Author Topic: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)  (Read 3081 times)

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2019, 04:07:23 PM »
That combination of shooting in a low-ceiling cottage and Sanjeev Bhaskar made Whitehall look like a giant. Most Amusing.

Thought this really took a dive around ep4. The story just got boring. The child acting was ghastly (as bad as The Kid Who Would Be King). The two leads were ok, but not really much chemistry between them so all that talk of "let's go off together" fell a bit flat.

As mentioned above it needed someone with modern sensiblities to adapt it for screen, not Gaiman. Modern tv generally has much deeper characterisation. Also Pratchett's humour has always been Adams/Python-lite. This had a comic feel to it, but nothing actually that funny in it (apart from the Jeffrey Archer joke, and that's really nineties too).

Prefer Smith's Dogma. Just has a better fusion of myth and the (sub)urban.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2019, 05:00:40 PM »
I think Gaiman tried to include too much from the book, and consequently there was too much time taken up by things not really that important to the story that weren't fleshed out enough to justify their inclusion. None of the stuff about Atlantis rising or the Tibetans in tunnels really landed satisfactorily, for example, and the main story would have worked just as well without it and had more time to flesh out the parts that did matter.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2019, 10:49:33 PM »
I’d forgotten about the Tibetans in the tunnels so enjoyed that bit, especially their (added?) confusion. But the alien visitation was done virtually word for word, and fell terribly flat. And I recall thinking when ep 5 ended that there wasn’t much left to do.

My daughter predicted the body swap. I wonder if the ice creams were an early clue? Aziraphale struck me as more of a strawberry ice lolly type, while a 99 seemed more decadent and therefore right down Crowley’s alley.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2019, 11:45:33 PM »
Michael McKean's accent is all over the place in this.

Quote from: Good Omens
Mr. Shadwell's accent was unplaceable. It careered around Britain like a milk race.

It's nice to have an adaptation that follows the general plot so closely, but I agree that the pacing was a bit duff. It felt utterly bizarre when the penultimate episode finished practically at the end of the book - consequently the final episode was really drawn out with the unnecessary padding of the new trial scenes. Other additions to the plot seemed equally unnecessary, but I'm never sure to what extent my criticisms are justified or whether I'm just a hypocrite when it comes to judging adaptations (they're either too slavishly adherent to the source material or they take too many liberties. Or both at the same time.) There were various scenes of Aziraphale trying to get John Hamm to stop the Antichrist which are redundant next to the bit where he summons the Metatron, and one or two scenes of Aziraphale and Crowley getting into a big argument and storming off because that's just what you do when you're two-thirds of the way through a buddy comedy. Not sure whether they were at pains to fill six episodes or just felt there needed to be more characters for some reason.

One addition I thought was successful was the depiction of Crowley and Aziraphale's arrangement developing over the centuries. For once the narrator's recital of passages from the book is dispensed with and we are shown, instead of told, how it happened. But even within this sequence they couldn't resist adding a thread covering the backstory of how Crowley acquired the holy water (was anyone losing sleep over that?) and thus undermining the scene in which it is used. In the book there is dramatic tension as Crowley retrieves and carefully handles this mysterious container, and then the punchline comes when Hastur announces to us what it is. Various other little moments felt like they followed the book up to a certain point but missed the point of why it worked.

Agreed that the voiceover was a bit much and kept making me think of Brian Cox in Adaptation. Not only did it keep describing things I could already see happening on the screen with my eyes, sometimes the characters themselves would also stand around explaining to us and each other what they were looking at (nuclear power station employees by far the worst culprits.)

The fashionable way of producing such adaptations is to make them into several 10-episode series that are each as dull as ditchwater, so I should be grateful.

mothman

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2019, 11:54:04 PM »
The ritualistic summoning of the Metatron was necessary to the plot, but it’s made unnecessary by Aziraphale swanning off to heaven every five minutes. Really Hamm was pointless in this, I almost wonder what cane first, the expansion of the part when being adapted for the screen which attracted him to take it, or his casting and resultant expansion of it? (it’s also yet another iteration of Hamm’s lack of focus in his post-Draper career).

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #35 on: June 08, 2019, 08:46:24 AM »
It occurred to me whilst watching it that the idea of having voice-over expository bits - if voice-over expository bits were needed at all, which they really shouldn't be in a well written script - would have fitted better into the story if they'd done them as readings of Agnes Nutter's prophecies (either from the novel or specially written for the adaptation), perhaps read by Agnes herself, and dispensed entirely with the conceit that it was God explaining what was going on.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2019, 03:10:19 PM »
But the whole joke about the prophesies is they don't make any sense.

Although I suppose you could make it work by showing at the same time. But it would be different to the tone of the books and need good writing.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2019, 10:10:52 PM »
Been lurking here for a week or so and might as well post about something so seeing as I just finished watching this:

I thought it was not bad. I liked the book when I read it when I was about 15 but that was nigh on 20 years back so I don't remember that much about it and am not one of these people who get overly invested in adaptations and start whining that such-and-such a scene has a line of dialogue cut or that so-and-so's hairdo is a bit off. I liked Pratchett when I was younger but have probably outgrown that now; Gaiman I've never warmed to, finding him full of ideas but not so hot on plot, character or taste.

Sheen and Tennant are delightful throughout and basically make the series. There were some nice London locations and on the odd occasion it decided to show rather than tell, things got quite compelling and entertaining. It's all well-humoured and well-paced and even the flatter bits are past quickly enough.
There are a lot of those flatter bits, though. Way too much narration: I get that Gaiman wanted to be true to Pratchett's spirit but surely he could have found a way to work the one-liners and puns into dialogue rather than just having someone read them out? Elsewhere, we get some overactive and overobvious camerawork and gags, and a lot of rather drawn-out to-and-froing with various demons and angels: although Hamm is splendidly smarmy, the Heaven-and-Hell-as-offices settings feel pretty clichéd in 2019.
Gaiman's rather passé taste also reveals itself with the deeply naff Four Horsemen, who could in surer hands have been effectively menacing or comically mundane; instead they're from some shit hair metal video from 1992. The woman playing War is one of the worst actors I've ever seen and I was surprised to learn it was Brian Cox playing Death, as he was spectacularly underwhelming too. On the subject of ropey acting, Michael McKean hams it right up as well. And let's not forget Anna Maxwell Martin's blandly shouting Beelzebub either (the frog guy was amusing though).
I quite liked the kids - the one playing Adam at least had some gusto - and I remembered their Just William schtick being appealing in the book too. But the ending went on for two whole episodes and didn't make an awful lot of sense.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2019, 10:20:48 PM »
Yeah, the four horsemen are definitely one of the bigger misfires in this adaptation, something definitely got lost along the way there. There's so real sense of threat at all, and aside from one scene I quite liked (where the courier meets Death) there's very little about them that sticks in the memory. Okay so you've got motorbikes and like smirking knowingly, that's nice. The way they were presented here, the show would've lost nothing by just cutting them out entirely.

Ambient Sheep

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2019, 04:18:36 AM »
The two leads were ok, but not really much chemistry between them...

I've only seen the trailer so far but that struck me immediately.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2019, 09:04:44 AM »
Quote
Mr. Shadwell's accent was unplaceable. It careered around Britain like a milk race.

Fair dos, I guess that's what McKean was going for then. But in that case I'd say his accent didn't wander enough. It definitely sounded like he was aiming at Scottish.

I quite liked the kids - the one playing Adam at least had some gusto

I don't really agree with this, for someone who was written as having supernaturally powerful charisma I thought he came across as rather bland.

Quote
I was surprised to learn it was Brian Cox playing Death, as he was spectacularly underwhelming too.

Along with Frances McDormand (and probably Bumbersnatch too), I reckon they just sent him his bits of the script and got him to pop into a voice-over studio when he had a spare half hour. Wouldn't be surprised if he received no direction apart from brief notes sent with the script.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2019, 09:22:26 AM »
The direction is ultimately quite pedestrian, especially when it deals with comedy. In an early episode, there's this scene where Crowley turns the paintball guns into real weapons. In more assured hands, there could have been some great side gags, just like in the first version of Bedazzled or what Terry Jones would do with Python. But it's executed flatly due to a script that feels compelled to emphasize everything and an inability by the director to translate it into interesting visuals or focus on the comic timing.

Alberon

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2019, 12:27:11 PM »
Got to love hardline Christian nutbags. Without trying they can often be very funny.

Quote
More than 20,000 Christians have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens, the television series adapted from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 fantasy novel – unfortunately addressing their petition to Netflix when the series is made by Amazon Prime.

But Christians marshalled by the Return to Order campaign, an offshoot of the US Foundation for a Christian Civilisation, disagree. More than 20,000 supporters have signed a petition in which they say that Good Omens is “another step to make satanism appear normal, light and acceptable”, and “mocks God’s wisdom”. God, they complain, is “voiced by a woman” – Frances McDormand – the antichrist is a “normal kid” and, most importantly, “this type of video makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil, and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for the devil”. They are calling on Netflix to cancel the show.

Gaiman responded to the petition on Twitter, writing: “I love that they are going to write to Netflix to try and get #GoodOmens cancelled. Says it all really. This is so beautiful ... Promise me you won’t tell them?”

The publisher and science fiction critic Cheryl Morgan tweeted: “Miraculously God has already done it. Don’t tell them She put it on Amazon instead.”

Return to Order is based on the writings of the author John Horvat II. It “calls upon Americans to put principles into actions by working toward what is called an organic Christian society”. Another of its petitions in April called on Walmart to “stop selling Satanic products” following a 2018 protest against a “blasphemous ice cream chain called Sweet Jesus”.

One of the groups objections is that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are shown as bikers. Not sure why that is a big issue.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2019, 12:57:10 PM »
It's been getting a shitload of advertising at the moment.

I do like Michael Sheen but on the other hand not a big David Tennant fan and Jack Whitehall can get to fuck. I'd happily bung him in Unit 731 for a few weeks.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #44 on: June 20, 2019, 11:40:40 PM »
What? I only just see Jon Hamm is in this? How much is he in it? He's a deal breaker to me in anything.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2019, 01:25:06 AM »
One of the groups objections is that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are shown as bikers. Not sure why that is a big issue.

If you gotta ask, you ain’t never gonna know!

Sweet Jesus (the ice cream chain that was a previous target) is very good, we have a few in Toronto and they stay open late so you can wander in half cut and pick up a few pints of rocky road for the walk home like the absolute DISGRACE you are.

David Tennant is David Tennant in everything, isn’t he? Slightly weird shouty man with the occasional LOUD-A DELIVERY-A and adds the extra vowel on the end of his lines like a well-coiffed Mark E Smith. Good in this though.

What? I only just see Jon Hamm is in this? How much is he in it? He's a deal breaker to me in anything.

Hamm is in it a fair amount. He’s not a lead or anything, but he gets a few scenes in every ep

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #46 on: June 21, 2019, 03:50:45 PM »
Jon Hamm is Gabriel, aka the annoying manager that you meet here and there and who gives you a pep talk to reach your objectives.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2019, 03:50:08 AM »
Mrs Six (who hasn't read the book) loved this, which contributed massively to my own enjoyment despite it being quite wonky in all the ways described above.

Sheen, Tennant, Hamm, Richardson and whoever played Hastur were great. Everyone else was either misguided (McKean's accent in particular), middling (Whitehall, the admittedly gorgeous Anathema Device, Famine, Doon Mackichan) or massively shit (all the kids, all non-Hastur demons - especially the fly one, the rest of the Horsemen et al).

That in turn interacted awkwardly with the over-literal adaptation, because there's not much meat on the rest of the characters once divorced from the prose that fleshed them out (Whitehall, who is barely in it, is basically just a walking borderline deus ex machina), leaving all the non-Crowley-and-Aziraphale scenes feeling like a distraction from the real story. Then the climax comes and they barely play a part in it while the poorly acted supporting cast suddenly take the reins.

I assume that's why Gaiman wrote the trial scenes - so the stars could get a proper send-off.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2019, 08:42:10 AM »
Based on a questionnaire from Amazon recently they're looking to do a second series.

Mister Six

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2019, 11:05:02 AM »
Yeah, I got that impression from the "the next big battle will be us [humanity] vs them [Hell and Heaven]" line. Gaiman sounded exhausted by this production, though, so let's hope that puts him off. I'm sure his own humility won't hold him back.

EDIT: Just had a look on Wikipedia, and it seems that line was actually in the book. I stand corrected!

What was the point of Hastur coming back in the book, by the way? I remember the "eating the call centre" people from the book but not what follows. He doesn't turn up just to get roasted on the M25, does he?

Alberon

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2019, 11:11:40 AM »
They can do a second series only if Terry Pratchett returns from Death and has a good idea for one.

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Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2019, 07:51:18 AM »
As I understand it, Sir Terry came up with a fair amount of extra material.  He and Gaiman planned a sequel to the original novel.

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2019, 03:30:32 PM »
Why is David Tennant morphing into Bill Nighy...?

Re: Good Omens (BBC/Amazon co-production)
« Reply #53 on: August 04, 2019, 02:22:42 AM »
Struggling with this and i'm only halfway through episode 2...