and there are plenty of pop culture references from Mary Poppins to Kenny Everett … I swear I heard Mrs. Doubtfire mimicked. This makes for a joyously unpredictable magic carpet ride all in the name of “The Adversary, The Aangel of the Bottomless Pit, the Destroyer of Kings and the Lord of Darkness.”
It’s also far more accessible than Gaiman’s trippy American Gods, and likely to descend into sheer madness upon further viewings.
Good Omens begins Friday on Amazon Prime Video.