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Who’s Who in Amazon’s Good Omens

Know your angels from your demons in the Neil Gaiman-led miniseries
  • David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens (Amazon)
    David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens (Amazon)

    Expect quite a few loopy things from Amazon’s new miniseries Good Omens, based on the 1990 novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It’s a story about an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) who are trying to stop the Antichrist from setting off Armageddon, mostly because they’ve gotten used to Earth’s pleasures and aren’t keen on going back to Heaven and Hell.

    After co-author Pratchett’s death in 2015, Gaiman took on the challenge of leading the long-in-production screen version himself, acting as showrunner and writer on all six episodes. Rather than winnowing out a lot of characters and streamlining the narrative, the miniseries is adding some elements while retaining the Douglas Adams-meets-Revelations vibe of the original novel.

    Here are some of the major characters from Good Omens and what they’re up to as the end of the world draws near (not listed are cameos from actors playing William Shakespeare, the Biblical Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ, and George W. Bush):

    Aziraphale (Michael Sheen). A fastidious, bow-tie wearing angel with bright white hair, he owns a bookstore as an excuse to collect books and not actually sell them to anyone. Not purely angelic all the time.

    Crowley (David Tennant). In demon form, Crowley has orange eyes with black slits, a callback to his snake form. (Get it? Crowley / Crawly?) On Earth, Crowley drives a fast sports car, wears sunglasses all the time, and enjoys Earth’s music, wine, and tech innovations. Not really a bad dude at all, once you get to know him.

    God / Narrator (Frances McDormand). The book’s clever wordplay, silly theological asides, and many funny footnotes are worked in via McDormand’s narration, supplemented with expository animation and montages.

    Gabriel (Jon Hamm). Very high billing for a character only mentioned once in the book. But it’s Jon Hamm. The angel Gabriel has been added to the story as a stand-in for the bureaucratic workings of Heaven, applying pressure on Aziraphale to keep this Armageddon war thing moving along.

    Sandalphon (Paul Chahidi). Another adaptation addition, this angel is Gabriel’s right-hand muscle.

    Hastur (Ned Dennehy). A Duke of Hell. All demons are bad by nature, but Hastur a particularly mean one and he’s not a fan of Crowley.

    Ligur (Ariyon Bakare). Hastur’s partner in going above-and-beyond in the scary-ass-demon department .

    Anathema Device (Adria Arjona). A young woman who spent her entire childhood studying the very accurate prophecies of her ancestor Agnes Nutter (more on her below). Anathema and her family have known the end times are coming and they’ve been puzzling out Nutter’s bizarre book language for hundreds of years.

    Agnes Nutter (Josie Lawrence). Her book of on-the-money revelations drives a lot of the story, but her prophecies are sometimes open to interpretation. She was burned at the stake in the 1600s but doesn’t mind too much because, well, she saw it coming.

    Adam Young (Sam Taylor Buck). Involved in a Satanic switcheroo at birth. As a preteen, he’s the leader of a group of four troublemaking kids that people in their town simply call “Them.” His friends Pepper (Amma Ris), Brian (Ilan Galkoff), and Wensleydale (Alfie Taylor) round out the group.

    Deirdre Young (Sian Brooke) and Arthur Young (Daniel Mays). Parents of Adam Young, who may be dealing with powers they have no way of understanding.

    Sister Mary Loquacious (Nina Sosanya). A nun from the Sisters of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl involved in the scheme to switch out babies after the birth of the Antichrist.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. More apt to ride motorcycles than horses in this era, they are Death (Brian Cox); arms dealer and journalist War (Mireille Enos), Pollution, who took over for Pestilence (Lourdes Faberes); and diet guru Famine (Yusuf Gatewood).

    Newton Pulsifer (Jack Whitehall). A nerd even by Neil Gaiman nerd standards, Newton gets involved in witch hunting as a bad career move and learns that his family has ties to Agnes Nutter’s prophecies.

    Shadwell (Michael McKean). A thick-accented witch hunter who takes Newton under his dirty, crusty wing. Not a great boss.

    Madame Tracy (Miranda Richardson). Shadwell’s sweet neighbor, she makes a living with not-very-extreme dominatrix sessions and fortune telling.

    International Express Man (Simon Merrells). A delivery person tasked with handing out assignments to the Four Horsemen..

    Metatron (Derek Jacobi). Metatron is the plural Voice of God, but not the literal voice of God. “Rather like a presidential spokesman,” a book footnote explains.

    Satan (Benedict Cumberbatch). The head demon in charge.

    Freddie Mercury (Ben Crowe). Yes. The late lead singer of Queen.

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    Omar L. Gallaga is a longtime technology and culture writer with bylines in The Wall Street Journal, NPR's All Tech Considered blog, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, CNN and the beloved TV websites Television Without Pity and Previously.tv. He's a former newspaper journalist who now lives in New Braunfels, Texas. You can find him on Twitter @OmarG. 

    TOPICS: Good Omens, Amazon, David Tennant, Frances McDormand, Jon Hamm, Michael Sheen, Neil Gaiman