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Reviews Series / Good Omens 2019

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07/24/2019 03:40:11 •••

Old Hat

It's the end of the World as we know it, and Aziraphale and Crowley, representatives of Heaven and Hell, aren't pleased. They've had a cosy 6000 years lounging around on Earth and don't want to see the Doomsday take it all away. It is up to them to track down and stop the Anti-Christ, who due to a mix up, is living in a picturesque Oxfordshire village and has no idea of his own Satanic lineage.

My initial feeling on watching the Amazon series Good Omens is that I'd already seen this. A lot of the conceits of the show are familiar to anyone who saw the 1999 film Dogma, which is unfortunate because a lot of the humour and appeal of Omens seems to rest on the novelty of the situation. Another point of similarity is that Dogma presents bible figures as black and God as female. Its funny to see that people are still bothered about this sort of thing, even 20 years later.

Terry Pratchett's stuff is hit and miss in translation. I enjoyed The Hogfather and Going Postal, but The Colour of Magic was a major misstep, taking one of his worst aged and weakest novels and keeping all the same jokes: "I've got a wizard, and I'm not afraid to use him!" - Puh. I'm reminded of that at some points in Omens, such as when Crowley starts threatening a Demon with a "do you feel lucky?" routine and a spray bottle of Holy water. Really, a Dirty Harry bit? Some things don't stay fresh after 30 years, but some things do. For instance, I will always be charmed by Pratchett's insistence on giving his characters silly names, and Omens gives us the likes of "Anathema Device" and "Newton Pulsifer". Also, the role the M25 road plays in the story is comedy gold.

It's shame I didn't enjoy the show more, because its not like this was an unloved or underfunded production. This had a star studded (at least by tv standards) cast. They're serviceable enough, except for David Tennant (I'm sorry but I'm never convinced by him; he doesn't play characters, he plays an actor who plays characters). I think I would have liked Good Omens more if it came out decades ago. At six episodes, its not a major investment of your time to try out, but there are plenty of better magical realism and urban fantasy shows that have been out over the last few years and are streets ahead.

07/23/2019 00:00:00

Kevin Smith's dead-eyed, deadpanned, protagonist worked for his Clerk series and not much else. I honestly felt too much of that film was dependent on spectacle,(God is a woman, Jesus is black, angels don't have dicks) than on a well-written plot. The Hollywood Atheist protagonist, Bethany more or less sleepwalks through the film and the story really doesn't provide an appropriate explanation as to why the One Man Army angels repeatedly lose to Silent Bob, who is played by Kevin Smith. The movie is incredibly confused about its comedy and often tries to perform it with a series of awkward coughs in contrast to the much more confidently spoken, oblivious paradoxes of Good Omens. Too many times Dogma tried to show scenes that that were both supposed to make me cry and laugh at the same time, and the result was an awkward mess that did not make me feel either emotion. You say that David Tenant brought down Good Omens with his acting (which I disagree), in contrast I felt that Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Alan Rickman were the only good performances in Dogma where everyone else came off as bored or as hammy stereotypes.

My own negative opinion about Dogma aside, if you are concerned about copyright infringement, the book, Good Omens, predates Dogma by nine years. I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin Smith borrowed some ideas from the book, as it was a bestseller. Good Omens is much less bleak in its writing and doesn't anchor the viewers to a single character the way Dogma does. The interactions of Good Omens make the film, as even the Antichrist character finds connections with other characters in the show. If Dogma is a few strings connected together, Good Omens is a complex web, which is what makes it the better live-action program.

07/24/2019 00:00:00

I wasn\'t going to talk about whether Dogma was any good in and of itself, I was simply talking about the Seinfeld is Unfunny situation it creates. More recently we\'ve had shows of varying quality, Lucifer, Preacher, Constantine, etc. covering the same sort of ground.


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