SPOILERS Discussion of Good Omens, the series

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Tonyblack

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I'm posting this without reading the previous comments, so forgive me if I'm repeating what others have said. I got the two DVD set the other day - it came with some postcard sized photos of the show. Generally speaking, I enjoyed the series a lot. I thought Sheen and Tennant we perfectly cast is what were obviously the main roles.

How come they had Bill Patterson available but didn't use him as Shadwell? The guy who did play the part, reminded me of the teacher from Pink Floyd's The Wall, but he seemed to struggle with his Scots accent.

It was a joy to see Derek Jacobi, I did miss the alternative Bikers. Newt and Anathema were perfectly cast.

I felt that the series was generally very close to the book. They managed to keep the story on track despite being set now rather than when the book set it.

Miranda Richardson (who I love) was wonderful as Madam Tracy.

The kids were fine - I'm glad they played a lesser role in the series.

All in all, I was impressed
 

=Tamar

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May 20, 2012
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I have read online that they had to compromise on Shadwell's accent. In the Novel, it is said to vary, seeming to come from all over the UK. In the Series, that didn't work when they tested it so they went with a generic, no-particular-place Scots-ish accent.

Glad to hear you liked it!
 

=Tamar

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I don't belong to either Twitter or Tumblr. But I do read some of them.
Someone on Tumblr asked whether there were blueprints (drawings, etc) available that showed the floor plan of Aziraphale's bookshop and Crowley's flat. I don't think there are any official ones. I haven't seen one of the flat (it's mainly in a straight line, except for the kitchen, bath, and bedroom which seem to be off to the side). However, I have seen a fan recreation of the bookshop, retweeted. It was done on CAD, and I don't know how accurate it is. The artist credit is [Korean] @lota_cro_6, from September 21, 2019
and I found it on twitter, retweeted by Eggcat, whom I believe is also Korean.
 
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=Tamar

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Today's sudden realization: In the Sushi scene, Aziraphale seems to feel a presence and smiling, he looks to his left, where there is nothing but a mirror, not a door. Then he sees in the mirror that it's Gabriel, and is unhappy. Ordinarily, the person to his left is Crowley, and he presumably was expecting to see Crowley.
That means that there is no significant difference in feeling-the-presence between Crowley and Gabriel.
 

Tonyblack

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Anathema, I thought, had an almost indistinguishable accent - as did her mother. I didn't get "American" from it. It makes a degree of sense that the family may have become wealthy due to Agnes's prophecies. I loved Josie Lawrence as Agnes. I think that Terry would have been pleased with the series. So much of it was kept as per the book and the added bits were very well done.

One of the things I have felt, reading the book recently, is that it feels dated. The world has moved on somewhat since it was written. The TV series managed to bring it up to date without losing the general feel.
 

=Tamar

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A possible annotation? I was never into popular music much from 1973 to, well, recently, so this may be old news, but:

"Comfortably Numb". the first words of the song:
"Hello, is there anybody in there?"
--Pink Floyd, The Wall

Is this an annotation for Good Omens, when Aziraphale tries to contact Heaven?
In the series at least, Aziraphale says, "Hello, this is the Principality Aziraphale. Is anybody there?"
(Which to me is a huge jab in itself.)

ETA just to clarify, I meant that I stopped listening to popular music in 1973, not that The Wall was released then.
 
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Tonyblack

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The Wall was considerably later than 1973. It came out in 1982. As Good Omens came out in 1990, then it could well be the case. I can't speak for Neil, but Terry was more into Thomas Tallis than Floyd (I think).
 

=Tamar

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The owner of apple-duty.tumblr.com just posted a nice description of how Shadwell and Madame Tracy mirror Aziraphale and Crowley, as a couple who have been official rivals yet strangely friends for years, who finally get together.
I want to add Newt and Anathema as the reversed-sex pairing to Shadwell and Tracy.
It's Newton who represents the voice of reason and science, in favor of changing to something better whenever it can be found or created, where Anathema is the one who was literally raised to follow prophecy and make sure it happens.
Chaos and freedom: Crowley, Tracy, Newton
Dedicated to following the prophecies: Aziraphale, Shadwell, Anathema
 

Dotsie

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Is this an annotation for Good Omens, when Aziraphale tries to contact Heaven?
In the series at least, Aziraphale says, "Hello, this is the Principality Aziraphale. Is anybody there?"
(Which to me is a huge jab in itself.)
I see it as being something that people typically say when they’re trying to contact ‘the other side’, like in seances or using a ouija board. But you could be right.
 

=Tamar

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I've been watching Youtube videos about shoe shining - got into it while trying to look up what style Aziraphale wears. (I think they missed a bet by not having him wear Wing-tips, but I don't know how long ago that pattern was designed.) I just learned, by chance, that the style Gabriel wears - with that flap across the instep - is called "Monk Strap."
 

=Tamar

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Heresy coming up:
Okay, this is about Greasy Johnson, Baby B, whose explanation was left out of the Series. In the Novel, the footnotes and a later scene explain that he was adopted by a local couple and is in fact Baby B. We are also told that he is only a bully because he is large and clumsy, and being called a bully was better than being laughed at. But it is also said that although he is within a few hours of Adam's age, and Adam's gang appear to be all the same age, having met in the same school class, Greasy Johnson's gang are "older", and not nice.

I've been thinking about those gangs. It's a normal sized small town, so presumably there are a normal number of kids around. Adam's gang consists of him and three others. That's all. The only other kid gang is Greasy Johnson and the Johnsonites. We don't know how many there are, but there are enough for them to be the bullies, and to be fairly evenly matched against the four Them. So... these rough, tough bullies are equally matched against four smallish kids, one of whom (Wensleydale) is described as a classic wimp, though he's probably balanced out by Pepper, who is formidably fierce.

Also, Greasy Johnson is a leader. He can get older kids - tough, older kids - to follow him. Does he have better ideas? Or is it just that he's big enough to look older, and strong enough to beat them in a scuffle?

What about all the other kids in town? The ones that the Johnsonites bully? They seem to prefer being bullied to having to hang out with the Them. Three of the Them seem to spend a lot of their time waiting for Adam to think up something interesting to do. Is it because Adam's ideas tend to get everybody involved in trouble? The Johnsonites are better at staying out of trouble with the adults? The Them admit that the adults would probably be happier if none of them were causing trouble.

Could it be that Greasy Johnson, with his tropical fish and photography magazines, is more charismatic than Adam?
 

=Tamar

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The old cartoons made for Warner Brothers - the non-Disney company - had a trope situation: something would blow up, and the characters involved would be left standing in the rubble, usually untouched. This was alluded to/used in The Blues Brothers movie, when a building was blown up and the brothers were standing untouched in the rubble. It also happens in the 1941 segment of the Good Omens series. The only difference is that in Good Omens it is explained by a miracle.
(The Blues Brothers movie is essentially a live-action Warner Brothers trope compilation.)
 

=Tamar

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Another bit that correlates with the "heist movie" quality: the interrogation scene at the conference center. Aziraphale plays good cop while Crowley plays bad cop, beginning with "Excuse me, ma'am."
 

RathDarkblade

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Well, I've finally seen it! Yea! :) *jumps up and down* ;)

I liked it. There are some bits I missed, like Greasy Johnson and the Johnsonites (who didn't make the cut), and the four alternative Bikers of the Apocalypse (who crowd around Death in the cafe and tell him to put that Elvis died in 1977, and then ride out with the Four Bikers).

On the other hand, there's a nice bit when Elvis is - briefly - shown. I was wondering if that would be explained for viewers who'd never read "Good Omens", but it never was. I hope no-one would be confused by that. :confused:

Sheen and Tennant are fantastic. Everyone else do a fine job at their roles - I particularly liked Miranda Richardson and Derek Jacobi. I wonder why Benedict Cumberbatch got such top billing, when his role is so small. :confused:

Adam and the kids are ..... well, Adam is a pretty face, but I'm sorry, he can't really act (much). He just doesn't seem evil to me. The other kids are interchangeable - I couldn't differentiate Brian from Wensleydale for the first moment or two, until I realised that Brian's the one without the glasses.

One nice bit that no-one's mentioned yet: when the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse roll up to the gate, the gate guard is reading "American Gods" by Gaiman. :) I had to pause, rewind, and watch again - and then pause again while I finished laughing. :laugh:

No-one's mentioned Dog yet, but I liked him just fine.

I wonder why the actor playing Shadwell seems to be getting a bit of stick. I liked him just fine. :confused: Isn't he supposed to be Scottish?

I also didn't understand the non-book "trial" bits in the end. Yes, all right - A&C swapped bodies so they wouldn't get hurt, but why were the "trial" bits needed at all? I don't get it. :confused: Why not end it on Adam chasing after Dog, as in the book?

Overall, I liked it very much. It may not have been perfect, but no book-to-screen transition ever is! :)
 
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I'm very glad you liked it!

A young person posted to Neil that he had been told not to refer to Mr Gaiman by his first name without permission, and Neil responded online, "Call me Neil."

According to the interviews I've read online, the kid playing Adam was the best one who tried for the role. I think he did well at the glowering anger in the cottage when he told the others "I didn't give you permission to go." You have to look at the lowered eyebrows, and the hairdo makes it hard to see them. All the kids had the same problem that child actors have: their faces have no wrinkles, so it's harder to make them look evil.

Neil said in one interview that, as written, the novel is fine, but in film it has a climax at the airfield and then they'd have had half an hour of people saying goodbye. Also, I admit that the novel's climax at the airfield never seemed quite as significant to me as it was supposed to. The series actually made that scene clearer to me, with Adam saying aloud which father he chose.

A lot of people seem to think they swapped bodies at the end, but they couldn't have. If that had been, for instance, Aziraphale in Crowley's body in Hell, the body would have died in the holy water, and vice versa with Crowley's body in Heaven, What I believe they must have done is swapped _appearances_. They are both capable of shape-changing (we even watched Crowley do it on the wall of Eden). Aziraphale's body was shape-changed to look like Crowley, complete with snake-eyes, but it was still Aziraphale's body, just fine with holy water. Crowley's body was shape-changed to look like Aziraphale, but it was still Crowley's body, which was just fine with the hellfire in Heaven.

On the bench later, if they had traded bodies, Aziraphale's body would have stayed where it was and just been re-inhabited by Aziraphale. It didn't - the appearance changed back to Crowley, and Crowley was still where he had been, just looking like himself again.

That's why I posted earlier that Crowley doesn't really have to wear the snake eyes - it's like his tattoo, it's his chosen personal mark.
 

RathDarkblade

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Hmm - that's true. But if that's the case, then why does Crowley not flinch when taking steps in Heaven, as he does when setting foot on consecrated ground in the church? And vice versa for Aziraphale in Hell? :confused:

I was also very glad at the appearance of Beelzebub. I can't remember if that's how he (she?) appeared in the book, but anyone who bothers to check the etymology of the name knows that the name "Beelzebub" stems from the Old Testament - a Philistine god named "Ba'al Zebub", or "Lord of the Flies". (Yes, that's where the Golding novel comes from!) ;) So, the later tradition equating Beelzebub with Satan is simply not true. They are two separate entities, and even appear so in an illustration for Milton's "Paradise Lost". :) I'm not sure if that's the same way in the book, too?

I just noticed, btw, that Terry's hat and scarf are in Aziraphale's shop! :) Also, in the cinema scene (in episode 4), NeilHimself has a cameo. Yay! :)
 
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I don't think there's any reason for Aziraphale to have trouble in Hell. It isn't consecrated.
As for Heaven, Neil has pointed out that it's not a particularly sacred place, it's just a magical business office. It hasn't been consecrated by anyone. The Disposable Demon has no problem with it either.

1941: Someone actually asked a priest and the priest said that shoes would have protected Crowley's feet in the church. This is further confirmation that Crowley doesn't actually wear shoes most of the time, he just shapes his feet to look like shoes. (Confirmed by David Tennant in one interview.) Novel-canon: "at least we think he's wearing shoes"
 
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A recent discussion on tumblr was about how Crowley's hairstyle relates to his level of tension.
I think it's plausible. I saw it reposted on https://thegoodomensdumpster.tumblr.com/

Poster cadhla-marie went on at some length, but essentially, Crowley "changes his hair as a way to cope. He feels he’s had no control over his life and everything that’s happened to him. But he does have control over his own appearance. He changes his hairstyles constantly, he wears nice clothes and expensive glasses, he keeps himself clean, etc., because those are things he is in control of.
When he’s in a state of distress, he tends to cut his hair short."
After each traumatic experience, in the next scene we see Crowley with short hair. Rome (after Golgotha), 1862 Victorian and worried that hell was after him, 1941 (still reacting to 1862 breakup), 2018 when he realizes they really have to do something drastic.

I don't know whether it was deliberate or simply an artifact of common styles of the era, but it correlates.
 
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I've been thinking about some of the costume choices. Most of the demons show some deterioration of their clothing, except Beelzebub. Many seem to be in rags, or have some kind of very coarse fabric wrapped around them or dangling from sleeve ends. I heard a rumor that it was because the real demons are the animal forms and they just possess and reanimate corpses that still show how they died, but I don't have any authoritative source for that.

Regardless of why, it seems that all the highly visible demons always wear coats, and Hastur even wears a tartan scarf. The series is set in August. Even in the UK, it's generally hot in August. In the novel, there is a mention that it is unusually hot, with an implication that it's from the high level of demonic activity, and the increase in demonic energy of Adam. Even Crowley generally wears a jacket, except in his flat which seems to be well heated, from the lush, tropical looks of his plants.
Yet not only do all demons wear coats, so does Aziraphale. His are lightweight, but when he comes indoors, he puts on an indoor jacket, and routinely drinks hot drinks - not only tea but cocoa, normally a winter drink.
The other angels all wear full three-piece suits, with the higher ranking ones wearing cashmere, known to be warm even though lightweight. Gabriel even says, "I like the clothes."
In Eden, both Aziraphale and Crowley were wearing layers, despite the probable heat of the desert around Eden and the tropical appearance within the walls.
Are all angels and demons perpetually cold? Why? Is it the absence of close contact with the god who isn't talking to anybody any more?

In the novel, it's specified that humans used the fiery sword to keep warm. Later they invented home-fires and cooking, used fire not always to torment or kill but to make life more pleasant. Humans figured out how to stay warm! Could that be the original reason Aziraphale and Crowley became fond of humans?
 

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