When Good Omens hit Amazon Prime two years ago, a lot of book fans were holding their breaths. It was a long-awaited adaptation of a beloved book, so naturally there was a lot riding on it—to the point that coauthor and series cocreator Neil Gaiman even wrote a blog post asking fans to remember that the show was being “made with love” and that he understood it couldn’t possibly please everyone.
Given the show’s resoundingly positive reception, that almost feels funny in hindsight.
Before I go any further, a confession: I wasn’t one of those book fans awaiting the adaptation with cautious excitement. I went into this show with a blank slate, and to be perfectly honest, I was a bit skeptical about how much I’d enjoy it.
That’s also amusing in retrospect.
I knew, vaguely, what I was getting into: Aziraphale, an angel of Heaven (Michael Sheen), and Crowley, a demon from Hell (David Tennant), team up to avert the impending apocalypse. Wacky conundrums and lots of Britishness follow—and it’s clever and charming! But, by itself, that wouldn’t have made it a standout in my mind.
The chemistry between the two leads, however, did.
Good Omens is often correctly described as a love story, given that Aziraphale and Crowley’s complicated-yet-sweet companionship is the heart of this quirky little tale, and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly their dynamic won me over. The flashback sequence that opens the third episode, showing glimpses of their friendship throughout all of human history, is a highlight of the show. Even better, they get one of the most earnest and satisfying happy endings I’ve ever seen: They save the world (with some luck) and then each other (very deliberately).
I didn’t know this until later, but the book ends after the “saving the world” part, while in the show, we get the much more satisfying resolution of the two characters also facing pissed off angels and demons in order to save each other from execution. The implied happily-ever-after, then, is that they can go on living their lives on the extremely intact Earth without any further interference from “the head offices,” just as they always wanted.
This will never not be one of my favorite endings of all time.
Now that we have confirmation of a second season, I’m getting a little taste of the nerves book fans must have felt two years ago. What if it’s not good?! How can they continue the story without uprooting the HEA?! What if the second season doesn’t include the widely popular notion (fueled by certain comments from Gaiman) that Aziraphale and Crowley eventually live together in a South Downs cottage?! (That last one keeps me awake at night.)
As excited as I am to see these characters again, and specifically about the dreamy promo poster (below), I kind of hate the thought of them having to deal with more supernatural bullshit at all. They already did that for six thousand years. They earned their cozy retirement, okay?
I understand that TV isn’t fanfiction, of course, and the second season won’t open with their wedding, but I maintain that staying true to these characters means keeping them together (cue side-eye at that Lockdown Audio Drama) through whatever comes next—not downplaying their bond or implying that they casually went separate ways after.… What was it, again? Oh, right: SAVING THE WORLD AND THEN EACH OTHER.
Even half-awake readers have guessed by now that I am one of many fans who ship Aziraphale and Crowley, aka the Ineffable Husbands. Shipping sometimes still gets a bad rap in and out of fandom spaces, but personally, shipping has only ever improved my experience of watching a show/movie. If I’m lukewarm on a story, but I end up getting really invested in a ship, that raises my interest and enjoyment by about 300%. Giving me characters I care about THAT much can easily compensate for a story being “not my thing” in other ways—and that’s sort of what happened with Good Omens.
The show isn’t exactly my thing, except when it is, and then it’s one of my favorite things. That’s not confusing at all, right?
For season 2 to succeed, and do these characters justice, their chemistry has to be the heart of the story. And, to me and many other fans, that means letting them unencumbered by their old head offices and truly exist “on their own side,” free to spend their time having lunch dates and wine nights … and probably some hugs, too, right? After six thousand years of caring about each other that much? Please??
For now, the second season remains a mystery beyond the official summary that promises new mysteries and flashbacks (yay!). All I can do is wait and trust the process—after all, nothing’s ever surprised me quite like the first.