Tuesday 23 July 2019

'Promise me you won’t tell them?' - Neil Gaiman responds to news outraged Christians called on Netflix to cancel Amazon Prime series Good Omens

Michael Sheen as Aziraphale the angel and David Tennant as the demon Crowley (Amazon Prime Video/PA)
Michael Sheen as Aziraphale the angel and David Tennant as the demon Crowley (Amazon Prime Video/PA)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

More than 20,000 outraged Christians signed a petition calling on Netflix to cancel Neil Gaiman's series Good Omens, which actually airs on rival streaming service Amazon Prime Video.

The six-part series, which launched globally on May 31, is based on the book by the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman which follows an Angel (Michael Sheen) and Demon (David Tennant) who are forced to form an alliance to stop Armageddon.

Christian group Return to Order launched the petition (which since appears to have been removed), which was addressed to Netflix, to the amusement of both Gaiman and fans of the series.

The group is unhappy with the fact that angels and demons are portrayed as friends and that the son of Satan is portrayed as a "normal kid".  They also have an issue with the fact that God is voiced by a woman (Frances McDormand).

Michael Sheen (left) and David Tennant attending the premiere of Good Omens at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 28, 2019. Good Omens is an adaptation of the book co-authored by Neil Gaiman and the late Sir Terry Pratchett. See PA story SHOWBIZ Omens. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Michael Sheen (left) and David Tennant attending the premiere of Good Omens at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 28, 2019. Good Omens is an adaptation of the book co-authored by Neil Gaiman and the late Sir Terry Pratchett. See PA story SHOWBIZ Omens. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

"The Netflix series Good Omens portrays the agents of Good and Evil as fighters in an arbitrary struggle devoid of meaning and truth," the petition read. "This series presents devils and Satanists as normal and even good, where they merely have a different way of being, and mocks God's wisdom."

The petition also claimed that the show is attempting to make Satanism appear "normal, light and acceptable". 

Neil Gaiman with the cast, director and producer of Good Omens (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Neil Gaiman with the cast, director and producer of Good Omens (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

"We must show our rejection. Please sign our petition, telling Netflix that we will not stand silent as they destroy the barriers of horror we still have for evil," it concluded.

The petition prompted a response from Neil Gaiman on Twitter, "This is so beautiful... Promise me you won't tell them?".  He has also been retweeting supportive, and witty, tweets from Christians who are enjoying the show.

"Theologically conservative pastor here...I LOVE GOOD OMENS! Amazing adaptation. Gave my current copy of the book to one of our pastoral interns. I apologize for my ignorant brothers and sisters. Jesus said it best: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."" wrote one.

Another tweeted, "OMG, just checked Netflix, it’s like Good Omens was never even there! These are powerful forces at work."

As well as Michael Sheen and David Tennant, the series boasts Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence and Adria Ajorna among its cast and they all walked the green carpet at the launch in May.

Speaking at the launch, Gaiman revealed it had been Pratchett's last wish that he adapt the book for television.

“Terry, who never asked anything of me in all our years of friendship wrote to me and said ‘you have to do this, you’re the only person out there who has the passion and understanding for Good Omens that I have – you have to make it into television because I want to see it before the lights go out’ " he said.

"I thought I had six or seven years of Terry left, but then he died, which suddenly turned [Good Omens] into his last request.”

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