Good Omens is everything I wanted out of an adaption of my favorite book, and so SO much more. Please board the Good Ship Crowley/Aziraphale and ride the waves of queer subtext to Armageddon with me!
A few days ago I wrote an article titled ‘7 Reasons You Should Watch and/or Read Good Omens.’ I was making the recommendation for the show without watching a single episode, but my love for the book is so damn strong I didn’t feel I needed to see it to know I would enjoy it. The trailers themselves showed me that everything I loved about the books had been carried over faithfully, and other early reviews indicated that much of what I loved was amplified (talkin’ bout that queer subtext, y’all). I felt fairly confident trying to drag people towards this botched apocalypse preemptively, assured it would deliver based on the very little show canon content at my disposal.
I expected the article to convert a few of my friends and maybe, if I was lucky, draw some new blood into a fandom so I could selfishly have more fanworks to enjoy. But somehow Neil Gaiman saw the piece.
Lord Satan knows how that happened, but my fandom lingo-heavy bit of glee somehow got put in front of him and this happened…
Posted without comment but with amusement… https://t.co/0x8Y5wvq4n
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) May 23, 2019
Words can’t express how honored I am that someone who co-created my favorite book of all time was ‘amused’ by something I wrote about it. It feels like I was able to give him back a small amount of entertainment as a thank you for all the entertainment I’ve derived from his creation and the fandom it inspired. More importantly, I’m glad he knows about this wacky weird little fandom that’s been kicking around for decades, even if our ways of expressing it are a bit outside the ordinary. But really, the book itself is outside the ordinary, so it shouldn’t be surprising that unusual expressions of love are amusing to the creator.
So shippers, fan artists, fanfic writers, cosplayers, meta analyzers, and all you other fun fandom folk: this show is for you! We seemingly have the creator’s blessing to keep enthusiastically playing in his sandbox, so let’s keep playing.
I’ve been in the Good Omens fandom since about 2012 and following every production tidbit along the way, so it’s hard for me to express how much I adore this adaption without sounding completely hyperbolic. It was always going to be one extreme or the other, I suppose. Nothing about my feelings for Good Omens is casual in any way, shape, or form. I’m an intense fandom fiend so I was either going to be over the moon with joy or frothing at the mouth at how terrible it is. Thankfully, I got the good option. It was so good I had to skip backwards during several scenes just to see the pages play out on the screen again and again and again. Thank Heaven- thank Hell…. thank someone. It’s perfect.
Ah, there I go again sounding all hyperbolic, but I just can’t help it guys. That IS Crowley. That IS Aziraphale. And that IS the flaming Bently hauling ass through the English countryside. Stick with my firmly-worded glee here, because it deserves it.
The show somehow managed to keep things that I didn’t think could translate to the screen, like Crowley’s description as an angel that didn’t fall, but “sauntered vaguely downwards.” Even DEATH and his all capslock glory somehow translated over well and I really wasn’t sure how that would be achieved. Everything that needed to carry over to keep the quirky vibe of the book did so. And, like I said, much of the quirkiness that drew me to the story was turned up a few notches. We somehow got more. The additional material keeps the same vibe, so it flows seamlessly into the narrative. I happily accept these new bits as canon and look forward to what type of fanworks will get churned out as people reach the end.
The two bits that are inspiring me to jump back into the Good Omens fanfiction pool are Crowley/Aziraphale centric, which shouldn’t surprise you. First, there’s that amazing 30 minute trip through Crowley and Aziraphale’s past. Then there’s the very end, which has a stronger feeling of finality that I got from the book. The relationship between Crowley and Aziraphale is so much longer and so much deeper than six hours can possibly explore. And I definitely, absolutely, undeniably want to explore it. Whether it’s a flash to the past as their relationship is developing, or a look at what the pair’s life is like after the Apocalypse-That-Wasn’t, there’s room to create and imagine more. So fandom, let’s get to it. We’ve got shipping to do.
Beyond the brilliance of Crowley and Aziraphale coming to life on screen (and I honestly could spill another couple thousand words on that alone (and I probably will over on Twitter)), I also want to take a moment to appreciate the details that went into so many other plot threads. Especially the ‘Them’ (Adam, Pepper, Brian, and Wensleydale). And especially especially Pepper. This group of child actors were perfect for their respective parts and I thank Heaven, Hell, and everyone else involved that they got cast. Before I got to watch the show myself I read one review that said their scenes dragged because it was “too faithful” to the books. Well, that’s bonkers to me. Those scenes didn’t drag. In some weird way, I found them even more enjoyable than the books. I’m going to give the credit for that to those kids’ charisma. Ammas Ris, who plays Pepper, could probably carry a show all on her own.
Anathema Device and Newton Pulsifer were also beyond entertaining. Again, they were somehow more entertaining that the book for me, which is impressive, because again, it’s my favorite book guys. Nothing about the book actually bored me. The show was just a bit more intriguing with these plot threads, largely thanks to the actors. Anathema and Newton’s story on the show also ends with a bit more finality than I got from the book, and for those who want to ship them to the end of the earth like I ship Aziraphale/Crowley, you have your work cut out for you as well. There’s life beyond the Apoca-Didn’t, and they’re ready to live it to the fullest. And we’ve been given a lovely launch point to create transformative works of our own.
Good Omens ends with a perfect lunch date at the Ritz, complete with romantic music buzzing in the background and champagne glasses clinking together as our angel and demon duo cheer ‘to the world.’ My heart soared with happiness and, yeah, I cried a bit. I would be embarrassed at how much I physically emoted over the ending, but I’ve long since embraced that sometimes over the top fangirlish glee just randomly takes over without my consent. This was definitely one of those times.
Is this what it feels like to be satisfied with an adaption? Is this what it feels like to have literally no complaints about a piece of media? It’s almost a foreign feeling to me as I can be kind of a harsh critic of even the stuff I love the most (looking at you, Game of Thrones), but somehow I made it through the end and can’t find a thing that bothered me. And I would probably have been one of the harshest critics had a single thing gone awry. I don’t shy away from taking the properties I love to task when I feel they did the fandom dirty. This deserves every bit of praise that it’s getting.
I hope to see a bunch of you guys kicking around fandom spaces soon. If you’ve been debating whether Good Omens is worth six hours of your time, it absolutely is… and hopefully I convinced you that it’s worth even more than that. It’s worth reading the book, and then producing content as well. Come! Join us! We’re excited to have you!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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