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Series Review: Good Omens (Season 2)

Written by on August 29, 2023

Series Review: Good Omens (Season 2)

For those not already aware, Season 2 of Good Omens is now accessible on Amazon Prime. This 6-part series, which follows on from the generally applauded 1st one, continues the terrestrial exploits of characters originally created by the late great Terry Pratchett (Colour of Magic, Reaper Man) and the likewise highly-respected Neil Gaiman (Stardust. American Gods) – stemming from their best-selling fantasy/comedy novel published in the early 90s.

Pivotal to the show are the characters of Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), a well-meaning Earthbound angel, and Crowley (David Tennant), his long fallen from grace counterpart. Though these 2 are both supposed to be on opposing sides of a holy war that’s been dragging on for many millennia, it doesn’t quite work like that. Because of their many years living amongst humans, they have effectively ‘gone native’ – taking on our traits, habits, flaws and guilty pleasures. The upshot of all this is they are far more friends than the enemies they are meant to be. Of course, this brings them into plenty of trouble with their superiors.

If you didn’t catch the previous series, it’s worth explaining that the show’s version of Heaven is one that basically works like a multinational corporation, with tailored-suited executives running things – in particular Archangel Gabriel, played by Jon Hamm (of Mad Men fame) and Archangel Michael, played by Doon Mackichan (from Smack the Pony, The Day Today, etc.). As it transpires (though this is not really gone it until the last couple of episodes), there’s a full-on power struggle between them.

As with Season 1, these latest instalments are packed full of top-notch performing talent – including Derek Jacobi (I Claudius), Miranda Richardson (Blackadder), Liz Carr (Silent Witness), plus the boys from the League of Gentlemen too. Also, multi-Oscar winner Frances McDormand reprises her role as the voice of God (which you’ve got to say is a pretty good gig for any member of the acting profession). Though the always amazing Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, Line of Duty) has been swapped for a new incarnation of Beelzebub (Lord of Hell) – namely Bridgerton’s Shelley Conn – this works well. And it is the interaction between her and angelic equivalent Hamm that will eventually prove central to the plot (with them looking to prevent biblical-scale human annihilation, while simultaneously becoming romantically entwined).

There is no doubt that Season 2 is entertaining – most specifically because of the verbal interplay between Tennant and Sheen (which was at the core of the initial series’ success) – it still has a couple of underlying issues. Firstly, though the previous series could be a little bit twee in places, here it really has been turned up several more notches. Rather than having even a slight edge to it, there seems to a be a constant onslaught of fluffiness. Then there is the fact that Season 1 had a hugely popular book as its basis (something that Pratchett and Gaiman had spent considerable time working on). Now there’s only one of them involved on the creative side, and the whole thing feels a bit rushed and quite insubstantial too.

Also, starting a new story is problematic. How do you follow a plot where you were literally trying to save the world? By definition, anything after that is going to appear lightweight. To quote one of the main characters. “Armageddon, the sequel… that’s a nah.”

There’s little of any real purpose going on – and even what there is doesn’t always make a huge amount of sense. For instance, taking in the outcast Gabriel and protecting him is out of character from Aziraphale at best (especially given that Gabriel has shown him very little respect in the past) and for a demon like Crowley (all be it a fairly reformed one) is just ridiculous. Likewise, them trying to spark a love affair between characters Nina and Maggie just seems quite a long way below their pay grade.

With a lack of plot development in the first few episodes, it would be easy for viewers to question if it’s worth carrying on watching. Luckily the on-screen chemistry between Tennant and Sheen is enough to maintain the show’s appeal. Despite the disjointed storyline, the performances that they provide are literal bliss. The stage is now set for a 3rd series, with a subplot already heavily hinted at. Hopefully this will recapture the quality of the first – grabbing viewers’ attention with witty one-liners, a well thought-out narrative and better characterisation.

WIGWAM FliX Rating 3.6
Reviewer: Claudia Cano & Mike Green (August 2023)

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