‘Good Omens’ Preview: Michael Sheen, David Tennant & Jon Hamm Tease Their Characters
The end may be nigh, but at least we’re going out with a laugh. In Prime Video’s miniseries adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s satirical 1990 cult novel — tongue-trippingly titled Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch — emissaries from Heaven and Hell must collude to prevent Armageddon, if only to maintain their own comfy status quo on Earth.
Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex), who stars as uptight angel and bookshop owner Aziraphale opposite Doctor Who vet David Tennant‘s sly, Bentley-driving demon Crowley, explains, “They’re trying to stop the mayhem and avert all the bad stuff [from] happening.” After all, Aziraphale and Crowley have lived among mankind for thousands of years and are particularly keen on the 21st century. “They like the restaurants and the wine, and it’s very important to them that [their lives on Earth] can continue,” Sheen adds.
In addition to their creature comforts, the eternal acquaintances are also fond of each other…mostly. “There’s a special bond between them because no one else knows what it’s like to be on Earth as supernatural beings,” says Tennant. “Even if they’re supposed to be working for different teams, they just start to knock the edges off each other.”
The celestial frenemies will face a plague of problems, primarily a misplaced Antichrist, whom Aziraphale and Crowley had planned to monitor from birth. (They watched the wrong kid grow up.) Now, the duo must locate the true Antichrist (Sam Taylor Buck) and halt the Divine Plan from being executed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
But first, they’ll face some interference from upper management. Jon Hamm (Mad Men), making his return to series TV, has booked a gig even cushier than Don Draper’s: God’s second-in-command, the Archangel Gabriel, a role that was expanded from the book. “He desperately wants to get this [Armageddon] process started because he knows with absolute certainty that his side will win,” says the Emmy winner, noting with a laugh that his character is “that superannoying boss who is so convinced of his rectitude but is so deeply, deeply wrong.”
Also along for the bumpy ride: Better Call Saul‘s Michael McKean as Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell; comic Jack Whitehall as his lone soldier, Newt Pulsifer; Adria Arjona as Anathema Device, a descendant of the prophetic 17th-century witch in the book’s title; and Harry Potter‘s Miranda Richardson, who teases that her part-time psychic, Madame Tracy, may have more going on than she lets on. “We discover she has a true talent for being in touch with the other side.”
Longtime fans of the book have been waiting for an onscreen version ever since a 2002 feature effort, with Robin Williams and Johnny Depp in talks to star, hit funding troubles. After Pratchett’s death in 2015, Gaiman received a letter from his late coauthor, asking him to spearhead the adaptation solo. So, he got to work. “It felt like Terry and Neil were there together,” says Douglas Mackinnon, who directed all six episodes.
For Gaiman, his first time overseeing an entire production “was an education and a delight.” (He also wrote each script.) “We had a cast of over 240 speaking parts, and the people who were in it have been coming to us and saying, ‘This is the best thing I was ever in,'” he notes. “It’s glorious to be a part of something I can be so proud of. On that front, we know we did something right.’ And hey, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they didn’t. Or would it?
With additional reporting by Emily Aslanian.
Good Omens, Premiere TBA, Prime Video