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good omens

Words like joy and delight should never be used to describe a show about the Antichrist, but they come to mind with Amazon’s production of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel Good Omens. An organization, offended by the subject matter, started a petition for this mini-series to be removed (it mistakenly petitioned Netflix, missing the fact that Amazon produced the series—it’s hard keeping track of your apocalyptic movies and shows nowadays). Too bad they couldn’t enjoy a lighthearted production about an angel and a demon working together to stop Armageddon. Armageddon is bad, right?

Good Omens starts with a voiceover. It is God speaking, and she sets the tone for this comedy. With the voice of Frances McDormand, we learn that science is wrong, and religion is right—Earth was created only a few thousand years ago, dinosaur fossils were a practical joke and there really was a Garden of Eden. That’s where we first meet an angel, Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), and a demon, Crowley (David Tennant). These two representatives of Heaven and Hell will build a working relationship with each other over the millennia, creating a friendly acceptance of each other. Then they find out the end is near, as Armageddon is scheduled and the Antichrist is born. What can two low-level functionaries do to stop the end of the world?

This six-part series belongs to Sheen and Tennant. Every time they are on screen, it’s hard to find anything wrong about the show. Sheen’s Aziraphale and Tennant’s Crowley try to stop young Adam (Sam Taylor Buck), the Antichrist, from discovering his world-ending powers. Along the way, we meet a witch (Adria Arjona) who follows the prophecies of her ancestor, two witch hunters (Michael McKean and Jack Whitehall) and other angels and demons enthusiastic about the upcoming war between good and evil (Jon Hamm plays the silliest Gabriel).

Some pacing issues in a few episodes slightly limit the fun, but Aziraphale and Crowley's bumbling attempts to stop things from getting out of hand make most episodes delightful. Plus, we get entertaining snippets about the two: Aziraphale loves the gavotte and Crowley talks to his plants.

Good Omens works as a mini-series. Petitions can’t stop us from enjoying its humor and its characters, for Armageddon never looked so good. In fact, it’s a joy and delight.

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