NYCC 18: What We Know About the Series from the ‘Good Omens’ Panel

Reading Time: 5 minutes

You know a panel is going to be good when Whoopi Goldberg moderates it. It’s even better when a teaser trailer and two clips from the series is shown as well. Good Omens, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, has been a much-anticipated series for the past few years. Based on the trailer and clips, it will definitely deliver. The teaser trailer gave a soft introduction to the characters of the show and how they will have to work together in order to stop the apocalypse.

The panel included executive producer of the series, Neil Gaiman, and the director, Douglas Mackinnon. David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Miranda Richardson, and Jon Hamm were also at the panel to talk about their characters in the show. Gaiman talked about wanting to make a movie about Good Omens since he and Pratchett first wrote the book back in 1990.

“The late Sir Terry Pratchett and I wrote the novel almost 30 years ago,” Gaiman said, “We failed to get a movie made almost immediately. We kept failing to get movies made… and then, a few years ago, Terry and I thought it might be a really good idea to try it as television.” Even after the decision to move it into a television medium, Gaiman recalled the difficulties of trying to find a writer who would write the script for the series saying it was “too big and too weird”. Gaiman ended up writing the script, per the request of Pratchett before he passed away in 2015. It was the last request from Pratchett and Gaiman said that he is “seeing it through”.

Michael Sheen, who plays Aziraphale in the series, spoke at the panel of how he came into Good Omens after being a fan of Gaiman’s writing for a long time. He said that he became a fan of Gaiman when he read Sandman as a teenager, joking that he should be in the crowd instead of on stage because of how much of a fan he is of Gaiman.

“To end up becoming friends with Neil and then being a part of bringing this story to the screen really is a dream come true,” said Sheen.

Tennant described the story as “delicious” and “fully-formed brilliance” at the panel and was very enthusiastic about being able to work on this project as Crowley. “And I get to be a ginger,” joked Tennant.

When asked about playing Madame Tracy, Miranda Richardson said she had fun playing the character. Richardson said that she was drawn to Madame Tracy because of her “split personality”. “I am my own double act in this,” said Richardson. She came to the script before reading the book.

Jon Hamm was also a fan of Gaiman’s writing prior to working on the series explained how he met Gaiman, “Life did what it did and pushed Neil into my path a couple of years back.” Gaiman contacted Hamm about doing a part that wasn’t in the book and Hamm enthusiastically agreed without knowing what part that would be. This was also Hamm’s first comic con.

Two clips from the series were shown during the panel with one depicting the banter between Crowley and Aziraphale and the other showing Hamm’s character – Archangel Gabriel. While they were very short snippets, they gave us an idea of what to expect from these characters and what the show will be like.

These short clips showed the interesting dynamic that Crowley and Aziraphale share in terms of friendship. They may be on opposite sides of the field, but they have the same end goal and that will clearly be shown in the series. Gabriel has an understanding of how he thinks humans operate but because he’s never really interacted with any of them, he doesn’t understand how to associate with them. The second clip shows Gabriel in a bookstore referring to a large book as “pornography” and addressing everyone in the store that he wishes to buy it.

Music from Queen is also prominent throughout the series and Gaiman addressed the running joke of it at the panel. “We both [Pratchett] noticed that, despite the fact that we couldn’t remember having bought Queen’s Greatest Hits, it was there in the car,” recalled Gaiman, “So, we just started our theory that any cassette left in a car long enough turns into the Best of Queen.” The inside joke was put in the book and is now used in the series. Gaiman said he loved the thought of Crowley “listening to Bohemian Rhapsody” and that song turned into the voice of Hell communicating with him.

Gaiman brought up Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship during the panel and described it as a metaphor for good and evil living in one person. The pair of friends have a long history together, as shown in the trailer, and put up with each other while working together to stop the apocalypse. Sheen described it as “there can be no Crowley without Aziraphale and there can be no Arizaphale without Crowley.”

“We have a demon who really likes being here on Earth and likes people a lot more than he would ever admit,” said Gamain, “and we have an angel who Crowley describes as ‘just enough of a bastard to be worth knowing’. You get the feeling that Arizaphale thinks he’s a slightly better person than he is. Whereas Crowley is absolutely under no illusions about either of them and is perfectly content to be not quite as bad as he ought to be.”

Gabriel’s role in Good Omens was also brought up during the panel. Archangel Gabriel, while not in the book, does play an important role in the series. “He is that boss that you don’t like,” said Hamm, “He is so certain of his correctness and his rectitude and everything else but he’s wrong.” Based on what we know of his character,  Gabriel might be on the side of making sure the apocalypse happens – which is in direct conflict with what Crowley and Aziraphale want.

Good Omens premieres sometime in 2019 on Amazon Prime. In the meantime, I’d definitely recommend reading the book.