Great news for Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett fans — Good Omens is coming to small screens this week!
The TV series is based on the fantasy novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, co-penned in 1990 by this literary dream team.
BBC/Amazon’s Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant as co-leads. Neil Gaiman serves as series showrunner and has written every episode in the six-part series.
A glitzy premiere in Leicester Square this week marked Amazon’s first major entry into British television. The evening was dedicated to Pratchett, who died in 2015.
A Promise to Pratchett
Neil Gaiman started writing the fantasy drama for the screen in 2015. Deadline reported on the touching tribute Gaiman made to Pratchett at the premiere:
“Terry Pratchett asked me about five years ago, he wrote me a letter, he said ‘you have to make this into a television show and I want to watch it… before the lights go out’.
“I said ‘yes’ and then Terry died and I flew home from his funeral and started writing episode one at a time when nothing seemed very funny. I wrote it for him, missing him whenever I got stuck because he’d get me out of trouble and missing him whenever I did anything clever because I wanted to tell him about it.
“Then I became showrunner because I promised that I would make the thing that he would have loved and that process can’t end by handing in the script.”
This marks the first time Gaiman has worked as a showrunner. “It helped so much having Neil Gaiman being the showrunner,” Sheen told BBC. He was on set every day, working alongside Douglas Mackinnon, who directed it, and was at the heart of all the creative decisions, which gives you a lot of confidence.”
Gaiman also recounted that Pratchett would not believe Good Omens had become a TV series until he saw it in a cinema with a bag of popcorn. In response, a front row seat was left vacant for Pratchett, with his signature hat and a bag of popcorn marking his place at the premiere.
What is Good Omens about?
The series unfolds in the present day, with the world on the verge of an imminent apocalypse. As the Final Judgment nears, armies of Good and Evil are amassing. Atlantis is rising. Everyone on earth is on edge.
The apocalypse unfolds according to plan—that is until a fussy angel (Sheen) and a fast-living demon (Tennant) join forces to stop the end of the world. To make matters worse, someone has misplaced the Antichrist.
Who is in the cast?
The Good Omens cast includes many other A-list talents. Jon Hamm plays archangel Gabriel, the leader of the forces of heaven. Though the novel scarcely mentions this character, Gaiman uses plot points from the unfinished book sequel to expand the TV role.
Josie Lawrence plays Agnes Nutter, the 17th-century witch referenced in the novel’s title. Adria Arjona as Anathema Device, a descendant of Nutter who helps Crowley and Aziraphale.
Anna Maxwell Martin plays Beelzebub, a leader of the forces of hell. Michael McKean plays Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell, Jack Whitehall plays Newton Pulsifer, and Miranda Richardson plays part-time medium, Madame Tracy. There are also Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse including War (Mireille Enos) and Famine (Yusuf Gatewood).
Good Omens also features A-list voice talent. Brian Cox plays the voice of Death, Frances McDormand is the voice of God, and Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Smaug the dragon) is the voice of Satan.
Oh, and Nick Offerman is a US Ambassador and father of Warlock.
How To Watch
BBC Studios co-produced the series, which will eventually air on BBC following its initial release on Amazon.
What’s next for Amazon and Neil Gaiman?
Amazon has expressed their intentions to continue creating projects with the likes of Neil Gaiman. Albert Cheng, Television Co-Head at Amazon, “wanted to touch on how important Good Omens is to Amazon.”
Cheng told Deadline, “Ultimately, at Amazon Studios, we want to be the home of [top creatives], which is why we’re so thrilled that Good Omens and American Gods are the first steps in our long-term partnership with Neil Gaiman.”