Good Omens – Season 2

As you probably all know, Gaiman and Pratchett had plans for a follow-up to Good Omens, but their careers took off so fast that neither of them had the time to make it happen. When the TV series was a success, Gaiman used those plans as the basis for a second series. Exactly what was in those plans is unknown, and doubtless fans will argue endlessly over it, but the important question is whether the resulting series lived up to the standards set by the first. Well reader, I was delighted with it.

Of course, the chemistry between David Tennant and Michael Sheen is so good that things could hardly go wrong. They continue to be absolutely amazing. But there is a plot. The set-up is that the Archangel Gabriel turns up at Aziraphale’s shop one day, stark naked, and carrying a cardboard box. It appears that the Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Host has lost his memory, and his powers.

In Heaven, Gabriel’s absence is a problem to be urgently solved. Michael and Uriel are on the case, though they are also vying with each other for the role of Supreme Commander. Word of problems in Heaven also reaches Hell, and Beelzebub is keen to know what’s up. Inevitably suspicion falls on Aziraphale and Crowley.

This process introduces two new characters. Miranda Richardson has an absolute whale of a time playing the ambitious demon, Shax, who has taken over Crowley’s role on Earth now that he’s in disgrace. Heaven sends a very junior and naïve angel called Muriel, beautifully played by Quelin Sepulveda.

Maggie Service and Nina Sosanya, who played chattering nuns in the first series, get new roles as shopkeepers in Whickber Street. Maggie runs a record shop that is kept afloat by Aziraphale because no one else buys vinyl (this, I suspect, is a survival from the original Gaiman/Pratchett plan, because that’s a ludicrous idea these days). Nina runs a busy coffee shop and is plagued by a controlling girlfriend. Part of the plot requires Crowley and Aziraphale to get them to fall in love. This is an opportunity for farce.

The early episodes involve our heroes trying to find out what has happened to Gabriel. Some of this involves flashbacks to past times when they have worked together. These are the serious bits of plot, which are used to illustrate the complexity of moral judgement (and the cavalier attitude of Heaven towards humans). There’s a definite Sandman feel to them.

Things start to come a head in episode 5, in which Aziraphale turns a street shopkeepers’ association meeting into a Jane Austen style ball as a ruse to get Maggie and Nina to fall in love, while Shax is given permission to recruit an army of demons to storm the bookshop and seize Gabriel.

Then comes episode 6, in which revelations follow each other at rollercoaster pace. You really do not want to be spoilered for this, because Gaiman heads off in totally unexpected directions. I sat there in front of the TV with my jaw on the floor. You will probably do the same. Enjoy!

And yes, it looks like there will be a series 3. Or rather, there had bloody better be.