Television Review: Good Omens

Life’s full of disappointments. The fact that Good Omens was terrible is a big one, but let’s keep things in context. There will be much bigger disappointments in my life, I’m sure. Still, I was a fan of the book, a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, a great admirer of Neil Gaiman, and I had big hopes for this production. It had a huge budget, great special effects for a TV show, a stellar cast. So much potential.

Almost all of it, wasted.

The biggest criticism I can give about it is that halfway through the show, I decided I no longer cared enough to watch it. Even though the events of the book are quite hazy in my mind (it’s been years since I read it), the plot was as obvious as a connect-the-dots. And not a connect-the-dots for grownups, with like 1,000 dots. A connect the dots for a toddler, where the dots go in a circle, and the end result is a circle.

Of course, I don’t review things I don’t finish, and so even though Denisa stopped watching, I decided to press forward. Part of me hoped it would get better. It didn’t. Compare it to season three of Stranger Things (I just finished episode 6 last night–no spoilers!), and the difference is night and day. In Stranger Things, I care about the characters. They’re unique and well developed. They have their own agendas. They do intriguing things. There’s a variety of conflicts. It’s a great show.

Good Omens has a ton of characters. We’re told we have to like them or hate them, but the only two I cared about even remotely were Crowley and Aziraphale. But really? I didn’t care about any of them at all. The world was supposedly about to end, and I wasn’t concerned in the slightest. For one thing, I didn’t ever truly believe it would, and for another, I wouldn’t have minded if it did, because at least then the show would have been over.

The series is also completely inconsistent, theologically speaking. It uses a whole slew of Christian beliefs to base its view of the end of the world, but then yoinks Christ out of the picture completely, pausing only to make some gimmicky one-liners about the crucifixion. (Yes. I get that the show was poking fun at religion on purpose. I wouldn’t have minded if it did a halfway decent job of it. But it didn’t, and the screwed things up even more.)

All in all, the only few nice things I can say about the series is that I liked most of the soundtrack, and David Tennant did as good a job as he could with what he was given.

How could it have been fixed? That’s pretty straightforward. The first step would have been to go beyond 6 episodes. It needed at least 10 to even come close to being enough to cover what they tried to cram in. Probably more like 30. Instead, they kept falling back on the idiotic approach of using a narrator to tell us what was happening and how we should be feeling about it. Total #TVfail.

Assuming they couldn’t go for 30 episodes, then they should have cut down the characters drastically. Ditch the witch and the witch hunter. Get rid of the host of angels and demons. Slim the story down to the essentials. But they tried to ram it all in instead.

Ugh. The sooner I’m done thinking about it, the better. 2/10. Avoid almost at all costs, especially if you’re a Pratchett/Gaiman fan.

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