Amazon and BBC Studios’ upcoming adaptation of the Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman novel Good Omens has cast its lead roles of Aziraphale and Crowley with actors Michael Sheen and David Tennant, respectively.
Sheen, recently seen in Masters of Sex, seems like a fine choice for the angel Aziraphale, who often serves as the straight man to Crowley’s more sly and conniving character. (Prachett and Gaiman delightfully describe Crowley as “An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards.”) And as someone who is a particular fan of Tennant’s work in shows like Doctor Who and Netflix’s Jessica Jones, I can’t help but think that the morally grey elements of the smug and sardonic fallen angel will play to the actor’s strengths perfectly. In particular, if you’ve seen any of Tennant’s work as the Tenth Doctor, you’ll already know how he’s perfected the casual “clever than everyone else in the room” attitude that’s such an integral part of Crowley’s character, while also displaying both the comedic and dramatic chops that Good Omens would require.
While the Amazon / BBC Studios series is the first time Good Omens is being adapted for the screen, Tennant and Sheen aren’t the first actors to take on the roles: Peter Serafinowicz and Mark Heap played Crowley and Aziraphale, respectively, in a 2014 BBC radio adaptation.
If you’re not familiar with the original novel, you should go seek out a copy immediately. But if my recommendation and the name brands of two of fantasy’s best authors in Prachett and Gaiman teaming up isn’t enough to get you on board, Good Omens is basically the story of the aforementioned Crowley and Aziraphale and their efforts to prevent the apocalypse and protect the world from judgement day, largely due to the fact that the two of them prefer the luxuries of life more than fighting in some heavenly war. Amazon’s adaptation looks to update “the brink of apocalypse” setting to a modern 2018, which certainly doesn’t resonate at all with current events.
Good Omens is being scripted by Gaiman himself, who agreed to create the show at Prachett’s posthumous request. While we’ll have to wait until it airs next year to see how the show actually comes out, the initial casting does seem like another good sign for fans of the original novel.
Correction: Amazon and BBC Studios are co-producing the series.