Martin Carr reviews the second episode of Good Omens…
If anything could be taken from Good Omens it would be a number of unpopular if obviously ideas. Religions in the main bend the truth to serve a purpose and are not beyond bending them back if that initial foray fails. It should also be noted that some rather intelligent people have been burned, butchered, stretched and beheaded for those unpopular and often correct ideas across history. It is just such a notion which is explored in ‘The Book’ which flagrantly undermines medieval belief systems in relation to witches or more basically anything that sounds dodgy. With an onus on family bloodlines, vocational pre-dispositions and one aptly names Agnes Nutter, Neil Gaiman draws us further into his world of bureaucratic bungling on a biblical level.
With the hell hound known as dog in situ, Adam living his life peacefully somewhere leafy while powers that be outsource Armageddon, Gaiman paints a picture of miscommunication and no accountability. Imagine a corporation with a global reach and responsibility for endless essential services who never meet or have any concept of business. Rules are being constantly rewritten without any method of dissemination, while people are unsupervised, unchecked and blithely unaware. In short a huge heavenly ocean liner minus any helmsmen and a mutinous engine room.
To say Good Omens is abstract would be placing it too firmly into the realms of normal television. This is a stark history lesson about misunderstandings, misinformation and the occasional digression involving satanic nuns. Where water may not turn to wine but paint balls most definitely morph into live ammunition with liberal amounts of last minute near misses. From the punctuality which underlines some tardy time keeping from a witch finder general to a spooky premonition concerning coco, Gaiman guarantees the levels of verbal and visual invention never drop.
This adaptation is fast filling up with quality cameos from the likes of Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson and Jack Whitehall, meaning this reassuring role call insures some certified lunacy is looming. Chemistry between our eponymous leads is easy while Jon Hamm and his league of angelic allies are ever so subtlety out of step with their modern world. Theological side swifts are rife while those four horsemen of the impending apocalypse brandish flaming scimitars and instil aggressive reprisals. As Crowley engages in hellish horticulture and his opposite number lingers over his prophetic first editions, Good Omens weaves its fine yarn and draws the audience closer.