The third episode of Good Omens, the Amazon series about a demon and angel who totally aren’t in love with each other at the End of Days, features a cold open that lasts a good 28 minutes.
Seriously, 28 minutes go by before the opening credits even roll.
In those 28 minutes, we see Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), the angel who “accidentally” gave Adam and Eve his flaming sword, and Crowley (David Tennant), the demon who just happened to be the serpent in Eden, come together over the centuries since the Fall. In a series of clever vignettes, the angel and demon discuss just how to go about their agendas with the least amount of work possible.
Crowely, you see, has reasoned that since the two of them seem to directly work against each other in the eternal battle of heaven and hell, they might as well just kick back and enjoy everything the world has to offer. Besides, it’s not like the bureaucracies they work for will notice, as long as the paperwork shows up.
This conclusion plays out over centuries, from the Crucifixion, through revolutions, world wars, and the 1960’s. The whole sequence is pretty brilliantly realized, and a lot of the credit for that goes to Good Omens costume designer Claire Anderson and Production Designer Michael Ralph. The two of them spoke with IndieWire about the work they did on the Amazon series.
Good Omens: The Devil is in the Details
One of the most important things for the designers was to establish the overall feel of Aziraphale and Crowley, and maintain that throughout Good Omens. Anderson felt it important that certain visual ques stayed in play throughout the series:
“They had to appear instantly recognizable whilst they fit comfortably within the period. We started with the contemporary look of the actors and talked about how they largely saw themselves through the bulk of the show.”
Some of that was easy- Crowley has serpent eyes, which are either visible, or completely covered by dark glasses. Others are far less obvious- Sheen’s costuming often reflects Aziraphel’s angelic origins, whether it be through broad lapels or the texture of his clothing. Crowley’s clothing is always black, and often times looks like scales:
“Aziriphale’s top hat is like a feathery velvet. And he wears big lapels on his jacket, representing wings. He also has a little stopwatch with angel’s wings on the chain and a signet ring. Crowley wears a long-lined Victorian dress jacket cut to his physique. He also has a dark shirt with dark stock, so there’s no light in him at all. His glasses are early welders with a side piece and are tinted to prevent anyone from seeing his eyes.”
On the production design side of things, Ralph tried to be as authentic as possible with his shooting locations for Good Omens. The Crucifixion and Noah’s Arc scenes were shot in Africa, while the scene shot at the Globe Theater was shot entirely on location:
“I don’t think anyone missed out on feeling the weight of making a piece within the performance space, which is, in many ways, the first great theater. As you could well imagine, we were limited by time and by the fabric of the location. We could produce ground coverage and played with what was there. It was a matter of breaking it down slightly by using leaves or rubble on the ground to give ourselves a little bit more of an edge to it, and to remove anything that was tourist friendly and gave us more of the period to work with.”
This all led to an epic origin story of sorts, forming the backdrop of the longest lasting romance story in the history of popular fiction.
Good Omens is currently playing on Amazon’s Prime Video service, and it’s a whole lot of fun… and very faithful to its source material. The series is based off of the book of the same name, which was first published by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in 1990. Gaiman is the show runner for the series, and did an amazing job of making sure the tone of the novel was captured. If you’re a fan of British humor, this is most definitely your cup of tea!