The first scene shown to the audience at Prime Video Presents sees demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale observing the first two humans as they stumble through a desert.
If the book is any guide, this is set to be one of the earliest exchanges between the two main characters in the series.
“Didn’t you have a flaming sword?” demon Crowley asks angel Aziraphale. After some humming and hawing, the good angel admits to having given it to Adam and Eve to protect themselves.
“There were vicious animals! It’s going to be cold out there, and she’s expecting already, and I said, ‘Here you go, flaming sword. Don’t thank me and don’t let the sun go down on you here.’ I do hope I didn’t do the wrong thing…”
Neil Gaiman has previously mentioned that “of course Adam and Eve would be black,” telling Entertainment Weekly that Africa would provide the setting for the Garden of Eden.
For Crowley’s part, he’s worried about whether he got things right in tempting Eve with the apple. That would be bad, because as a demon he’s meant to only do the wrong thing…
David Tennant has snake eyes
The other notable thing about this scene: David Tennant and his freaky scary snake eyes. The actor has revealed that he wears contact lenses for the role which give his eyes a narrow, slitted appearance.
We should probably have expected this given that the novel describes “yellow eyes with slitted vertical pupils” – but so far in promo shots the demon’s eyes have been firmly hidden behind dark sunglasses.
Tennant’s version of Crowley also has black wings and long red hair, while Michael Sheen sports the white wings and robes of the heavenly Aziraphale. Of course, by the time they both arrive in the 21st century they’ll have updated their looks a little bit…
Miranda Richardson is spot on as Madame Tracy
We have to say, Miranda Richardson makes a glorious Madame Tracy. As fans of the book know, the self-proclaimed psychic medium is both friend and nemesis of witchfinder Shadwell. One preview clip from the series reveals Madame Tracy in her element.
During a seance in her flat, she claims to be in touch with a spirit who wants to talk to one of her clients. He might be called John, or Jim, or Steve, or Dave… Then suddenly, she’s actually channelling a temporarily disembodied angel, ie Aziraphale. It’s quite a shock for Tracy’s regular customers.
Jon Hamm makes his debut as Archangel Gabriel
So for you, for me, for all of us. FOR PEOPLE NOT YET BORN. This is what Jon Hamm looks like as the Angel Gabriel in the upcoming TV series of GOOD OMENS. A thing of beauty, and a joy for ever. pic.twitter.com/OK84PDZXLs
“I would like to purchase one of your material objects… Books,” says a extremely handsome American dressed in white and blue, striding into a London bookshop. “Let us discuss my purchase in a private place, because I am buying – pornography.”
This strange man in the third scene is actually the Archangel Gabriel, as played by Jon Hamm.
Fans of the novel won’t recognise Gabriel, and that’s because he doesn’t exist in the book. As Gaiman explained: “I decided to steal from all of the stuff that Terry [Pratchett] and I had made up but we’d never used, and one of those things was angels.
“There aren’t any other angels in the book, but Terry and I had this whole idea of what Heaven was like and what Hell was like and I thought – Gabriel. And in order for Gabriel to be Gabriel, he needed to be the best-looking, coolest, the most irritating angel that you could possibly imagine, and I thought, ‘I just need somebody who can do humour’.
“And I thought, obviously the good-looking bit is going to be a stretch for Jon – but he can do the other bits!”
The show is very British
The series will be released globally on Amazon Prime Video and includes a cast of stars from around the world – but that didn’t stop the creators including plenty of references that might not quite be familiar to anyone outside of the UK.
Prime example: when Gabriel’s companion sniffs Aziraphale’s bookshop and pronounces that “something smells evil”, the proprietor quickly covers his tracks by saying, “Oh, that’ll be the Jeffery Archer books I’m afraid.”
For those not in the loop, Jeffrey Archer is a former Conservative politician who became mired in a financial scandal and later turned his hand to novel writing, selling hundreds of millions of copies despite a complete lack of critical acclaim.
Crowley and Aziraphale have excellent chemistry
It’s always nerve-wracking when a beloved novel is adapted as a film or TV show, but the excellent news for Good Omens fans is that the central relationship in the story – between Tennant as Crowley and Sheen as Aziraphale – appears to have made the leap from page to screen extremely effectively.
From their scene together, David Tennant and Michael Sheen are the ideal double act, and the pair were quick to praise each other’s work after the clip had aired.
“When I think about playing this character, this is the only thing I’ve ever done when I don’t think about it in terms of the character, I think about it as us, as a relationship,” Sheen said of his co-star. “I’ve never experienced that before.”
“We did know each other but we’d never worked together,” explained Tennant, adding that he was initially nervous about having to share so much screen time together. “What if we just rub up against each other all the wrong way?
“But mercifully, we found a rhythm very quickly,” he said.
“We found where these characters live, and the way they sort of exist with each other – their dependancy on each other,” he added. “It was a joy.”
Good Omens will air on the BBC and Amazon Prime Video in early 2019