In Amazon’s new adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, the actual impending Armageddon kind of takes a back seat to other elements of the apocalyptic story, in part because of the show’s understanding that we’ve all grown rather weary of the genre at a time when the world often feels as though it’s coming to an end.
When Gaiman and Pratchett wrote the novel together 30 years ago, they couldn’t have predicted quite how meta this telling of their story would end up feeling, and in a new interview with The Guardian, Gaiman admits that he kinda wishes the book hadn’t been so on the money:
I mean, if I could trade, I would have a much duller world in which we had to try and convince people that an apocalypse was likely, instead of having the world that we’re in, where the nuclear clock is ticking closer and closer, and where I’m going: “Actually, as far as I can tell everybody in charge is fucking nuts.” You know, I would like sensible people and an end of history, that was fun.
When you look at Good Omens as a work of political satire, it works as a critique of all parties because ultimately, the story’s true evil reveals itself to be people in positions of bureaucratic authority who are so out of touch with reality that they’re a threat to the survival of humanity.
Given the new medium, Gaiman saw the Amazon series as the perfect chance to repurpose an unused idea for a once-planned Good Omens follow-up that highlighted how paper pushers are the ultimate monsters:
It’s all one beautiful skyscraper and the angels have the fantastic offices right at the top, and hell is the basement rooms that nobody really wants to be in but, I’m sorry, you’re working down there anyway.
I remember when the production designer came to me with the first Hell designs, and they were amazing, they were powerful, these giant caverns with flames everywhere, and I’m like: “Yeah, no, it’s just a bit shit. There are too many people working there and there’s filing cabinets that you’ll never find anything in and there’s pipes that drip and lights that flicker on and off, and it’s shit.”
Good Omens hits Amazon Prime on May 31.