After almost three decades of waiting, the first collaborative novel between Sir Terry Pratchett (Discworld novels) and Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Stardust, and Coraline) is finally being made for television! Development for an adaptation of Good Omens began in 2002 as a film, but the project remained somewhat mired in development hell for years. By 2008, the project appeared dead in the water. Fortunately, for fans and pretty much everyone else who appreciates amazing fantasy fiction, Amazon greenlit the series, which is set to premiere sometime in 2018.
For those unfamiliar with the book, first of all, shame on you! Secondly, the novel tells the story of the apocalypse as prophesied in the Book of Revelations. Of course, the tone of the book is comedic and tells the tale of the birth of the son of Satan, which would bring about the end of days. An angel named Aziraphale and a demon called Crowley have grown quite accustomed to the lives they had been living on Earth these past few thousand years and decide to work together to forestall the so-called apocalypse.
Good Omens was the first, and sadly, the only collaboration between Pratchett and Gaiman, who had been friends since the mid-1980s. They decided to work together on the project and pitched it to their publisher. The pair worked together via telephone and mail—shipping disks back and forth for each other to work on. By the time they had completed it, Pratchett wrote about 60% and maintained the master copy to ensure the editing and flow came together well. The book was a huge success for both writers and helped propel Gaiman’s work into Hollywood.
Gaiman’s success with Good Omens led to rumors that a film or television series might be made, but producers and financiers were unwilling to back the project. Fast-forward a few years and Gaiman’s books Stardust and Coraline turned into critical and financial successes while Pratchett’s work with the Discworld series continued to grow. This helped to kick up more talk about a Good Omens adaptation in 2011, but the project again stalled. Sadly, Pratchett succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, which made an adaptation seem more difficult moving forward. In his will, Pratchett posthumously requested Gaiman write an adaptation so their work could finally be adapted to television. He began working on a six-part miniseries in 2016 and as we now know, Amazon scooped it up.
“Almost thirty years ago,” Gaiman explains in Amazon’s official statement, “Terry Pratchett and I wrote the funniest novel we could about the end of the world, populated with angels and demons, not to mention an eleven-year old Antichrist, witchfinders and the four horsepeople of the Apocalypse. It became many people’s favourite book. Three decades later, it’s going to make it to the screen. I can’t think of anyone we’d rather make it with than BBC Studios, and I just wish Sir Terry were alive to see it.”
Good Omens will be split into six, one-hour episodes to form a miniseries for Amazon Prime set to debut in its entirety sometime in 2018. Gaiman will also act as the showrunner and will, therefore maintain creative control. Teaming up with Amazon will be the BBC, which will help in production efforts in England. For fans of the English writing pair, there will definitely be much rejoicing!
In addition to Good Omens, Gaiman’s hit novel American Gods is also being adapted for television for Starz. Nerdbastards covered the premiere of the trailer for this series, which you can check out right here.