The highly anticipated Good Omens has arrived, but not without its unpleasant detractors. One Twitter user complained about the amount of diversity shown in the opening few minutes, and decided to whine about it to the show’s creator, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman then reminded him of his place in the world.
You know, it's when people who proclaim themselves as "white supremacists" turn off Good Omens after the first few minutes, and then come on Twitter to tell me off, that I think sometimes a negative review is a marvelous and heartwarming thing. https://t.co/AwX3oclXaZ
The show begins with Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand narrating as the voice of God. The story of Genesis then unfolds with Adam and Eve, who are played by black actors.
Image via Ars Technica
This was apparently offensive to certain people, and Gaiman had actually addressed this potential reaction during an interview with Slashfilm.
Slashfilm: Do you expect the black Adam and Eve to ruffle some feathers, since some devout people still assume they were white?
Gaiman: You’re talking here about a drama predicated on the idea that the antichrist might actually be a nice kid in which a demon and an angel are working against the orders of Heaven and incidentally Hell in order to stop the apocalypse from happening and save the world. On this basis, I think a black Adam and Eve is a nice way of letting anybody who would be significantly offended by any of those concepts know that they can stop watching this now. It is safe to turn off.
Image via IMDb
Good Omens follows the demon Crowley, and the angel Aziraphale, who also happen to be best friends in love with each other, as they try stopping the apocalypse in spite of Heaven’s decision to end the world. But yeah, the thing that throws people off is Adam and Eve’s skin color.
It’s nice to see that Gaiman can deal with these unpleasantries with grace and wit.
The upcoming release of Good Omens will be a bittersweet one, given that co-creator Terry Pratchett is no longer with us. No expense was spared to make his narrative contributions come to life, especially under the watch of co-creator Neil Gaiman.
io9 reports that Gaiman was keen on filming a small, yet expensive scene during the TV series’ production. The scene featured one of Pratchett’s characters, Agnes Nutter, played by Josie Lawrence, getting burned at the stake in front of a village crowd for practicing witchcraft.
Image via io9
Agnes’s character is more important to the backstory and world-building of Crowley and Aziraphale’s journey to stop the apocalypse than the story itself. However, when production raised concerns about the scene’s cost and proposed a budget-friendly solution, Gaiman couldn’t bring himself to exclude Pratchett’s creation. (It would also be a little awkward to remove the Agnes Nutter character from a book called Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.)
It was a huge, complicated and incredibly expensive shoot, with bonfires built and primed to explode as well as huge crowds in costumes. It had to feel just like an English village in the 1640s, and of course everyone asked if there was a cheap way of doing it. One suggestion was that we could tell the story using old-fashioned woodcuts and have the narrator take us through what happened, but I just thought, ‘No’. Because I had brought aspects of the story like Crowley and the baby swap along to the mix, and Terry created Agnes Nutter.
So, if I had cut out Agnes then I wouldn’t be doing right by the person who gave me this job. Terry would’ve rolled over in his grave.
Image via Amazon
It’s touching to see Gaiman’s consideration and loyalty to his beloved co-writer. A deal originally dictated that an adaptation would only be possible if both creators were attached to the project, until Gaiman received a posthumous from Pratchett himself, requesting that he adapt it.
Well, this was a pleasant surprise! In a tweet this morning, Neil Gaiman posted a link to the latest trailer for the upcoming adaptation of one of his most famous novels: Good Omens, co-written with the late, great novelist Terry Pratchett. Gaiman took to Twitter to ask fans: ‘So you’ve all seen this now, yes?’
Yes, Neil, yes we have, and we couldn’t be more excited.
The novel was the result of a creative collaboration between the brilliant Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, a witty adventure that follows the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley as they both attempt to sabotage the coming of the proverbial end times, having grown used to living comfortably in England. A madcap comedy, the book features brilliant satire of common religious fixtures such as the biblical book of Revelations, the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse, Satanic nuns, and the unlikely pairing between the two protagonists. The Amazon Prime series looks to be embracing all this fun.
Starring David Tennant as Crowley and Michael Sheen as Aziraphale, the trailer seems to embrace the full imaginative and satirical bent of the novel. Just some of the things audiences get to see include krakens, aliens, demonic motorbikers, as well as glimpses of Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman. But the pairing of Crowley and Aziraphale looks to be just perfect, with Tennant and Sheen embodying their roles spectacularly. And it’s all set to a soundtrack by Queen for the icing on the cake.
Good Omens will be let loose on Amazon Prime on May 31st. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Gaiman’s fans love him for the colorful, imaginative worlds he creates, an aspect of his writing which adapts exceptionally well to the small screen, as we’ve seen with the likes of American Gods which was adapted into a successful television program on Starz, and Tim Burton’s take on Gaiman’s children’s book Coraline.
While the prospect of a television adaptation of Good Omens is exciting, there is always the concern that some of the magic of Gaiman’s elegant storytelling will be lost in translation. Rest easy, though, because Gaiman himself wrote the show’s programme and will serve as showrunner!
IMAGE VIA COMINGSOON
Good Omens will also provide much needed representation in its diverse cast, according to what Gaiman disclosed in an interview:
What’s interesting is that there are almost no physical descriptions of anybody in the book, but Pepper is described as having red hair and a face that was basically one giant freckle, and so people are like ‘oh my god, that has to be white’, and… no she doesn’t.
But perhaps even better than all of this: the show will also be accompanied by two companion books!
The first book, The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book, will include the screenplay as well as a foreword from Gaiman and deleted scenes from the show.
IMAGE VIA THE GUARDIAN
The second book, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion, will give insight into the production of the show. This companion piece will include photos of the set, cast interviews, costume boards, and more!
Good Omens will arrive on Amazon Prime Video on May 31, 2019, and will later air on BBC.