The first season of Amazon and the BBC’s Good Omens adaptation was full of clever new details that weren’t present in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s original novel, and the show was better for them because of how they helped flesh out its world of angels, demons, and curiously worded prophecies. With Good Omens only being a singular book rather than a series, it was clear that Amazon was going to have to start telling wholly original stories when it announced its plans to produce a second season of adventures for Aziraphale and Crowley. The obvious question was whether they’d be any good given Pratchett’s passing in 2015.
Often, Good Omens’ second season feels very aware of how it exists in narrative territory that’s going to be considered uncharted by a modern fandom that’s come to love these characters with an intensity that wasn’t quite as pronounced back when they were just ideas in a book. But Good Omens steps into this new chapter gracefully and with enough confidence to make it feel like the logical answer to “How do you continue an apocalyptic love story after Armageddon’s been averted?”
Rather than digging deeper into any of the Antichrist-forward threads that shaped season one, Good Omens’ second season just picks up and gets right back to detailing the millennia-long tale of how the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the demon Crowley (David Tennant) became acquaintances, then pals, and then something slightly... more than “just friends.”
The new season doubles down on the old idea that — more than any satisfaction they ever felt from doing their respective jobs in heaven and in hell — their mutual fondness for one another has always been what’s given them the strength to put up with their immortal colleagues and countless humans over the ages. But with the preplanned end of days now officially behind them and humanity still very much intact, the blessed / cursed odd couple now has nothing but time to indulge themselves in earthly pleasures like running cozy little record shops or mainlining multiple cups full of espresso.
Aziraphale and Crowley’s softly flirtatious, playful relationship has always been an important part of the charm of Good Omens as both a book and a streaming series. But it takes on a very different kind of prominence in season two that feels like a reflection of Gaiman and new series co-writer John Finnemore paying very close attention to the way many viewers immediately latched onto the idea of an angel and a demon sharing an ineffable kind of romantic love.
Neither Tennant’s Crowley nor Sheen’s Aziraphale feel all that different from their usual ornery and timorous selves as Good Omens first catches up with them. But from details like the notable uptick of instances in which Crowley calls Aziraphale “angel” and the way this season focuses on them both interacting with lovestruck humans, it’s very easy to get the sense that this season’s scripts are (at least to some extent) playing to the show’s shippers.
A somewhat similar motivation to work fans up into a controlled frenzy often feels like it’s at work in the way this season brings the archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) back into the picture, with his underlings Michael (Doon Mackichan), Uriel (Gloria Obianyo), and Saraqael (Liz Carr) in tow. But for all the space Good Omens affords Sheen, Tennant, and Hamm to have fun in, the show’s also mindful of keeping enough focus on the story unfolding between record store owner Maggie (Maggie Service) and barista Nina (Nina Sosanya) to make their human drama feel just as important as the new mess that puts heaven and hell on high alert.
There are so many moving parts to that celestial / infernal mess that it’s a genuine wonder to see how well Good Omens is able to lay it out while also taking periodic breaks to poke fun at some of the bible’s more alarming and ideologically perplexing parables like the Book of Job. Some of that can be attributed to this season building on ideas Gaiman and Pratchett never got a chance to work into a full-fledged sequel.
But in moments when the show’s jumping back and forth between its core players and checking in with supporting characters like exasperated demon Shax (Miranda Richardson) and guileless angel Muriel (Quelin Sepulveda), Good Omens almost starts to feel like the sort of British radio comedy that made Finnemore famous.
Though the season’s six episodes move quite briskly, they’re dense in a (good) way that makes the show feel like it’s trying to be a faithful adaptation of an even more intricately detailed piece of source material. That’d be an impressive trick for any Amazon show to pull off, let alone the follow-up to a surprisingly solid production of a story that didn’t always seem like it would work for television. It’s one Good Omens’ second season pulls off with ease, though, and it’ll likely keep you watching when the new episodes drop on July 28th.