Good Omens, Amazon Prime

On paper, a collaboration between fantasy authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is so mouth-watering a prospect that it’s hard to believe it could ever have come about. But it did, in 1990 novel Good Omens, a comic tale about the coming of the Apocalypse written two-thirds by Pratchett (his estimate) and one third by Gaiman.

Unsurprisingly, adaptations have been mooted for decades. But in finally bringing it to the small screen Amazon Video have made two very sensible decisions. First, they’ve employed Gaiman to come up with the screenplay. Second, they’ve doubled the wow factor by putting another dream-team in front of the camera: David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Two of our most watchable actors, they bring a gleeful, Lemon-and-Matthau-in-The-Odd-Couple feel to this offbeat tale of angels and demons, directed by Scot Douglas Mackinnon.

The story centres on a hunt for the Antichrist. He was supposed to have been delivered to an unsuspecting American diplomat 11 years earlier by some evil nuns but instead there was a mix up and he ended up with a nice middle-class family in suburban Oxfordshire instead. Oops.

Tennant is Crawley, the demon who tempted Adam and Eve and the person who cocked up the delivery. Sheen is Aziraphele, an angel with a taste for fine food and wine. It was his job to guard Eden’s East Gate (soft-hearted fool that he is, he let Adam and Eve leave the grounds) and in the postlapsarian era his mission is to keep an eye on the dissolute Crawley, who races around London in a vintage jalopy like a carrot-topped Cruella de Vil.

Heaven and Hell are characterised as head offices overly concerned with paperwork and in a winning series of flashbacks in episode three the pair came to an accommodation about working together to ensure they both did the bare minimum of “work”. Besides, as Crawley pointed in a scene set during the French Revolution, humans made a good job of the whole death, destruction and mayhem thing without his help.

The show jumps around a lot, through time and celestial planes mostly, and by the end of episode two there was a dizzying number of other characters in play, among them young witch Anathema Device (Adria Arjona), who has a book of prophesies and is tasked with finding the Antichrist, and apprentice witch-hunter Newton Pulsifer (Jack Whitehall).

But it’s never less than terrific fun and there’s a starry supporting cast to help things along, headed by Frances McDormand as the voice of God, Jon Hamm as the officious Archangel Gabriel and Anna Maxwell Martin as Beelzebub. Satan is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

The show is currently streaming as a boxset, but for the Amazon Prime-less among you there’s a chance to catch all six episodes in a free event at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 29. Good Omens is also scheduled to air on BBC Two later in the year. Do not miss it.