Good Omens

Good Omens” is on Amazon Prime, a six episode/five and half hour exercise, revolving around an Angel “Aziraphale” (Michael Sheen) and Demon “Crowley” (David Tennant) who work together in order to stop the oncoming Armageddon. Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, the battle between the forces of good and evil is triggered by the birth of the “Antichrist” who is significantly named ‘Adam’. The antichrist child has gone missing and they have 11 days to find it.

The series starts off with the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden; the snake which caused all this happens to be Crowley himself. There is a constant mention of Crowley being a fallen angel, but maybe he’s not all that bad. Crowley explains: “I didn’t mean to fall; I just hung around the wrong people” and “sauntered vaguely downward.” and therefore that could explain his inclination towards stopping the deadly battle.

God is apparently unreachable even to the angels, who are proceeding according to what they think is the great divine plan. But one has his doubts. Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) is prim, proper and worried that the great plan his angelic superiors are following is not quite right. However the heavenly bureaucracy is in the way of his getting any direct divine guidance or reassurance, and so he tries his best to stop the Apocalypse, hoping that what he does is in accord with God’s ineffable plan.

An interesting aspect of this show is the way in which the good angel and the fallen angel have been presented. We see that the demon is not entirely evil but actually has a good sense of morality, while on the other hand the good angel shows certain signs of bad behaviour. Not to mention, the angel is presented as ‘gay’. The fluidity of good and evil between the two angels touches upon the very thin line that exists between good and evil in today’s world, or the fact that not everything is black or white. Good and evil can both co-exist in a person, and the problem boils down to choice. These two protagonists represent the two extremities ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’, and yet we see them constantly trying to meet at the center. Although they share opposing views, they work together to prevent the end of the human race. The bond of friendship and brotherhood between the two is something to watch out for.

The title specifically means a ‘good event’ which shifts our mind to expect something good to happen. In the series, a lot of visual creativity is used which makes it a great watch. There are lots of biblical references that are employed in creating a visual scenario of heaven, hell, the Garden of Eden and other prominent places. The costumes and makeup also go a long way in giving us a peek into the two angels’ personalities and world-views. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are War, Famine, Death, and … Pollution. Evidently, we needn’t worry any more about Pestilence.

Obviously, this show is not to be taken in any way to be a faithful representation of a Catholic understanding of heaven and hell, angels and demons or for that matter God Himself. The show has caused considerable heartburn among Christian groups. In the US, more than 20,000 Christians signed a petition calling for Amazon Prime to take down the show. The petition says that Good Omens is “another step to make satanism appear normal, light and acceptable”, and “mocks God’s wisdom”. God, they complain, is “voiced by a woman” – Frances McDormand – the antichrist is a “normal kid” and, most importantly, “this type of video makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil, and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for the devil”.

The good point about the show is its wit and humour. If you want to watch it, then do so only for the entertainment. This show is not a lesson on the catholic understanding of the end times. If you do have questions after watching this show, consult catholic sources online, or better yet, have a conversation with your priest.

Diana Paul