Good Omens is going beyond the book? That’s not a bad sign

Ekn 2017, when Neil Gaiman first sat down in St James’s Park, Londen, ready to start filming the television adaptation of Good Omens, his showrunner’s chair collapsed under him. "Ek dink, that’s not really a good omen,” hy het geskryf.

When Gaiman announced on Tuesday that the BBC and Amazon are making a second season of the hit show, moving beyond the novel Gaiman co-wrote with Terry Pratchett in 1990, his website collapsed under the sheer volume of traffic. I’d take that as, to quote Gaiman, a “really bloody excellent” omen.

There are concerns out there about the fact that, unlike the first season, there is no published source material for the second. But Gaiman, who is staying on as executive producer and co-showrunner, has said the sequel will follow a storyline he and Pratchett dreamed up back in 1989, while they were attending a convention in Seattle and sharing a hotel room in order to save money. It was the middle of the night, recounts Gaiman, and neither of them could sleep.

“So we lay in our respective beds and having nothing else to do, we plotted the sequel to Good Omens. It was a good one, ook. We fully intended to write it, whenever we next had three or four months free. Only I went to live in America and Terry stayed in the UK, and after Good Omens was published Sandman became SANDMAN and Discworld became DISCWORLD™ and there wasn’t ever a good time,” writes Gaiman on his (now fully functioning) blog. “But we never forgot it.”

The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, felt pretty wrapped up at the end of Good Omens, in both the book and show. But I’m not averse to finding out what happened next. As Gaiman has pointed out, we’ll also be discovering what happened before.

And the world most definitely needs more of Crowley and Aziraphale. David Tennant and Michael Sheen have agreed to continue playing their respective demon and angel characters, and the show will begin filming later this year in Scotland.

The second season will open in Soho, with the Apocalypse nicely thwarted, and “one of the angels wandering through a Soho street market with no memory of who they might be, on their way to Aziraphale’s bookshop,” says Gaiman.

Pratchett might not have a direct hand in this new series, but Rob Wilkins, who manages the Pratchett estate, has said the late author would have been delighted that a second season is under way: “Terry and Neil always knew that Crowley and Aziraphale wouldn’t remain content to appear in only one story, and long harboured plans to expand upon their adventures.” So long live Aziraphale and Crowley. En, as ever, GNU Terry Pratchett.

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