TV Series Review: Good Omens

I have a sneaking feeling that I might run across lots of mixed feelings on this one. While the two authors, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, both have huge followings, they also tend to push the boundaries of the expected into often dangerous territory. In Good Omens, what’s a more dangerous subject than the coming of the Antichrist?

Like I said, it’s loaded with ideas and history that plunges us straight into dangerous territory.

The Story

Like most good fiction, this one starts with a monumental “What if?” What if the child who was meant to grow up to be the Antichrist was accidentally switched at birth? What if the demon assigned to watch over him, has actually been watching over the wrong child?

The story centers on this demon, Crowley, and his angelic counterpart, Aziraphale. These two beings have been on Earth as representatives of Hell and Heaven respectively since the beginning of time, and have formed an unlikely friendship. Not only that, they’ve grown accustomed to the comforts of life on earth and aren’t thrilled at the prospect of the coming of Armageddon, which will end it all.

While the hosts of Heaven and Hell are eager and anxious for Armageddon to finally happen, both Crowley and Aziraphale are willing to do anything to delay it and possibly prevent it for as long as possible.

My Review

I’ll state right now that I’m a biased watcher. I’ve always enjoyed Prachett and Gaiman’s unique spin on stories and their deep dives into unique characters and what makes them tick. I’m also super biased because the two leading actors are none other than the exquisite David Tennant as Crowley, and the ever intriguing Michael Sheen as Aziraphale.

Honestly, the show itself gets forgiven a lot because of these two factors alone.

As a whole, I found the series fascinating to watch. The story is complicated and there are lots of twists and turns to keep track of, which for me is a perk. There are multiple driving forces to push and prod the story in different directions, and all of them are working against the goals of the other.

What I particularly liked is the sheer brilliance of the dialogue between Crowley and Aziraphale. The debates between them and the huge amount of history shows up in these little revealing snippets deepens their characters and the history of the world itself. They care for each other in a way that’s taken millenia to grow. It’s no surprise that most of the watchers who enjoyed the show want to see these two characters in a more serious relationship beyond friendship.

Overall, it’s a brilliant piece of work if you don’t mind diving into a story that centers around Armageddon and all its associated lore.

Recommendations

Obviously if you already enjoy Prachett and Gaiman, you are going to like this show. It has all the charm, depth, and humor you’d expect from a collaboration between the two. While it is complicated, so are most of their writings. Those who already like reading these two authors will be fine in keeping track of what’s going on.

I would warn those who have sensitive religious views to either watch the show with a grain of salt, or steer clear. It doesn’t shy away from this being an end-of-the-world type story and brings in enough theological material to support the differing world views surrounding the prophecy. This might make some watchers uncomfortable.

When it comes to objectionable material, there’s a wide but thin smattering of language, violence, and innuendo that some might find offensive but are neither remarkable or overblown. What’s there is appropriate to the situation.

I rate Good Omens a solid 4/5, a great show but you really have to pay attention.


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FanX 2018

It’s FanX weekend and the streets of downtown Salt Lake have transformed from uptight and respectable to downright weird. This season’s characters are heavily from the Marvel universe. Everywhere you look there’s a Gamora or Peter Quill. Dozens of Tenth Doctor are mixed in with a healthy assortment of stormtroopers wander through the food courts.

And I’m all for it.

In 2015 you would find me wandering the con as a snooty General Kala accompanying the fabulous Emperor Ming. Probably one of our most ambitions costumes of all time. We spent many weekends sewing and piecing together the intricate designs. We even entered the costume contest and were invited to the stage show as finalists in the group division. By the way, if you haven’t watched the 1980 Flash Gordon, you’re missing out.

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In 2016, we took out cosplay in a different direction and tried out large-scale puppetry, with a Miyazaki character affectionately known as No Face. The perk of a puppet is that hubby and I could trade who wore the puppet and who acted as the handler to make sure No Face didn’t accidentally walk into a wall or trip on anything on the floor. We designed him to grow, so at random he’d jump up to over 12 feet tall and startle anyone we happened to be nearby. He could also shrink down to about 3 feet and interact with kids.

 

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Tall No Face

 

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Mini No Face

This year we will be bringing No Face again on Friday only as he is a crowd favorite. We would have loved creating a new costume but this year has been super crazy with the kids getting older, huge projects coming to fruition, and, well, life.

If you are at FanX this weekend, give a shout out in the comments. Even better, if you are cosplaying this weekend, tell me all about it! I’d love to hear what your favorite characters are.

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Brief writing update –

We finalized the cover for my book this week, stay tuned for the big reveal!

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Getting Angsty?

In a recent book review I mentioned that angsty teenage books aren’t my thing. It’s nothing personal, I’m not into romance for the sake of romance either. For me, the stakes aren’t high enough, or at least I don’t care enough about them, for either to draw my attention.

Which is why I was really surprised when I found that my own writings and also the TV shows that I prefer watching have plenty of super angsty moments.

What’s the difference?

For me it’s motive and reach. In all stories the main character has a really big problem that he or she needs to overcome. In teenage angsty novels these problems tend to revolve around the internal needs of the teenager. She needs to feel accepted. Her boyfriend is cheating on her. She is dying of a terminal illness. He is a wimp. Her boyfriend is a vampire. Not all in the same book, although that would be awesome.

None of the problems extend beyond the main character or their immediate friends. If the worst should happen, yes it’s devastating for the character, but it the effects rarely leave the community.

In my preferred fandoms, and also in my fiction, the scope tends to be larger. The problems affect whole cities, worlds, or even universes. When something goes wrong, it threatens more than a few emotional teenagers, civilizations are at stake. The problems can include anything including universe eating temporal rifts, demon fueled armies, megalomaniac wizards, and gods squaring off against each other.

That’s not to say that the same internal problems don’t exist, they most certainly do. But they exist layered along side much bigger issues.

Last night I had my own personal angst fest with non other than our friend the Doctor. Doctor Who is a great example of how layering massive universe-sized problems alongside intense personal conflict makes for some very compelling stories.

I have a few favorite doctor moments, specifically with the 10th doctor.

In the episode Journey’s End, the season finale for the fourth season, there are lots of different angsty elements at play. It’s touted as the most tragic episode – guaranteed to give anyone the feels. The villainous Daleks have kidnapped planet Earth to create a reality bomb that will in essence destroy all matter in every universe. The Doctor has found several of his previous companions to come help avert the crisis. These include Rose Tyler, the companion he loved and lost; Donna Noble, the closest person he’s had to a best friend; and Martha Jones, the woman who loved him but he didn’t love back.

In the course of the episode a second Doctor is created, who is essentially a clone except for one vital difference – he is not a Time Lord and will age and die like a human.

I’m a sucker for a good tragic character. I love Hamlet, Frodo, and now, the Doctor. In Journey’s End. The angst comes from the multitude of problems that can’t be solved without sacrifice. The Daleks must be defeated to save Earth. Rose must be returned to her own parallel world. Donna, being human, cannot sustain having the knowledge of a Time Lord.

The Doctor must sacrifice his love for Rose by sending her off with the clone doctor to repair the rift in time. To save his best friend Donna’s life, he must remove all knowledge of himself from her mind, and lose her forever. His clone has committed genocide on the Daleks, getting him, a man who abhors violence, named the Destroyer of Worlds. In essence, everything that is important to him is ripped away and he is left alone once more. doc who rain

Take that teenage angst! I know it’s unrealistic, but it’s oh so good.

My Gift to you – Memes with the Doctor

Happy Memorial Day weekend! If you are reading this I hope it is while you are driving somewhere fabulous and are desparate for some entertainment. I take that back, don’t do anything on your smartphone whiile driving. However, should you be a passenger in a car driving some intolerable distance here is some much needed entertainment, enjoy!

Ok, I admit, I would have liked to have a few more of these, but I, myself, am trapped in a car driving an intolerable distance with my whole darling family. These make me happy.

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Doctor Who – Farewell to David Tennant

doctor-who-more-smith-tennant-570x294As I have recently revealed, I have started watching the ever famous Doctor Who. Although I would love to take in whole seasons in single sittings, life has a way of keeping things in check.  I just finished the fourth season and watched the passing of the torch from David Tennant to Matt Smith in the bittersweet episode “The End of Time.”

You can’t help but fall in love with the tenth Doctor. He’s witty, vibrant, intense, deep, and a touch unstable there at the end. All of the Doctors before him share many of these traits but the Tenth deserves the title of the ultimate Doctor, the one who by his brilliance, defines the rest. He had a flair for the dramatic paired with moments of tenderness and deep felt caring that endeared him to everyone around him.

It will be hard to accept Matt Smith as the doctor, at least at first.  Although I expect it to be about the same as when Christopher Eccleston regenerated to David Tennant. There will be that awkward period where it just doesn’t feel right for anyone else to step into the previous doctor’s shoes. No one likes change, and this is no exception.

Here’s to the next series, I’m looking forward to more adventure, thrills, goofy aliens, and all that space timey-wimey stuff. And Amy Pond, I hear she’s awesome.