My younger sister is a much tougher critic than I am. She also, however, does not really enjoy movies or TV. So, when she actually wanted to watch a show, Mom and I obliged. My sister’s pick was Good Omens, a comedy about the end of the world.
Streaming on Amazon, Good Omens follows the unusual friendship between an angel, Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), and a demon, Crowley (David Tennant), from the Garden of Eden to the last days before Armageddon. As the two scramble to find the antichrist, a fairly ordinary boy named Adam (Sam Taylor Buck), they are each tripped up by other angels and demons, including a very frustrated Gabriel (Jon Hamm), as well as meddling mortals such as a young witch named Anathema (Adria Arjona).
If you’ve ever read a book by Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett, you know they have quirky senses of humor. This series, based on a book they wrote together, has that trademark humor. The dialogue is quick and witty and there are plenty of whimsical visual gags as well. At the heart of the humor and the story is the friendship between Aziraphale and Crowley, opposites in about every way except for their love of human culture (albeit different facets of it). While Crowley drives in a vintage car, soundtracked by Queen, and saunters around like an aging rock star, Aziraphale dresses like a Dickens character and runs an antique bookshop. The aesthetic and clever repartee they provide the show are wonderful. Fans of NBC’s The Good Place will love this miniseries too.
My major complaint about Good Omens is that once the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse arrive and the situation is dire, everything falls together too easily. You could hiccup and miss parts of the resolution, and the final battle feels like a blip. It was very little action for such a big problem. Having not read the book, I wonder if that was a problem of adaptation.
Good Omens was created by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, based on their novel of the same name. It runs for six one-hour episodes and is rated TV-MA.
In Netflix’s The Politician, a high school senior, Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) has oriented his entire life around the dream of being elected President of the United States. First, he has to get elected Student Body President. On his road to Election Day, he is supported by his preppy girlfriend, Alice (Julia Schlaepfer); friends and campaign staffers, McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss) and James (Theo Germaine); and his mother, Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow). His political opponent is the unlikely candidate Astrid (Lucy Boynton), who takes over the campaign of her boyfriend, River (David Corenswet), after his untimely death. Adding to the intrigue is Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch) and her grandmother (Jessica Lange), who seem to have wandered into the story from Hulu’s The Act.
The Politician is a soap opera-like satire on political culture that looks like a cross of the cult classic film Election with The OC. The show is very sleek and glossy but also has offbeat elements reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie. I liked it so much more than I thought I would. It took a couple of episodes to get me hooked, but then I was glued to the intrigue and am eagerly awaiting season 2.
Many of the characters on the show are pretty standard tropes for this genre, but with a twist. For example, Payton is a cold, ambitious rich kid, but he wants to succeed on his own merits, not through his father’s fortune and, in the end, he has a heart under all that pedigree. Ultimately, most of the characters have a heart under their privilege and part of the fun of the show is watching the tropes collide with their feelings.
My favorite episode of the season was “The Voter”, which is about half as long as the other episodes, and follows one student during Election Day. He could not care less about the election but is hounded by campaign staffers from each camp, who view him as an undecided voter to swing in their favor. The episode is a funny send-up of how campaigns run and gives an outsider’s view of the characters that the audience has been following for the previous four episodes.
The Politician was created by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy. The first season runs for eight episodes and is rated TV-MA.