Earlier this year, more than 20,000 people signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens, claiming that the fantasy series represented “another step to make Satanism appear normal, light and acceptable”, and that it “mocks God’s wisdom”.
There were a couple of problems with the campaign, though. One, the petition was calling for the cancellation of a show that wasn’t intended to run to a second season anyway. Second, and more importantly, it was asking Netflix to drop the show… when it was actually released by its streaming rival Amazon Prime Video.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Neil Gaiman – co-author of the original Good Omens novel with Terry Pratchett and showrunner on the TV version – called the misdirected petition “the best thing in the world”… and he means it.
“I really would’ve loved to have sent a box of chocolates to whoever organised it – they probably would have thought that I was being sarcastic, but it was the best thing in the world,” Gaiman said.
“It demonstrated that the people who sign petitions to get shows removed don’t actually watch those shows – if anybody at any point involved in that petition had seen Good Omens, they would’ve known how silly their petition was, but also if anybody had seen Good Omens, they would’ve known it was on Amazon Prime!
“But what it did for us was become the most amazing and effective promotional tool I could’ve imagined, because everywhere in the world where they have the kind of news show where they ask you questions about what’s in the newspapers, there would be a Good Omens question, which would mention that it was an Amazon Prime show and told people it existed and told people where to go and watch it.
Michael Sheen as Aziraphale in Good Omens (Amazon, BBC)
“I thought that was honestly quite marvellous. And the truth is, if anybody is actually going to petition because Frances McDormand is the voice of God, or because Adam and Eve are black, I think that tells you more about the people who are petitioning than it does about the show.”
Gaiman also told us how Good Omens fans helped one key sequence reach the screen, and revealed how he was surprised by the response to Crowley (David Tennant) and Aziraphale’s (Michael Sheen) relationship.
Good Omens is available to pre-order now on DVD and Blu-ray (as a standard edition and special steelbook)