San Diego Comic Con always delivers intriguing trailers, and this is one guaranteed to grab the attention of longtime fans of Aziraphale and Crowley. In fact, the filming of this modern classic by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (published in 1990) has been awaited with mixed hope and trepidation for years. The fact that Gaiman himself is deeply involved with the production, to be aired on Amazon Prime as a six episode mini-series this coming Autumn, is reassuring; Gaiman is on record as saying that his care and involvement are by way of fulfilling a promise to the late Terry Pratchett.
For those unfamiliar with the novel — to give it its full original title, “Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” — it’s a version of the End Times of the Book of Revelations which could only be possible through a partnership of the authors of Discworld and American Gods. It is by turns funny and thought-provoking. The basic set-up is that the angel set to guard the gates of Eden, Aziraphale, and the original demonic snake, Crawly (he changed his name), have been stationed on Earth by Heaven and Hell (respectively) since the beginning. They have formed a sort of loose alliance, such as can happen when remotely placed enemy agents come to realize they have more in common with each other than with their remote superiors. They like Earth. They like books and fine wine and cars and human variety. And they’ve just been told the Antichrist is about to enter the world. The coming Apocalypse will precipitate the end of Earth and everything they’ve come to enjoy. What to do, what to do?
Director Douglas Mackinnon has directed for both the Cumberbatch-Freeman Sherlock series, and for Doctor Who. Leading the cast are two recognizable faces. David Tennant (Doctor Who) is Crowley, a demon who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards, who loves scalding-hot showers and driving his Bentley far too fast. As his opposite number, Aziraphale, we have Michael Sheen (of the Twilight and Underworld franchises), an angel who owns an old book store, and who has become a little plump through enjoyment of human foods over the millennia. It seems appropriate to the twisted nature of the project that the very “English” demon and angel are being played by a Scot and a Welshman. The series also includes child actors Sam Taylor Buck as Adam Young (Antichrist) and Ilan Galkoff as his best friend, Brian. Newcomer Sam Taylor Buck will be seen this year in two productions now in post, ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan‘ and ‘Medici: the Magnificent’. Ilan Galkoff has appearances in five tv series to his credit, and has been acting since the age of eight, when he performed on stage as Nipper in Cameron Mackintosh’s ‘Oliver! The Musical‘ UK Tour.
Other unexpected delights are Sir Derek Jacobi (Cadfael) as the Metatron; Mark Gatiss (Mycroft) as Harmony; Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter) as Madam Tracy. Series music is composed by David Arnold (Stargate and Sherlock, among others). (For the full cast and crew, check here.)