This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the TV show being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Five episodes were screened for this review of Good Omens Season 2.
Four years ago, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens arrived as a six episode miniseries on Prime Video starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Gaiman penned the series for television based on the book he wrote with Pratchett, meaning once the events in the book were covered, the story was over. An angel and a demon saved the world, and that was that.
The Crowley and Aziraphale show
Good Omens Season 2 arrives in full on Prime Video this Friday. Since the apocalypse was averted in Season 1, this second season, once again penned by Gaiman, has a more intimate approach to it. Gone are the worldly stakes; now, Crowley and Aziraphale just hang out at the bookshop together, not selling books and dodging questions from interested neighbors.
In this sense, Season 2 succeeds. If anything made the first season as popular as it was, it was the chemistry between Tennant and Sheen as the bad boy demon and too-good-for-his-own-good angel, respectively. Without an apocalypse hanging over their heads, Season 2 can spend as much time showcasing Crowley and Aziraphale as the ineffable husbands that they are and we’d be perfectly okay with that.
Plot? I don’t know her.
Alas, this is a TV show, and plot must be thrown in there. And thrown in it is, as the show struggles to build up the tension of the first season. To be fair, it’s hard to beat an apocalypse and the antichrist as plot-driving elements, though Season 2 manages to garner some intrigue. Episode 1 begins with the archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) arriving at Aziraphale’s bookshelf without any clothes and no memory of who he is. This mystery causes great concern Up There and Down Below, and because Crowley is no longer the Earth liaison for hell, and Aziraphale is on the outs with the angels, the two perform a miracle in order to hide Gabriel, now Jim short for James, from everyone looking for him.
And that’s pretty much where he stays for the rest of the first five episodes. There’s an element of tension-building here, but the season fails to deliver the severity of the situation. No one knows why Gabriel left heaven and lost his memories, and no one can even explain why it’s bad. Still, Hamm is a great addition to the Crowley and Aziraphale show. His presence in Season 1 was more villian-y in nature; here, he gets to have fun as the clueless Jim, bookshop assistant.
To fill up the time, each episode is treated to significant flashbacks of Crowley and Azirphale. One of the most memorable parts of Season 1 was the 28-minute cold open in Episode 3, during which Good Omens took us back through the centuries of Crowley and Azirphale’s friendship. That’s expanded in every single episode this season. The flashbacks are long and tell their own story that is sometimes relevant to the present day plot but sometimes is just a good old time in the past.
Despite the lackluster season-long plot, Good Omens Season 2 rests on the shoulders of Tennant and Sheen, who deliver magnificently. A lot of time is spent this season not just in Azirphale’s bookshop but in the streets surrounding the shop as well. Azirphale’s shop owner neighbors play a huge part in the season, creating a fun side love story that Crowley and Azirphale take turns meddling in.
In a way, simply staying at the bookshop but bringing in characters from the other shops expands the world of Good Omens more than Season 1. This season creates such an intimate setting by keeping it narrowed down to the bookshop and surrounding shops that more characters come alive. So even when the occasional angel or demon interrupts the day-to-day of Crowley and Azirphale just hanging out in their bookshop with news of minor plot details, it’s easy to forgive the interruption.
Good Omens Season 2 premieres all six episodes on Friday, July 28 on Prime Video.
Feature image courtesy of Mark Mainz/Prime Video
'Good Omens' Season 2 - 7.5/10