The television adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman‘s 1990 novel Good Omens is finally moving forward over at Amazon and the BBC (with Gaiman acting as showrunner), and they have already cast the leads in the six-part limited miniseries. David Tennant (Jessica Jones, Doctor Who) and Michael Sheen (Passengers, Masters of Sex) will portray lead characters Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and angel who act as representatives of Hell and Heaven on Earth. Due to their lengthy stay and interaction among humans, they have come to grow quite fond of them and their culture, thus deciding to team up to delay the coming Apocalypse by interfering with the rearing of the Antichrist, who is being raised and groomed by a Satanic cult to destroy the world. However, unbeknownst to everyone, the child being raised as the Son of Satan is not the true Antichrist. A hospital mix-up resulted in the true Antichrist, a child named Adam Young, being swapped with the false one, resulting in him growing up with relatively good and normal parents. Additionally, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been summoned to Earth to assist in ushering in the end of the world. Hijinks, as they say, ensue in full force.
There’s been no statement yet from Tennant, but Sheen had this to say in his official statement:
“I first read Good Omens as a teenager and it’s been one of my favourite stories ever since. To be part of the team entrusted with bringing it alive on screen is a bit of a dream come true to be honest. To work alongside Neil, who I think is one of the greatest storytellers of all time, is incredibly exciting. And, just like the rest of the world, I’m a huge fan of David’s so I relish trying to save it with him.”
The road to adapting this novel has been a long and arduous one. Originally, Terry Gilliam (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Twelve Monkeys) was tapped to direct a feature film version back in the late 90s/early 2000s with Johnny Depp originally cast as Crowley and Robin Williams as Aziraphale. The project struggled to secure funding even in the midst of other successful Gaiman adaptations such as Stardust, Beowulf and Coraline. In 2012, Terry’s daughter Rihanna formed a new production company with the goal of producing a TV film based on the novel, despite the fact that year prior, rumors began circulating that Monty Python member Terry Jones was in-talks to script a Good Omens TV series along with Gavin Scott (Absolutely Anything, The Mists of Avalon). Jones was later confirmed as the writer but neither of these attempts resulted in anything. Terry Pratchett passed away in 2015 and the following year, Gaiman announced that as the result of a posthumous request from Pratchett, he was scripting the proposed series himself. In January 2017, Amazon officially greenlit the project as a coproduction with the BBC and Rihanna’s company, Narrativia.
Gaiman has had further success with recent adaptations of his work such as American Gods on Starz and Lucifer on Fox, so it’s a relief that this series is finally getting made. Watching Sheen and Tennant play off each other is going to be quite a treat. The series will tentatively premiere at some point in 2018, so check back here for more news and updates.