Last week I squeeeeee’d with delight (repeatedly, at length and at a pitch painful to human hearing) about the speculation and subsequent confirmation that the lead roles of Aziraphale and Crowley for the forthcoming adaptation of Good Omens had been filled by Michael Sheen and David Tennant respectively.
There’s always a degree of apprehension about adaptations – time and again we’ve seen that even with the ‘right’ team in place it can all go horribly wrong or, even if objectively brilliant, if it doesn’t quite meet your own internalised picture of ‘how it should be’ it can feel a bit off, a bit uncomfortable, not quite perfect.
I think one of the key things that Good Omens has going for it in this respect is that different parts are already different things to the same person, never mind different people. There’s the different styles contributed by the two authors of course, but beyond that there’s a substantial cast of characters careening across multiple scenarios that move between the sublime and the ridiculous (and many that manage to be both at the same time!) It’s part fantasy, part sci-fi, part comedy, satire, drama, philosophy – and a whole lot of insightful social observation and commentary.
Reading it, there may well be parts, or characters, or other elements that you don’t like as much as the others, but I’ve yet to come across anyone who didn’t have a lot they loved about it. Most people re-read it. And re-read it. And re-read it. I think studies have shown it’s just about the most “borrowed” and “redistributed” book ever (it’s certainly anecdotally true).
Now, I could at this point draw lots of analogies about how this aligns with my philosophy of magic – trying different combinations, incorporating different influences, keeping an open mind and learning new things. But instead I’m just going to say READ THE BOOK*. As soon as you can. Definitely before the adaptation. Or re-read it (to whatever exponential you’re currently up to). It’ll be worth it, trust me.
*And I currently don’t have any, probably precisely because I tell this to anyone who’ll listen (and, in fact, also those who won’t) but will be getting more soon, if you want one specifically ordered just drop me a line