A Love Letter to Good Omens

Are you ready for Season 2? I’m counting down the days, but until then, here’s a bit of background about the writing process and what the show means to me.

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Aziraphale and Crowley next to book cover of Good Omens

To say that I love Good Omens is a massive understatement. A dramatic declaration, I know, but it’s fitting considering the theatrics of Crowley and Azirapahle, the story’s leading characters. A more appropriate description of how I feel about Good Omens is as follows: I am obsessed and haven’t even come close to loving any other story in my two decades of life. You may now be wondering (with a hint of concern) why Good Omens means as much as it does to me. I don’t have a simple or singular reason.

In order to fully understand the journey that Good Omens has been on, we must start at the beginning. Before it was a show, Good Omens was a novel co-written by British authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett that was published in 1990. Both Gaiman and Pratchett had plans to find a writer to adapt their novel into a television series thirty years after the publication date, but Pratchett sadly passed away in 2015 before the authors could find a writer for the show. However, before he passed, it was essentially Pratchett’s dying wish that Gaiman write the screen adaptation himself. In a touching tribute to Terry Pratchett, the final frame of the show’s finale reads, “For Terry.”

Neil Gaiman (left) and Terry Pratchett (right) with bookshelf in background

When Neil Gaiman set out to write the Good Omens show, it was with love for his dear friend and co-author Terry Pratchett. There are a few fan-favorite scenes and storylines in the show that do not exist in the book, and Gaiman has stated that even though he was not able to discuss exact details with Pratchett due to his illness, the spirit of the co-authored story is still present in the show:

“I feel like what I got to do was put the thing I made with Terry on the screen and then buttress it. What I added isn’t completely different from the original. It’s not out of left field.”

Neil Gaiman

One such element that was not described in detail in the novel is how the relationship between Crowley and Aziraphale developed. However, in the show, an entire half-hour cold open in the third episode is dedicated to revealing the history between the two. We travel through the ages with the grumpy demon and optimistic angel from the beginning of time up to the recent present.

Aziraphale and Crowley in the park during the nineteenth century

Fangirling over these scenes in their entirety would produce a 2000-word monster of an article, so I’ll keep it brief. Honorary mentions include the Globe Theatre and the French Revolution when Crowley (David Tennant) and Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) become more familiar with each other while still having an awareness that their friendly interactions are quite illegal in the eyes of both Heaven and Hell.

Both Crowley and Aziraphale grow bolder in their acts of devotion to each other as the years go on. Crowley walks into a church even though the consecrated ground burns him to rescue Aziraphale (and his beloved books!!) from Nazi spies during the Blitz, and Aziraphale later returns the favor in the 1960s when he delivers the holy water that Crowley has been trying to obtain for over a century. Also in that scene is the most devastating line ever that I still haven’t recovered from: “You go too fast for me, Crowley.”

Aziraphale in the car with Crowley during the 1960s

Another notable storyline that is seen in the show and not in the book is the respective trials of Crowley and Aziraphale near the end. After the demon and angel save the world from the anti-Christ (or more accurately, they prevent the war between Heaven and Hell that has been promised by God for 6,000 years), each is captured by their respective head offices and held trial for disobeying the Great Plan and halting the intended destruction of humanity.

Crowley and Aziraphale with escalators leading to Hell and Heaven in the background

None of this is even hinted at in the book, but when Gaiman was developing the show, he realized that he didn’t have enough plot to fill the entirety of a sixth episode. Gaiman and Pratchett had included their own conceptual settings for Heaven and Hell in an earlier draft of the book and a prospective sequel, but the extent of these places and the celestial and demonic bureaucrats who work within them didn’t make it into the novel or the-sequel-that-never-was.

The trials at the end get to what’s really at the heart of the show (in my opinion), which is that love is stronger than judgment and the idea that all people are either good or bad should be questioned. Also, it’s really sweet to see the lengths that Crowley and Aziraphale would go to in order to save the other.

Aziraphale and Crowley dining at the Ritz and holding champagne glasses

The show’s much-anticipated second season will be released on Amazon Prime on July 28. I know that it will be crafted with the same love and intent as the first season because the show means so much to everyone involved, especially the writer. Neil Gaiman’s stated goal for the show is the following:

“All I wanted to do was to make something Terry would have liked.”

Neil Gaiman

I never had the honor of knowing Terry Pratchett and certainly can’t speak for him, but the Good Omens show sure as hell makes me happy (even though I’ve cried many times while watching it), and I will always love it with every beat of my heart.

Want to know more about Neil Gaiman? Click here.