Book vs. TV Show: Good Omens

Hello, dear readers!
You have no idea how I excited I got when I had first heard about Good Omens. David Tennant? Michael Sheen? Demon and Angel? Apocalypse? Neil Gaiman? YES PLEASE!
This time, I got a little swept away and watch the entire show twice before finally picking up the book. Let’s take a closer look at both!

The Plot:

The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley haven been friends since – well – the beginning of time. When the apocalypse looms ahead they try to prevent the end of the world. Unfortunately, they aren’t the brightest candles on the cake…

Book vs. TV Show:

As usual, I’ll kick off with my thoughts on the novel. Written by legends Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, there was no way this could not turn out well.
My expectations were pretty high but the book fulfilled almost all of them.
I didn’t love it quite as much as I had expected but was certainly a good read. The idea behind the story is brilliant and hilarious. The execution in terms of Azira and Crowley is almost perfect as well. I’m not too sure about some of the other characters like Newt and Anathema, but I’m willing to ignore that.
All in all the book was a lot of fun and contained some interesting bits of information, but I’m don’t think I’d read it a second time.

So, how did the show hold up in comparison?
I may be a little biased here as I am a huge David Tennant fan, but the show is seriously amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, the show is not flawless but for everything that is off, you get at least five hilarious scenes to compensate.
Generally speaking, the show sticks very closely to the novel. There are a few minor changes to update the story as it is set in 2018 whereas the book was published in 1990.

To be honest, I consider all the deviations made from the original material to be improvements. Although I liked the book, I loved the show.
First of all, the casting was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing Azira and Crowley other than Michael Sheen and David Tennant.
But it’s not just the big stuff that makes this show so unique. Many of the details that stem from the book and certainly from working closely with Neil Gaiman are extraordinary. So extraordinary in fact, that many people lost their shit over the show and petitioned for it to be banned.
God is a woman. Adam and Eve are black. Demons look like they just crawled out of hell and not like some glorified pin-up model in a cheap Halloween costume. Angels and demon are to a large extent not even assigned a gender or are genderfluid (see Crowley as a female nanny for example). Although those things don’t seem all that special, you’ll notice how different the show feels because of them!

My favorite scenes are definitely those where we learned about Azira’s and Crowley’s friendship throughout the centuries. Historical moments were incorporated and it’s both perfect and hilarious.

By the way, almost the entire soundtrack consists of Queen songs. Why? Every CD or cassette or whatever bit of music you leave in Crowley’s car will turn into Queen after some time. Deal with it.

Before concluding this post I’d like to shed some light on the other great characters we get in this show. John Hamm plays the angel Michael, Aziraphale’s boss. He is one of the additions that were not present in the book and I love it (especially the scene in the Azira’s bookshop).
We have some adorable children, including one girl who will grow up to be a super tough feminist. She’s already brilliant in the show and her comments made me chuckle so much.
We have Witchfinder Sargeant Shadwell who sports a rather unique (and somewhat) Scottish accent. It’s far more hilarious to hear that on the show than to simply read his lines in the book.
I’m still not sure about Anathema and Newt but I like the show versions of the characters better than the original ones.

Although the book Good Omens is a classic and you will have a splendid time reading it, the show is even better. It’s not perfect and comes with several flaws, but the overall product is so brilliant that I will gladly overlook those!

Did you prefer the book or the series? Let me know in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Book vs. TV Show: Good Omens

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