Good Omens Season 2 TV Series Review
GOOD OMENS SEASON 2 TV Series Review
By Celia Neri
Please note that this review contains spoilers for the novel Good Omens and the first season of the show.
I started watching Good Omens season 2 on Amazon Prime with some trepidation. The first season, after all, retrod the book I had read and loved for decades, but from now on, it’s terra incognita. Let’s face it, those six episodes into the unknown were a mixed bag.
The world didn’t end; the Anti-Christ is busy being a kid somewhere, and the new opus of the Nice and Accurate Prophecies is burnt. It seems like a happy ending for Aziraphale and Crowley. Furthermore, they are now pariahs—Heaven and Hell leave them alone but watch them with suspicion. Or, in the case of Crowley, show up in his car where he now lives with his terrorised plants. But everything changes when a naked man arrives at Aziraphale’s bookshop with no memory of who he is. Both Aziraphale and Crowley recognise him instantly, though. He’s the Archangel Gabriel, and Heaven and Hell would love nothing more than to find him.
Over the course of the six episodes, Aziraphale and Crowley will need to keep Gabriel hidden from both forces and understand the reason for his amnesia. This very straightforward plot meanders. First, Aziraphale lies to Heaven and, as a result, must make sure that a record seller and a café owner on the street where he lives fall in love, but also because three mini-stories are inserted within three episodes.
Each of these ‘minisodes’ explores the past relationship of Aziraphale and Crowley—more or less successfully. The first one offers Michael Sheen a moment to shine magnificently when a tearful Aziraphale thinks he has become a demon because he has lied to Heaven for the first time. The other two may feel more like a pretext for antics with little relevance to the plot or to the characters’ development. Fans of David Tennant will nonetheless be delighted by a drunken Crowley speaking with every possible Scottish accent.
In the end, this season is very much about romantic love. There’s, of course, the romance between Maggie and Nina that Aziraphale and Crowley try to engineer, using every trick—or rather trope—in their books. There’s also the relationship between the angel and the demon. The first season departed from the novel by hinting at the possibility of a romance between them both—a romance they are completely oblivious to. The second season builds up on this. It’s a pity that we may lose one of the extremely rare representations of positive male friendship in fantasy, but Michael Sheen and David Tennant are perfect in the most poignant moment of the season during the last episode.
The new season offers us delightful new or recurring characters. Nina Sosyana, the café owner, and Maggie Service, the record seller, give great depth to secondary characters who might have been clichés. Muriel, played by Quelin Sepulveda, is the perfect cute and naive angel for Crowley to manipulate. Jon Hamm as Gabriel and Shelley Conn as Beelzebub offer a masterful performance of an evolving relationship in four short scenes. Finally, Derek Jacobi gives his character all the strength and ambiguity it requires.
Of course, the main stars are David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Sheen plays, as always, with nuance and subtlety, his face and voice wonderfully expressive of what he doesn’t say. Tennant uses his body remarkably to convey Crowley’s moods and feelings—whether for a swagger or an intense rush towards someone.
Because the plot relies heavily on what happened before between the characters, the second season of Good Omens won’t be a suitable entry point for someone who hasn’t read the book or watched the first series.
Sadly, the pacing can sometimes feel off. The minisodes don’t really allow the main plot to progress, and as a result, the last two episodes are a high rush—very enjoyable, but one might regret that the tension didn’t appear sooner. Overall, this season very much feels like a stepping stone—one that was padded a bit indulgently.
Some fans may be disappointed that the Bentley only plays one Queen song and then betrays us by broadcasting other musicians, but the band’s compositions remain an integral part of the show as string sextet versions in the background, including one of Radio Gaga.
The second season doesn’t forget Sir Terry Pratchett. His portrait is hanging in Aziraphale’s bookshop, and there’s also his hat. Gabriel reads the opening line of Good Omens, a seamstress is invited to Aziraphale’s party, and Crowley gets drunk on laudanum bottled by C.M.O.T. Dibbler. Gags abound for those who will miss the discreet Pratchettian nods, from a reference to Iain Banks to tartan mountains in the background and the extraordinary secret life of Jane Austen.
There’s a lot to love in the second season of Good Omens. There’s also a fair amount of ‘meh’. It is, in today’s speak, very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation. What’s certain is that the writers, crew, and cast are taking us into new territories with great gusto.