Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / Good Omens (2019)
aka: Good Omens

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/goodomensposter.png
Welcome to the End Times.

Aziraphale: We have nothing whatsoever in common! I don't even like you!
Crowley: You do.
Advertisement:

Based on the book of the same name, Good Omens is a six-episode miniseries airing on Amazon Prime on May 31, 2019.

Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) was the angel who guarded the gates of Eden, while Crowley (David Tennant) was the snake who tempted Adam and Eve. Following humanity's expulsion from the garden, the two are stationed on Earth as agents of heaven and hell. Six thousand years of living among humanity later, they are informed that it is time to start the Apocalypse. The problem is, they've both decided that they rather like Earth the way it is and hatch a plan to put off Armageddon as long as possible. Some Satanic nuns, two coincidental births, and entirely too much winking later, they realize they've lost track of the Antichrist, who is unknowingly about to end the world...

Co-stars include Anna Maxwell Martin (Beelzebub), Jon Hamm (Archangel Gabriel), Josie Lawrence (Agnes Nutter), Adria Arjona (Anathema Device), Michael McKean (Shadwell), Jack Whitehall (Newton Pulsifer), Miranda Richardson (Madame Tracy), Mireille Enos (War), Lourdes Faberes (Pollution), Yusuf Gatewoof (Famine), and Death (Death)note .

Advertisement:

See the first trailer here, and the second here.


This series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
    # to K 
  • Actor Allusion: Not the first time we've seen David Tennant quoting Shakespeare to the Bard himself.
    • Another example: when R. P. Tyler of the Tadfield Neighbourhood Watch intruduces himself to Anathema, he says "I thought you were a person of interest". Anathema is played by Adria Arjona, who previously appeared in Person of Interest.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Several extra scenes have been added, Episode 3's scenes of Aziraphale and Crowley's relationship throughout history, and minor characters like Gabriel and Beelzebub have larger roles. Satan actually makes an appearance, while in the book his arrival is undone by Adam. The final episode includes an additional climax where Aziraphale and Crowley are put on trial by their respective factions for defying them.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • The novel's running gag about Elvis is lacking its set-up note  and its ultimate punchline note , but still shows Elvis working the grill at a Burger Lord in Des Moines.
    • The show uses Queen songs liberally, and the end titles track, which is the opening titles track in the band's style, is called "The Theme That Got Left in the Car". But the bit about any tape left in a car eventually turning into The Best of Queen is never explicitly mentioned.
    • One line of prophecy obliquely refers to the Hell's Angels (the one that mentions fish), but they otherwise are neither mentioned nor appear.
    • Crowley's methods of mildly annoying lots of people at once come off as harmless pranks done for no reason other than hiding that he doesn't do much real evil. In the book, he explains that putting everybody in an entire area into a worse mood simultaneously has a snowball effect that makes the world a measurably worse place overall and does a lot more damage than the traditional method of tempting people one by one.
    • The Them's discussion of aliens spreading a message of universal harmony misses the bit where Adam calls them "sort of g'lactic policemen", but the one who shows up still sounds like a bored traffic cop.
    • The scene where Aziraphale lights a ticket attendant's notebook on fire is missing the exchange afterwards (establishing the angel and demon as Not So Different), so it's just a flash of pyrotechnics that's only recognized by readers.
    • Aziraphale manages to find a host to possess in England on his first try, unlike in the book where he got bounced between several different people all over the world first. This makes the scene where he tries several different languages somewhat nonsensical.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Downplayed with Anathema Device, who in the original novel was described as having facial features that were attractive individually, but don't mesh well and so result in someone who isn't quite pretty. Here, she's played by the actress/model Adria Arjona and is a lot more conventionally beautiful, though most of the outfits she's in serve to hide her figure.
    • Newton Pulsifer is described in the book as "Tall Dark and Not Handsome". Here he's played by very conventionally attractive Jack Whitehall wearing unflattering clothing, glasses and a messy haircut (all of which are also things he has in the book).
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Aziraphale doesn't have as much of an edge as he did in the book, and also isn't the one to initially suggest killing Adam so as to avert the Apocalypse.
    • Crowley similarly lacks some of his edge due to the above mentioned removal of the logic behind his actions on Earth. Between that and his claims of lying on reports, Crowley comes off as more of a trickster than a cunning demon.
    • The miniseries version of Shadwell is significantly less bigoted than his book counterpart was.
    • Gabriel is given most of Metatron's role in the book, so when he does appear, it's in a very brief scene where he comes across as kind, slightly spacey, and unintentionally unhelpful rather than obstructive.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The Hell's Angels aren't present in this adaptation, although the prophecy about Four Angels of Hell riding behind the Four Horseman is shown at one point. They were in the script and had even been cast but unfortunately, the budget and shooting schedule dictated that they had to be left out.
    • Greasy Johnson and the Johnsonites, Tadfield's other gang and the Them's rivals, are also not seen or mentionednote 
      • Similarly, the American version of the novel includes an extra 700-word section just before the end, dealing with what happened to the character of Warlock, as well as a mention of Baby B's award-winning tropical fish. None of these appear in the show.
    • In the book, there are three aliens that come out of the flying saucer. The third is described as being shaped like a pepperpot (a pepper shaker, for Americans) and beeping frantically, with the fandom debating whether this was meant to be a Dalek or R2-D2. Presumably, copyright issues kept it from appearing in this show. note 
    • Mr. Cortese and Mr. Harrison, Warlock's tutors. Although presumably, they'd have been Aziraphale and Crowley in disguise again.
    • Pepper's little sister and Adam's older sister are never mentioned, with Wensleydale taking the role of suspected witch in the English Inquisition scene.
  • Affably Evil: The nuns of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl are painfully polite and enjoy cookies with pink icing on them, while also working to bring about the apocalypse on behalf of Hell. Sister Mary also finds the Antichrist absolutely adorable as a baby.
  • A Mythology Is True: As with its source material, the series presents the Christian Bible as complete fact, to the point of Doing In the Scientist and having the Earth only be roughly 6,000 years old.
  • All There in the Manual: Crowley and Aziraphale's relationship can come across as rather one-sided, with the exasperated demon constantly bailing out the silly angel. The script book has a brief note from Gaiman stating that it worked both ways, and Aziraphale did go to Crowley's rescue multiple times over the centuries - they just didn't show it.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Excluding the whole "Biblical timeline being real" thing, Aziraphale and Crowley are seen wearing some anachronistic getups during the montage that shows how their arrangement has worked across the ages, including both of them in 16th-century platemail in Arthurian England. Crowley's AD 8 sunglasses, however, actually do have historic precedent as the emperor Nero is said to have owned a pair of glasses set with gemstones.
    • The series keeps to Pepper's mother having conceived (and named) her while she was in a traditional hippy commune. It was already stretching it in the book when she was born in 1979, but it becomes this trope when the story now takes place in 2019 and Pepper thus has to have been born in 2008. Especially so as the series cuts to very grainy footage of said commune you'd expect from an early camcorder.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping: The main story is how an odd, enduring friendship between an angel and a demon helps stop the end of the world. This Shipping trope is also invoked and lampshaded when the demon realizes that the angel is his best friend, and the angel likewise.
  • Angels in Overcoats: Aziraphale wears a nice cream one in his present-day outfit, Sandalphon has a tan one, and Gabriel wears a gray one in a few of his Earth disguises.
  • Animal Eyes: Crowley the demon quite literally has snake eyes, due to originally being the demonic serpent that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. He always has to wear sunglasses to hide them, even at night.
  • Animated Credits Opening: As seen here, the opening credits have paper cut-out versions of Aziraphale and Crowley walking through the ages to the end times.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Adam ends up like this, thwarting the very Armageddon he was meant to cause.
  • Arc Words: "Ineffable plan."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Gabriel is dead set on following the Great Plan no matter what it takes until Aziraphale asks him if the Great Plan is God's ineffable plan. This stops Gabriel dead in his tracks since even in his self-righteousness, Gabriel would not presume to claim that he knows God's whole plan.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Agnes Nutter is described as the last person burned for witchcraft in England. However, people convicted of witchcraft were hanged in England, rather than burned. Even so, as she isn't shown getting tried the event may have just been "mob justice" as led by the witchfinder.
    • Noah's flood is presented as a local event that destroyed the Iraqi flood plain and not much else in 3004 BCE. While this is based on a real event, it occurred circa 2900 BCE. It doesn't line up with the Ussher timeline they used for the day of creation either, which puts the flood in 2349 BCE.
  • Asshole Victim: During the French Revolution, Aziraphale is arrested and sentenced to death. He is visited by the executioner who brags that Aziraphale will be his 999th "customer" and first Englishman. When Crowley frees Aziraphale, the angel switches clothes with the executioner. The executioner is then mistaken for a prisoner and taken to the guillotine. Neither angel nor demon are disturbed by this development and instead discuss what they should eat.
  • Atlantis: As a part of Adam's Reality Warping powers, he brings Atlantis up out of the sea in the middle of the night. When Crowley looks at a globe after it appears, it's shown to be in the South Atlantic.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Aziraphale and Crowley bicker Like an Old Married Couple, but Crowley has saved Aziraphale from discorporation at least twice, and Aziraphale has procured holy water for Crowley so that he doesn't accidentally kill himself trying to get it.
  • Baby Talk: Sister Mary Hodges constantly coos over the baby Antichrist's cute little "toesie-woesies".
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: The demons often speak this way, using such figures of speech as "for Satan's sake" and "bless it" instead of "damn it". At one point, Ligur tells Hastur that he thinks Crowley is up to no good. Hastur shrugs and says that's all right, he's a demon, he's supposed to be up to no good. Ligur then has to clarify he means Crowley is up to "no bad" before Hastur gets the message.
  • Bad Liar: Gabriel and Sandalphon attempt to have a clandestine meeting with Aziraphale at his bookstore. To try to appear unsuspicious to the customers, they loudly declare their intent to purchase pornography, while Gabriel is holding a book that is clearly not porn.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Anathema does virtually everything based on what her ancestor Agnes Nutter had prophesied, including having sex with Newton (though she does develop feelings for him). At the end though, she burns the sheaf of new prophecies delivered rather than living her life according to them. Though it's unclear if Agnes predicted that as well...
  • Been There, Shaped History: The opening of the third episode follows Aziraphale and Crowley's involvement all the way from the Garden of Eden through the Old and New Testaments and then all the way into modern day. For instance, Crowley was responsible for the temptations of Christ, which he saw more as a kind last gesture to a "bright young lad".
    Crowley: I showed him all the kingdoms of the world... He's a carpenter from Galilee. His travel options are limited.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The Archangel Gabriel and Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, are the two most powerful and influential characters seen in the respective divine and demonic hierarchies. Furthermore, they're also the two characters most focused on making sure the Apocalypse happens properly.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Agnes' prophecy about Anathema and Newton having sex wishes her that he's well-endowed (or at least it's strongly implied, as we don't hear the entire thing).
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Gabriel doesn't like the word "kidnapping." He prefers "extraordinary rendition."
    • Being greeted by Beelzebub as "Crowley the traitor" the demon replies that it's not a nice word.
  • Blackshirt: The Satanic nuns are an entire order of these, established to help the Antichrist be put in place so he can take over the world in the end times. Until then, they pretend to be regular nuns who run a maternity hospital. However, they utterly mess things up with the Antichrist and soon disband as a result of Hastur burning down their convent.
  • Book-Ends:
    • A Garden of Eden motif, which is lampshaded by God. The story begins with Eve stealing an apple in Eden. It ends with Adam (the former Antichrist) stealing an apple from his neighbor.
    • The first episode ends with Crowley and Aziraphale drinking together, and Aziraphale glumly saying, "Welcome to the end times." The last episode ends with them drinking together, and the two of them happily toasting "to the world."
  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: One of the main themes of the miniseries is how Heaven and Hell represent the worst sides of Order and Chaos respectively (with Heaven being painfully dull and the angels being primarily Tautological Templars, and Hell being surprisingly lively but still awful while the demons are mean-spirited weirdos). Meanwhile, humanity and the Earth are a harmonious balance of Order and Chaos existing between the two and are worth saving, as while humans are capable of committing even worse sins than any demon ever could, they can also accomplish virtues better than any angel ever could.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Crowley sets up a Bucket Booby-Trap of holy water over his door, which kills Ligur, and then threatens Hastur with a plant mister, claiming that there's more holy water in it. There isn't.
  • Brick Joke: It's mentioned at the start that the only music that will be in Heaven is The Sound of Music because God personally likes it, and all the other good composers are in Hell. Later, it's a copy of the script that's the kindling for the book shop fire, and Uriel and Sandalphon later riff on "My Favorite Things" when kidnapping Aziraphale.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: As in the book, the reason the Antichrist was lost was due to a mix-up with the mortal side of Hell's bureaucracy. In the series, Heaven is also bureaucratic. To drive the point home, both Heaven and Hell are depicted as interiors of office buildings, but in different ways; Heaven is clean, white and pristine but has a cold and sterile feeling to it, while Hell is much more crowded and lively but also dark, dirty and cramped with constantly flickering lights and leaky pipes.
    Aziraphale: Who exactly summons [the Horsemen]?
    Gabriel: Not my department.
  • Central Theme: The importance of free will, the ability to Screw Destiny, and The Power of Friendship.
  • Cessation of Existence: What happens if a demon touches holy water, or when an angel touches hellfire. This is apparently the only way to truly kill them, since killing them on Earth only amounts to "discorporation". Heaven and Hell try to execute Aziraphale and Crowley this way, but fail.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When Crowley and Aziraphale first meet they discuss the fact that God's plan is ineffable. Aziraphale remembers this when Heaven and Hell are trying to restart Armageddon and uses it to stop them dead in their tracks.
    • Crawley tempted Adam and Eve to eat from the apple so that humans will know good from evil, and Aziraphale gives them his Flaming Sword. They discuss whether it's possible for a demon to inspire good or for an angel to inspire evil. In the final episodes, this is revealed to be the case: The Flaming Sword has become the symbol of the man-made evil that is War, but ultimately the Antichrist Adam chooses to do good instead of following his destiny.
  • Coitus Ensues: Anathema and Newton rather abruptly have sex, with basically no buildup prior to this. Justified however as she acts on her ancestor's prophecies, who predicted they would do it. Plus the world is ending and Newt really doesn't want to die a virgin, which is as good a reason as any other.
  • Composite Character: There's nothing in the book suggesting that Nanny Ashtoreth and Brother Francis are Crowley and Aziraphale in disguise, and Aziraphale's line about "my little team" would rather suggest they're not.note 
  • Conspiracy Theorist:
    • Though it's not really lingered on, Anathema appears to be one. Not only is she sure that GMOs and nuclear plants are evil, but she's subscribed to a magazine that advocates for many different theories (ranging from aliens really visiting us or Atlantis being real to Tibetans spying on people from tunnels). Adam reads all of her issues and turns into a believer too (with all their claims becoming real as a result of his powers).
    • Shadwell, in his own peculiar way, is also a conspiracy theorist, albeit one more focused on witches and other supernatural phenomena.
  • Cool Car: Crowley's Bentley, which is getting some prominent focus in the advertising.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Neil Gaiman portrays a passed-out patron of a movie theater in episode 4 and voices the bunnies on screen.
    • Terry Pratchett's iconic hat and scarf are in Aziraphale's shop. Next to Newt's want ad for the Witchfinder Army is a lost hat notice from "Uncle Terry".
    • T.Pratchett is the only one whose high score D.Eath couldn't beat, with 9,999,999 points in the pub arcade game (notably only one point more than D.Eath's second place score).
    • The Electricity Board spokesman whose voice is heard in Episode 4 discussing the disappearing nuclear reactor is Paul Kaye, using the same voice he used playing Sir Terry in the drama-documentary Terry Pratchett: Back in Black. Terry was indeed previously a press officer with the Electricity Board answering questions about three nuclear power stations.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Shadwell harangues passersby to join his "Witchfinder Army" with the stereotypical sandwich board so they can hunt down and kill witches. Not only is he right that witches exist (although the ones we see aren't evil) but demons and far more do too.
  • Cultural Translation: A minor one: When the narrator explains why Anathema can't see Adam's aura, she uses Times Square and America for her analogy instead of Trafalgar Square and England from the novel.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Metatron is God's primary representative in the book, but due to Gabriel and the other archangels taking up a lot more screentime as representatives of Heaven in the show and making the Metatron somewhat superfluous, he only has one scene in the show.
  • Diagonal Billing: A variation. Michael Sheen's name appears first, but Tennant's name lingers after Sheen's name fades out.
  • Disappeared Dad: Adam cites this as a reason for rejecting Satan, his father, saying the latter isn't really his dad as he never took an interest in him before he rejected the plan for Armageddon.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Anathema rather matter-of-factly proposes to Newton that they have sex, as her ancestor predicted it. He eagerly agrees.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: The angels sometimes fail to understand that the point of being good is to be good, not just to oppose the demons.
    Aziraphale: There doesn't have to be a war.
    Gabriel: Of course there does. Otherwise, how would we win it? (gives "duh" look)
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The audience (and God) knows that the wrong baby was switched and that Adam is the Anti-Christ, but the plot rests on the fact that no one knows there’s been a mixup until only a few days before the apocalypse, and no one knows who is the Anti-Christ until just before it despite multiple characters trying to find him (and in Anathema’s case, actually meeting him).
    • While much is made of the "Great/Ineffable Plan" throughout the show by several characters— what it means and whether or not it's worth following— God makes clear to the audience from the beginning of episode one that she plays games with the universe and the plan likely doesn't exist.
      God: I play an ineffable game of my own devising. For everyone else, it's like playing poker in a pitch-dark room, for infinite stakes, with a dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Crowley, like in the book, drives like a maniac at ridiculous speeds in downtown London, swerving through traffic.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Adam notes that once he first came into his Antichrist powers he wasn't thinking clearly, being controlling of his friends and only snapping out of it once they told him to leave them alone and he wasn't their friend anymore.
  • Eating Optional: With the exception of Aziraphale and Crowley, neither angels nor demons eat or drink. When Gabriel finds Aziraphale in a sushi restaurant, Gabriel refuses to "sully [his] celestial body with gross matter" and is generally perplexed by Aziraphale's willingness to eat. One of Crowley's arguments that Aziraphale should work with him is that there are no restaurants in Heaven.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Crowley calmly asks a villager for directions while sitting in his Bentley which is on fire. The villager finds himself unable to comment on the fact that the car is on fire because it's so bizarre and obvious that Crowley must know already.
  • Enemy Mine: After Adam stops Armageddon, Gabriel and Beelzebub join forces to try to convince Adam to let them fight one another. The angels and demons later join forces to put Crowley and Aziraphale on trial for their defiance.
  • Everybody Lives: After Adam resets everything after Armageddon.
  • Evil Counterpart: The final episode shows the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to be this to Them. More specifically, Pepper is War's counterpart, Wensleydale is Famine's, and Brian is Pollution's.note  It's partly subverted with Adam, as while he's meant to correspond to Death, the latter is the Token Good Teammate of the Horsemen and isn't really evil.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: While Aziraphale's hairstyle has been more or less the same ever since he was first assigned to guard the Garden of Eden, Crowley goes through a lot of different hairstyles throughout the centuries.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Gabriel. Ostensibly on the side of good, but he's rooting for the apocalypse to happen. Most of his interactions with Aziraphale are full of an obviously false friendly veneer. He finally drops it at the end when trying to execute Aziraphale for treason.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: Downplayed. Although Hell and Heaven are portrayed as something of a Celestial Bureaucracy and male angels and female demons are shown, the factions are ostensibly led by Satan, a Big Red Devil voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, and God, the unseen narrator voiced by Frances McDormand.
  • Flaming Sword: Aziraphale was given one by God in order to guard the gate of the Garden of Eden, but he gave it to Adam and Eve before they left the Garden so they would be able to keep warm and defend themselves. There's a Running Gag where several other characters ask Aziraphale why he doesn't have it. It's later revealed that War's sword is the same flaming sword Aziraphale gave away, and he gets it back briefly for the final conflict with Satan himself, but in the end, he gives it to the Delivery Man along with the other Horsemen's items.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Episode 3 has a little arc about Crowley's attempts to procure holy water as "insurance." In episode 4, the holy water plays a major part in Crowley winning enough time to escape Hastur and Ligur.
    • Water doesn't tend to bode well for Crowley: he shelters from the first storm under Aziraphale's wing, he makes no secret of the fact that he considers the Great Flood an atrocity, and he gets knocked down by a water jet as the firefighters try to put out the fire at the bookshop. We learn in Episode 3 that holy water kills a demon Deader Than Dead — and in the final episode, Crowley is sentenced to death by immersion in holy water.
    • In his first appearance, Adam is acknowledged as the leader of the Them and inventor of the best games, and is shown climbing on to a structure that looks like a throne. When his Antichrist abilities kick in, these traits take a darker turn: he turns his friends into puppets, the world into his plaything, and rewrites reality to suit himself (before his friends manage to snap him out of it).
  • Forgiveness: Briefly discussed by Aziraphale and Crowley in the third episode. After Crowley rages against the Great Plan, Aziraphale uncomfortably mumbles that he hopes Crowley will be forgiven. This prompts a rant from the demon how that will never happen due to his very nature. Aziraphale tries to amends that by reminding him that Crowley used to be an angel once but he brushes it off.
  • Free-Range Children: No one in Tadfield seems to have any issue with the Them hanging out in the woods and spending most of the day on their own, save for Mr. Tyler of the Tadfield neighborhood watch. Anathema also doesn't think anything of inviting Adam inside for a snack, nor does he think anything of accepting (except for the rumors that she's a witch, but even that doesn't seem to bother him much). Justified as this is fairly common in small towns, and the Them are all about eleven, so they don't necessarily need to be supervised all the time.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Crowley is going through the pages of an astronomy book, trying to find a new home after Armageddon, one of the pages shows Gallifrey, even listing it by name.
    • A couple of shots show the door of Aziraphale's bookshop. Zoom in and you'll one of those placards is a rambling, complicated explanation of the shop's extremely limited hours (a reference to the book version, where Aziraphale actively discourages customers because he doesn't really want to sell any of his books).
    • When Aziraphale gives Crowley the holy water, there appear to be three small bullet holes in Crowley's window. These were mentioned in the book; they are actually James Bond bullet-hole-in-the-window transfers that Crowley mailed away for in 1967.
  • Friendly Enemies: To Aziraphale's shame, his best friend is a demon. Crowley, on the other hand, doesn't seem to mind.
  • Garden of Eden: Seen in the prologue (which shows the story of Adam and Eve), and used as a motif to book-end the story (as it ends with Adam stealing an apple from his neighbor).
  • Gender Flip: Pollution is nonbinary, referred to in the narration as "they", and played by a woman. God is also referred to as female, but she's just a voice.
  • Ghostapo: During a flashback to the Blitz, Aziraphale meets some Nazi spies wishing to buy books of prophecy off of him on behalf of Hitler referencing the real interest many Nazis had in the occult. One of them even mentions Hitler is interested in the Holy Grail and the Spear of Destiny if Aziraphale happens to run into them.
  • Glamor Failure: Aside from Death, who remains a cowled skeleton throughout, the Four Horsemen start out appearing as attractive humans, but become far more monstrous-looking as Armageddon draws closer. War's skin becomes redder and starts bleeding inexplicably, Famine becomes eerily thin and grows fangs, and Pollution becomes covered in black, oily splotches.
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: All of the angels and demons consider Lucifer Adam's father, and don't even consider his adopted family as a factor. Adam himself completely inverts this, Lucifer is nothing to him, and Mr. Young is and always will be his real dad.
  • Going Native: When word comes down that Armageddon is on the way, everyone is excited... except for Crowley and Aziraphale, who after six thousand years on Earth have grown fond of humanity (namely the things they come up with). The idea of no more "fascinating little restaurants and old book shops" actually causes them to work together to put a stop to it. The forces of Heaven and Hell even name-drop the trope when their attempts at executing the duo fail miserably.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Aziraphale has white wings, while Crowley has black wings. This is in contrast to the book, where it's mentioned that the only obvious difference between angels and demons is that demons are slightly better-groomed.
  • Grey and Black Morality: The war between Heaven and Hell at its best is presented as this.
  • Have You Seen My God?: Aziraphale looks for God's help in stopping the Apocalypse. But this is a world where God can not be found, despite the angel Metatron assuring Aziraphale that he passes along all messages. This leaves our heroes alone to stop the war between Heaven and Hell from destroying Earth.
  • Heaven Above: Heaven and Hell share an office building, but one takes the upward escalator to get to Heaven and the downward escalator to get to Hell.
  • Heaven Versus Hell: Armageddon is set up to be the ultimate battle between the forces of heaven and the forces of hell.
  • Hell-Fire: Hell has access to Hell-Fire, which burns tall and can destroy an angel if they are burned — not only destroying their bodies but annihilating their essence as well.
  • Hellish Pupils: Crowley has those, which he usually hides behind sunglasses (even in Ancient Rome). It's sort of implied that people who see him without glasses don't notice.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Holy water burns demons to ashes if they touch it. They also find consecrated ground (like churches) to be unbearable, but not lethal; Crowley hops around like he's walking on hot coals and describes the feeling as walking barefoot on a beach. Crowley uses holy water to kill Ligur. Later, the demons try to execute Crowley this way, to no effect—because Crowley and Aziraphale have temporarily switched bodies. Crowley-as-Aziraphale survives a Hellfire execution in Heaven at the same time as Aziraphale-as-Crowley survives a holy water execution in Hell. Both Heaven and Hell are left horrified and confused.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Newton "Newt" Pulsifer is a classic. He has nerd glasses, messy hair, is quite socially inept, and remains a virgin in his 20s (he'd never even kissed anyone prior to meeting Anathema).
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Though Crowley and Aziraphale aren't technically men in that both of them are supernatural beings who only have a sexuality "if they make an effort",note  it's even more blatant than in the book that they both love each other and are in love with each other.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Hastur likes pain, death, etc, but there's one thing that is too much for him and causes him to completely lose what there is of his cool: holy water, used on a fellow demon.
  • How's Your British Accent?: Crowley speaks with a generic English accent. When pretending to be a nanny, though, he adopts a Scottish accent. David Tennant is Scottish in real life. On the other hand, Crowley isn't really either, he's a demon who's been on Earth for 6000 years and just happens to live in London.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: After spending 6,000 years living among humanity, it's clear that both Aziraphale and Crowley are more like humans than heaven and hell would like.
  • Identical Grandson:
    • Thou-Shall-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer and his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson Newton Pulsifer are both played by Jack Whitehall.
    • Crowley pretends he's his own identical son to Shadwell, so he won't get suspicious of him not getting any older.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Dagon, the underling of the Lord of the Flies, is properly titled Lord of the Files.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Despite the miniseries being an Affectionate Parody of The Bible, Jesus Christ is portrayed as being a Nice Guy and "bright young lad" who died too young and just wanted to help encourage people to be less cruel to each other. Even Crowley (a Fallen Angel) liked him, and admitted that him showing Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world was meant to be a last kind gesture since "his travel options were limited".
  • Just as Planned: Heaven and Hell both feel that the Antichrist's birth and the ensuing destruction of the Earth are all part of the Great Plan. As Crowley realizes at the end, the Great Plan is not God's Ineffable Plan.
  • Kangaroo Court: After averting Armageddon, Crowley is put on trial. Beelzebub is judge, Hastur is prosecutor and accuser, and Dagon is back-up accuser if Hastur forgets anything; he doesn't get an advocate.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Downplayed with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. While the miniseries still manages to mine some Black Comedy in their appearances, they're overall presented as being legitimately terrifying in comparison to the other supernatural threats in the story, and the tone gets significantly more serious whenever any of them arrive on the scene.

    L to Z 
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: A difference in lighting is used to contrast heaven and hell, which are seemingly in the same building. Heaven is a brightly-lit, spacious white office building populated by sharp-dressed angels; hell is a dark and cramped office basement populated by shabbily-dressed demons.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Some of the demons have minor aspects of an animal they're associated with. Crowley has snake eyes, Ligur has a chameleon as part of his face and head, and Beelzebub has hair shaped like a fly's head with eyes.
  • Little Girls Kick Shins: War was asking for it.
  • Little Miss Badass: Pepper fearlessly defies both Adam (even when it becomes clear that he's got supernatural power) and then the Horseman (well, Horsewoman) of War to their faces, kicking the latter in the shin, then just wishing her away by advocating peace at Adam's urging.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Part of how Crowley convinces Aziraphale to help him avert Armageddon. While Aziraphale protests that he can't go against God's plan, Crowley points out that the Antichrist is Satan's kid, and therefore the whole thing is Hell's plan, and Aziraphale is supposed to thwart those, isn't he?
    • If Aziraphale uses a miracle to get paint off his clothes, it would be considered an abuse of his angelic powers. He has Crowley do it for him instead.
    • Adam is grounded so he is only allowed outside so he can watch over Dog playing in the garden. However, should Dog find a hole in the fence and run off, Adam would be required to run after him even if it meant leaving the garden. If Dog runs toward the circus setting up outside of town, then it is not Adam's fault.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Or rather, mistaken for having just broken up. After Crowley and Aziraphale fight about whether they should run away together in front of Aziraphale's bookshop, and Crowley dramatically storms off, a passing man tries to comfort Aziraphale by saying that he understands what it's like and "you're better off without him".
  • Modesty Bedsheet: After she has sex with Newt, Anathema carefully covers herself with the sheet this way.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Gabriel and Sandalphon pretend to be human customers in order to speak with Aziraphale at his bookshop. They do an altogether less-than-convincing job.
  • Mundane Utility: Crowley routinely uses his demonic powers to fix his car or clean his clothes. Aziraphale avoids doing so since he has been reprimanded by his superiors for using miracles frivolously.
  • My Grandson Myself: When Shadwell, who first met Crowley in the sixties, meets up with him in the present day, he asks how Crowley's father is doing and comments that he looks just like him. Crowley casually plays along.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Two other Neil Gaiman books appear. In the first episode, a drunken Crowley has a copy of The Sleeper and the Spindle in hand; then the guard at the US Air Force base is reading American Gods.
    • When returning to his book shop, Aziraphale notices that a set of the Just William books have appeared on prominent display. Good Omens famously started life as the idea "Just William as the Antichrist" with Adam basically being an Expy of William.
    • A literal Mythology Gag; one of Aziraphale's superiors is Uriel, who according to tradition was the actual angel with the flaming sword guarding the gates of Eden.
    • Crowley explains that the Antichrist has a psychic defense which causes all suspicions in peoples' minds about him to slide off like water from... something water slides off, which Crowley can't remember at the moment. A couple of minutes later he remembers it's "off a duck's back". The book somewhat notoriously mangled the expression by describing the effect as "slipped away like a duck off water", which nobody noticed before it made print. Doubles as a subtle Take That, Us.
    • When they're first introduced, The Them are seen with the items they use in the book to defeat the Horsemen. Pepper and Brian are swordfighting, and Pepper wins, brandishing her wooden sword afterward, while Brian is wearing a paper crown. A moment later, Wensleydale is standing next to an improvised set of scales.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Very nerdy Newton had yet to kiss a woman before meeting Anathema, let alone have sex, when he was in his 20s.
  • Not So Above It All: Gabriel chastises Aziraphale for eating sushi, which he considers disgusting grey matter humans consume that would corrupt the temple of his body. However, Gabriel also willingly puts on human clothes and admits that he does because he likes them.
  • Not So Different: Heaven and Hell. Not only is Heaven implied to not be all that great and Hell isn't all that terrible, but they're both shown to be full of Obstructive Celestial Bureaucrats more concerned with "winning" the Apocalypse than showing off how "good" or "evil" they are.
  • Number of the Beast: As Aziraphale is reading through Agnes Nutter's prophecies, he stumbles upon one that seems to indicate that the Number of the Beast is the way to contact the Antichrist. Reaching for his Bible, he reads Revelation 13:18note , and figures that it's worth a shot to dial the phone number with the Tadfield area code preceding it, at which point he gets Mr. Young.
  • Oblivious to Love: A platonic version (supposedly). When Aziraphale is able to contact Crowley after his discorporation, he asks Crowley if he's gone to Alpha Centauri yet. Crowley says no, because "I lost my best friend." Aziraphale awkwardly offers his condolences, not realizing Crowley was talking about him.
    • Or, alternatively, he knew but didn't know how to respond to the situation.
  • Odd Friendship: Aziraphale is an angel and Crowley is a demon, literally on opposite ends of the eternal conflict between Heaven and Hell. Yet they actually get along going all the way back from the days of Adam and Eve to the modern day, even if Aziraphale protests.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Crowley and Aziraphale have a big one when they realize that the Hell Hound did not show up because they have been monitoring the wrong boy and they have no idea where the Anti-Christ is.
    • Heaven and Hell both have one as they try to execute their respective traitor and both prove immune to their execution, and in fact, show themselves capable of wielding them towards their would-be executors. Aziraphale breathing hellfire towards Gabriel and his cronies, while Crowley splashes holy water towards the demons. Both groups decide to release their captive and just no longer bother with them.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Present in the teaser poster (with the blue around Crowley's car clashing with the red-orange of the apocalyptic destruction) and in the official poster (with the blue of Heaven contrasting with the orange of Hell).
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: Even moreso than the book, due to the format allowing for casting. The majority of roles from Heaven and Hell were gender-neutral auditions, leading to several Gender Flips and a few characters that don't even try to present as male or female.
  • Outdated Outfit: Anathema wears old-fashioned dresses that look almost Victorian. Meanwhile, Aziraphale's favorite coat is nearly 200 years old and he thinks "tartan is stylish".
  • Out of the Inferno: Crowley marches out of the flaming ruins of Aziraphale's bookshop (to the accompaniment of Queen's "Somebody to Love"). He later repeats this when he drives out of the firestorm on the M25.
  • Perma-Shave: Adam has a shaved head when he leaves Eden - despite razors not growing on trees.
  • Phony Psychic: Madame Tracy works as one of these, with all her "readings" being obvious fakery, at least until Aziraphale possesses her — then she actually channels a spirit.
  • Plausible Deniability: When Michael uncovers evidence that Aziraphale is much closer to Crowley than he's been letting on, she asks Gabriel for permission to investigate the matter further using "back channels." Gabriel placidly replies that there are no back channels, both smile, and Michael leaves to call her contacts in Hell — Ligur, in this case.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The entire mess starts because of a series of misunderstandings surrounding the delivery of the Antichrist. In order:
    1. Mr. Young mistakes Crowley for a doctor and directs him to room 3 to help with Deirdre, not realizing that another woman was also giving birth in the very next room (to say nothing of Crowley's actual purpose).
    2. Crowley, for his part, is too distracted by his task (and also not fully invested in Armageddon), and so passes on the room number and the Antichrist to Sister Mary, who had been left out of the planning process by the other nuns and therefore was out of the loop on the finer details of the switch.
    3. Sister Mary swaps the Antichrist for the Young baby, believing that the Youngs are really the Dowlings.
    4. When another nun enters the room and realizes the Antichrist is not where he needs to be, Mr. Young's presence forces them to eschew verbal communication in favor of winks, which Sister Mary interprets as a congratulations and a request for the surplus baby but is actually supposed to be an admonishment for wasting time and a request for the Antichrist.
    5. End result, the Youngs end up with the Antichrist, the Dowlings end up with the Young baby, and the Dowling baby gets sent off for adoption.
    6. Shortly after both sets of new parents leave, Hastur takes it upon himself to burn down the convent, destroying all the records and inadvertently preventing anyone from discovering the error until it's too late.
  • The Power of Friendship: When Adam comes into his full power, he terrifies his friends and even his dog with the way he can warp reality and control them. When he sees they don't want anything to do with him, he quickly gets his head on straight and begs them not to leave him.
  • Precision F-Strike: Happens three times.
    • Aziraphale goes to great lengths to never utter a swear, which makes his utterance of "oh fuck!" when he accidentally walks into his summoning circle a good indication of how dire his situation is.
    • Crowley gets the second one when he realises Satan himself is about to make an appearance at the Tadfield airbase.
      Crowley: This Satan himself. It isn't about Armageddon. This is personal. We are fucked.
    • Gabriel gives the third one when he admonishes Aziraphale.
      "Don't talk to me about the 'greater good', sunshine, I'm the Archangel fucking Gabriel."
  • Public Execution: Crowley's punishment for his crimes against Hell is execution via a bath of holy water while a horde of demons eagerly watches.
  • Punny Name:
    • Agnes Nutter's daughter is named "Virtue Device", which sounds like "Virtue d'Vice." Considering Agnes could accurately predict the future, this was probably deliberate.
    • The name Hastur chooses when with the American Ambassador is "Hastur La Vista."
  • Race Lift:
    • Pollution is a chalk-pale man in the book and played by a Filipina woman here.
    • Pepper, a freckled redhead in the book, is now black.
    • Anathema Device is still of British descent (she'd have to be since she's Agnes Nutter's descendant), but she's now American and played by a Puerto Rican actress.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: In the end, Crowley speculates that the "ineffable" plan is all about setting up the real final battle: humanity and its supporters against both heaven and hell.
  • Reality Warper:
    • Adam's power. He can make things become real, or unmake them.
    • To a lesser degree this is the ability of every angel and demon. Angels refer to it as "Miracles". Neither can perform the kind of wide-ranging changes Adam is capable of.
  • Running Gag:
    • Aziraphale is asked where he kept his Flaming Sword. He responds usually by deflecting the question, having given it away to Adam and Eve.
    • The use of Queen music is a nod to the book's repeated joke that any cassette tape left in a car for more than two weeks will turn into a "Best of Queen" album. Even the brass band in the final episode is playing a Queen song ("Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon" from A Night at the Opera).
    • Shadwell asking people how many nipples they've got (since having more than two is apparently a sign of being a witch).
  • Sequel Hook: Subverted. Anathema gets a package that contains The Further Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, complete with the tagline "ye saga continues" and burns them instead of following them due to her and Newt deciding to Screw Destiny. Played straight with the ending where Aziraphale and Crowley muse that the actual "big one" after the Apocalypse has been averted will be "their side" (Humanity and the Earth) against both Heaven and Hell.
  • Setting Update: The book was set around the late eighties/very early nineties (being published in 1990). The series clearly takes place in 2019, though Crowley still uses a cassette tape answering machine since he's fond of it (and also because the answering machine itself is too plot-important to be replaced by something more modern).
  • Shared Mass Hallucination: After the events of the show, the governments of the world pass them off as being this, even when said "hallucination" ate one's trade delegation.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Crowley slouches all the time. Like his odd way of walking, it might be a hint of his serpentine nature.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: An evil demon, Crowley, literally has snake eyes. Crowley can change into a serpent, and he was the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Pepper is a young version who denounces war and relationships as a violation of the feminist ideas she's learned from her mum. Anathema also has a little of this, though downplayed, when she lectures Adam about how GMOs and nuclear plants are evil.
  • Spotting the Thread: Crowley tries to convince Hastur that he has more holy water in his plant mister, but a single drop of water falls from the spout of the mister, touching Crowley's finger. Since Crowley does not die instantly, Hastur realizes he's bluffing.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: We are in England (for the most part) after all:
    • R.P Tyler embodies this spirit when he politely gives Crowley directions...despite Crowley sitting calmly in a car that is currently on fire. God makes it clear that Tyler has actually noticed this, and isn't saying exactly what he would like to say.
    • One interpretation of Aziraphale's "So sorry to hear it" when Crowley quietly tells him that he lost his best friend is that Aziraphale knows that Crowley means him, but he doesn't want to upset Crowley further (or make it awkward) by fully acknowledging it. The other interpretation is that Aziraphale is just that oblivious.
  • Straw Feminist: Pepper regards war as "masculine imperialism executed on a global stage" and dismisses Anathema as "another deluded victim of the patriarchy" after Anathema called Newton her boyfriend. Justified since she's a child who's just parroting whatever her mother said, who studied Sociology after a stint as a modern day hippie.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: The dialogue in the scene at the "Firebird" submarine is spoken in perfect Russian with authenthic accent and all the intonation quirks English speakers almost never get quite right.
  • Switched at Birth: The baby everyone thought was the Antichrist was actually accidentally switched at birth shortly after he was born. The actual Antichrist ended up with a perfectly normal couple in Tadfield, with everyone (save perhaps God) being none the wiser until it's almost too late.
  • Take That!:
    Sandalphon: Something smells...evil.
    Aziraphale: Oh, that'll be the Jeffrey Archer books, I'm afraid.
  • Take a Third Option: Adam, Aziraphale, and Crowley all end up doing this in the end. When it comes to the Great War between Heaven and Hell, they choose to fight for... humanity. Or, as Crowley puts it, "our side." In the last episode, Crowley speculates that the real final battle will ultimately be between humanity and its supporters, and the forces of Heaven and Hell working together.
  • Taking You with Me: Agnes Nutter knew she was about to be burned at the stake so she filled her skirt with gunpowder and roofing nails. The ensuing explosion killed her before she was burned alive and also killed the witchfinder who condemned her and her jealous, treacherous neighbors.
  • The Teaser: Every episode has a short scene before the opening credits, but Episode 3 takes it to an extreme, with the opening credits not showing up until fully half-way through the episode, after a montage of Aziraphale and Crowley's friendship over the centuries.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Pepper gives one to War at the airfield.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Young Newton and Young Anathema appear in a flashback to eleven years ago. Young Shadwell appears in a flashback to the sixties.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: A varient — Agnes Nutter directs her descendants in the 80's to invest in "Master Jobbes machine" for "an Apple that cannot be eaten". By the time Anathema is a child, she's living in a luxurious mansion on the beaches of Malibu.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The full trailer shows several scenes people who've read the book know come near the end, including Aziraphale's bookshop burning down and Adam almost giving in to his Antichrist self. Also the bit in the trailer where Aziraphale and Crowley toast "To the World" together that is the final actual scene of the series.
  • Uncertain Doom: The American ambassador's actual son is taken away by the nuns and the narration heavily implies he is going to be killed. However his actual fate is left unknown, unlike in the book, where it's shown that he was adopted out.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Many of the things Agnes's neighbors cite as proof she's a witch are helpful things she did, like healing them. Even the rest are neutral (making prophecies, taking up jogging, suggesting diets that are higher in fibre), not malicious.
    • Hastur, oh so very much. He burns down the convent where the Satanic nuns live after they swap the baby (albeit wrongly), devours a telemarketer and her colleagues in a sea of maggots after she frees him from Crowley's answering machine (though that could be considered a community service), and drops the court usher in the holy water to test it at Crowley's trial in hell.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: It's not quite clear how much normal humans can actually see in the series. Crowley wears sunglasses to hide his snake eyes, yet no-one seems concerned about Hastur's totally black eyes, so it's not clear if Crowley is maintaining a Masquerade, putting up a barrier (he's clearly shaken when Hastur removes his glasses in the car), or just thinks they look good. Likewise, no-one seems to notice his ranting about falling from Heaven before engaging in conversation with what appears to be a ghost. They certainly notice the flaming Bentley though.
  • Volleying Insults: A substantial amount of Crowley's and Aziraphale's interactions consists of this, with both declaring loudly how little they actually like the other and how evil/good/boring/petty/etc. the other is, only to then proceed to help each other out in various ways that prove the exact opposite. It drops noticeably as the series goes on, Armageddon keeps drawing nearer and the stakes continue to rise.
  • Wall Pin of Love: When Aziraphale tries to compliment Crowley by saying he's "quite a nice person", Crowley grabs him by the lapels and shoves him into the nearby wall to snarl that demons are not nice. Instead of being intimidated, Aziraphale simply stares at Crowley while he rambles, until they're interrupted by Mary Loquacious, who identifies them as having an "intimate moment".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The fate of the third, superfluous baby is never explicitly shown. While God provides two possibilities (either the nuns quietly disposed of him or had him discreetly adopted), a clear answer is never given. In the book, he was adopted, and after Armageddon ended Adam helped him out a little bit because he still remembered him from when they were babies.
    • We never see just where Aziraphale sent the soldier that tries to stop him, Crowley, Shadwell, and Madame Tracy from getting into the airbase. In the book, he gets a short epilogue scene where he wakes up in his childhood bed at the family farm back in the U.S.
    • The US Ambassador's son Warlock is never seen again after he fails to start Armageddeon.
  • Wing Shield: Aziraphale demonstrates his angelic niceness by using his wing to cover Crowley's head during a rainstorm outside the Garden of Eden. Crowley, who has perfectly functional wings of his own, does not return the favor.
  • The Witch Hunter: Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer was a witchfinder, while Shadwell tries to be one as well, recruiting Pulsifer's descendant Newton. However, only the original Pulsifer actually gets one (who's not even evil).
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: All of Agnes Nutter's prophecies are written in this.
  • You Have Failed Me: Crowley enforces this on his plants. Any plant that does not meet his standards is taken to the garbage disposal. This makes all the other plants terrified of him, and grow perfectly.

"To the world!"

Alternative Title(s): Good Omens

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report