Season 2 of Good Omens premieres July 28 on Prime Video.
Amazon’s adaptation of Good Omens completed the material from the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in season 1. However, Gaiman and co-showrunner and director Douglas Mackinnon have successfully made the first five episodes of season 2 feel like a seamless continuation of the apocalyptic comedy. While the series is at its strongest when focusing on the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the demon Crowley (David Tennant), it noticeably dips in quality when they are not on screen.
Season 2 of Good Omens starts off with Aziraphale and Crowley settled back on Earth after averting armageddon in the first season. However, their peace is disrupted when the supreme archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm), who has lost his memories, arrives at Aziraphale’s bookshop. This sets off a new comedic conflict between Heaven and Hell that Aziraphale and Crowley must navigate with their unique blend of amusing banter and lighthearted schemes.
Gabriel, a standout supporting character from season 1, receives an expanded role brilliantly portrayed by Hamm. He brings earnest vulnerability to the role as he seeks Aziraphale’s protection. Flashbacks showcasing his unwavering commitment to Heaven’s questionable desires highlight the danger that lies beneath his jovial facade.
Gabriel proves to be a much stronger narrative element compared to the other returning angelic characters, whose scenes in the white offices of Heaven consist mainly of dull exposition. Similarly, the soul-sucking bureaucracy of Hell improves this season with Beelzebub (Shelley Conn) taking on a new form and visibly pursuing her own agenda. The funniest scenes that don’t involve Crowley and Aziraphale directly are the continuation of the Blitz plot from season 1. Three dead Nazi spies are given the chance to postpone their eternal torture and return to Earth as zombies. The glimpse into Hell and their subsequent antics in London bear the goofy charm reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead.
Several other actors from season 1 return in new roles with mixed results. Miranda Richardson takes on the role of the ambitious demon Shax, adding a solid performance but feeling like a lesser version of Michelle Gomez’s portrayal of Lilith in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Additionally, Nina Sosanya and Maggie Service, who were hilarious as satanic nuns in the previous season, have more screen time but less to do as shopkeepers caught in Aziraphale’s matchmaking attempts. While the plot aims to explore Aziraphale’s feelings for Crowley, the characters, both named Maggie and Nina, lack sufficient development over the course of five episodes to determine whether they would make a good couple without supernatural intervention. The handling of Nina’s current partner through angry and paranoid text messages feels particularly clumsy.
However, Good Omens shines when Tennant and Sheen’s chemistry takes center stage. One of the most memorable sections of season 1, depicting the development of Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship across time, was not present in the book. Season 2 leans into this dynamic as it showcases their silly yet poignant adventures together, spanning from the Big Bang to graverobbing.
This season presents a compelling mystery, albeit with a potentially cheesy conclusion about the power of love. The real highlights lie in moments like Aziraphale excitedly sharing a clue with a weary Crowley, and Crowley consuming six shots of espresso, brimming with manic energy as he frantically attempts to rescue his eternal partner from yet another predicament.
Co-written by Gaiman and John Finnemore, Good Omens may not possess the sharpness of The Good Place, but it employs a similar formula—a zany exploration of morality and the potential for change. The biblical tale of Job, a righteous man who lost everything due to a bet between God and Satan, serves as a means to tackle profound philosophical concepts like how evil prevails in the absence of action and the significance of rebelling against an unjust system.
In Good Omens, Job’s story involves adorable lizards, the return of Frances McDormand as the condescending voice of God, Crowley tempting Aziraphale with a plate of ribs, and Gabriel confidently explaining the process of baby-making. This narrative approach skillfully satirizes religion, reminiscent of Kevin Smith’s Dogma, while anchoring the story in the relationship between Crowley and Aziraphale, proving how they can positively influence each other and the entire universe.