Good Omens, the fantasy novel produced by a collaboration between fantasy novel heavyweights Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, is coming to the small screen at last. CBR is reporting that Amazon has picked up the 1990 novel as a miniseries in collaboration with the BBC. Gaiman will serve as producer and showrunner of the series.
The novel, whose full title is Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, is the kind of novel that could only come from the minds of Gaiman and Pratchett. Set at the cusp of the Apocalypse, the book follows a collaboration between an angel and a demon to prevent the coming End of Times, as well as plots involving the titular witch Agnes Nutter and a classic switched-at-birth tale in which one of the mixed-up children is the Anti-Christ.
Gaiman originally said he would not adapt the novel without Pratchett, but the Discworld author was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. Subsequently, Good Omens was adapted first as a stage production in 2013, then as a radio series in 2014. That series aired on BBC Radio 4 and featured cameos by both Gaiman and Pratchett. Pratchett died the next year: March 12, 2015.
One month after Pratchett’s death, the Guardian reported that, at a memorial service for the beloved author, Gaiman announced that his longtime friend had made a posthumous request for him to adapt the story to television. Gaiman consented and announced his intentions to write a television adaptation of the novel.
The history of trying to adapt the novel for the screen is a long and winding road. A film adaptation of Good Omens was in the works in Hollywood for a long time. Director Terry Gilliam was attached to the project as early as 2002, with a script all ready to go and casting rumors flying. But the project never really got off the ground. Gaiman wrote in his blog on March 22, 2002, that the film simply needed a studio to financially commit to making it, but no one had done so yet.
In 2008, Gilliam spoke to Empire about the film as well as his dreams of a Don Quixote film adaptation. He was optimistic about the film getting a second chance due to the then-recent successes of Stardust (an adaptation of one of Gaiman’s novels) and Beowulf (which Gaiman co-wrote). But that was more or less the last time anyone spoke about adapting Good Omens for a while.
Announcing the birth of Narrativia – a production company run by myself, Rod Brown & @terryandrob. First up are Good Omens & The Watch.
— Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) August 27, 2012
Then, in 2012, Terry Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna announced on Twitter the creation of a new production company, Narrativia, which would be devoted to adapting her father’s works. A subsequent tweet indicated that Good Omens would be a TV movie. This followed from rumors the previous year, posted by Digital Spy, that Pratchett was working to adapt the novel to the screen again. But nothing concrete has emerged from these announcements, leaving the project hanging once again.
Neil Gaiman is having another golden moment this year, as his classic novel, American Gods, is being adapted to the screen at Starz by fan favorite television producer Bryan Fuller. Stardust was also adapted as a radio series for the BBC, and Gaiman continues to shine in prose, releasing a collection of nonfiction essays (The View From the Cheap Seats) last year and preparing to release a retelling of Norse mythology tales in February 2017.
Amazon’s pickup of Good Omens indicates the company’s commitment to speculative fiction as well, thanks in part to the success of their adaptation of the alternate-history novel The Man in the High Castle. Amazon and Neil Gaiman hope to have Good Omens ready for 2018.
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