Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Omens May Be Good, But the Rest?



I have FINALLY slagged my way through all six desperately tedious hours of Good Omens.

Sheen and Tennant are wonderful and so is their story arc. But the rest? Ye gods and pickled catfish, not since Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies have I seen anything quite this bloated and torturous. On a weekly basis, I began to count on this series to knock me unconscious within the short side of ten minutes.

Y'know what? I have Adobe Premiere and I have this series all in digital format and I bet you ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY that I could cut it down to a two, two and a half-hour movie that was a million times better than the series.

The brainead witch-hunter played (poorly) by Michael McKeen and and his even more idiotic assistant? GONE. 

Anathama Device (who perhaps should have gone under her real name of Plot Device)? Equally useless and uninteresting -- so, GONE.

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse? Well, they have to stay in, but you watch how much better this thing would be if they had all their insanely un-funny (at least as the actors delivered it) dialogue taken away from them. Some things are just "less is more." 

Bill Patterson is a wonderful actor but his character here is 100 percent padding and a complete waste. GONE. 

There's probably a bunch of other stuff that needs to be cleaned out, but I almost certainly slept through it.

I actually got into an argument of sorts, on Facebook, with SF writer Sharon Lee, co-author of the popular Liaden Universe novels. She felt that all these tedious characters whose parts I was so eager to chop played an important part in what she considered to be the main storyline, which concerns the impending End of The World. "Oh, no no no," I said. "The main storyline is NOT the end of the world -- the main storyline is about the rule-breaking friendship between an angel (played by Michael Sheen) and a demon Crowley (played by David Tennant). The end of the world is just the McGuffin that brings their friendship into focus. You can lose or combine any amount of those boring second-string characters so long as you have the materials to move the end-of-the-world plot device forward." 

At this point I was only up to about the fourth episode, and so had to admit that the series could still prove me wrong. But now I've seen the whole mind-numbing thing, and you know what? I was NOT wrong.

Neil Gaiman is on record as saying that he tried to preserve the book when writing the series. And right there is the problem. It maybe, probably, was a delightful book. I admire Mr. Gaiman and am an enthusiast of Terry Pratchett's solo work, and so I want to believe that a collaboration by the two could be nothing short of a classic. But Good Omens the series, although technically well-made, is not wonderful and far from it. 

Movies and TV are not books and the argument needs to be made that no matter what they do to a book in adapting it to film, THE BOOK IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE THERE. You can always pick up the book and read it. The job of a movie is not to replicate a book. The job of a movie is to be its own thing, and be the best version of its own thing that it can possibly be. Good Omens, as a miniseries, is the worst, dullest, most plodding and pedantic version of itself that it can possibly be. It won't be me: but SOMEONE needs to take a scissors to it.

-- Thorn.

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