Companion books to movies and TV shows are always a bit of a dice roll when it comes to their quality. While they’re usually filled with interesting anecdotes and tons of pictures, they have a habit of feeling little more than a fluff piece used as an advertisement for that film/TV series. Luckily, this isn’t the case with either of the two books released as tie-ins for Amazon Prime and BBC’s recent adaptation of Good Omens. Both books – a traditional companion and a book featuring all of Neil Gaiman’s scripts for the series – are excellent reads, managing to be both informative and worthwhile reads even for those who know everything there is to know about the series and its creation.
“The Nice and Accurate Good Omens Companion” by Matt Whyman
Following the original novel’s chronological structure—from “the Beginning” to “End Times”—this official companion to the Good Omens television series, compiled by Matt Whyman, is a cornucopia of information about the show, its conception, and its creation. Offering deep and nuanced insight into Gaiman’s brilliantly reimagining of the Good Omens universe, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion includes: A foreword from Neil Gaiman, A profile of the director, Douglas McKinnon, Neil’s take on the adaptation process, in which he explains his goals, approach, and diversions from the original text, Interviews with the cast, including Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Nina Sosanya, Jon Hamm, Ned Dennehy, Josie Lawrence, Derek Jacobi, Nick Offerman, Frances McDormand, Miranda Richardson, Adria Arjona, and many others, More than 200 color photographs. And much more!
“The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book” by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s complete original scripts for the highly anticipated six-episode original series, adapted from the classic novel he wrote with Terry Pratchett. Collected here are Neil Gaiman’s original scripts for the Good Omens television series, offering readers deeper insight into Gaiman’s brilliant new adaptation of a masterwork.
The Nice and Accurate Good Omens Companion by Matt Whyman
This is a gargantuan book. Dimension-wise, it’s as big as a sheet of paper and as thick as a textbook. Between its covers is a very well-written account of the creation of the Good Omens TV adaptation, from its infancy all the way through its post-production. Included are an enormous array of interviews with the cast and crew, plenty of photographs from behind the scenes, and a litany of other tidbits that should please even the biggest fan of the series. Whyman’s time spent on the set has given him a great vantage point from which to write this account of the making of the series and the interviews throughout the book reveal plenty of new information about the creation of the series that fans won’t be able to find anywhere else, making this a must-read for those who want to know everything about this series.
I appreciated how well-structured this book was. Many other companion books of this nature hop around from subject to subject as they detail the creation of whatever thing they’re covering, but here, it’s formatted (more or less) in an episode-by-episode basis, covering topics as they appear within the narrative of the show. It’s a great way of formatting such a book and lets readers read behind the scenes secrets of the episodes they just watched as they can pretty easily tell when the subject switches to something that hasn’t occurred yet. That being said, I wouldn’t read this until you’ve seen the series as it does contain some spoilers for the show and how it differs from the novel.
I don’t often talk about the physical aspects of a book – as I’m typically an ebook reader – but with this one, I must. It’s simply a gorgeous book. It’s bound very well – though slightly tighter than I’d prefer – which makes it very easy to lay on a table and read. It’s very big, which does make it a bit hard to hold but it’s no worse than holding a textbook (and weighs a bit less than an average textbook). And, best of all, are the pages themselves. They’re thick, glossy pages that reproduce color remarkably well. It feels like a very high-quality book which, for the price, is pretty impressive.
The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book by Neil Gaiman
Oftentimes, these days, script books end up being more disappointing than they should be. The biggest fun of a script book is getting to read the scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the film/tv series and, too often, many modern script books are edited to match the final cut of the film instead of the final shooting draft of the script (looking at you Fantastic Beasts screenplays). This, thankfully, isn’t the case with The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book. This script book features the scripts exactly as they were at the end of filming – plus a few scenes that were cut prior to filming!
Gaiman, who has previous experience writing scripts for film and TV, manages to craft a series of incredibly well-written scripts. As he says in his introduction, the stage directions for these scripts are unlike that one might find in the average film/TV script as they’re filled with jokes and notes to the director and that’s typically something most screenwriters avoid. But that’s the thing that makes these scripts so enjoyable. Through these unusual stage directions, Gaiman’s authorial voice shines the brightest. Even without them, though, these scripts are deeply enjoyable. It’s amazing how well-written they are and how utterly faithful they are to Gaiman and Pratchett’s original book.
Script books aren’t for everyone and this one won’t be for those who don’t like reading scripts. This isn’t a novel; that novel already exists and can be read by anyone at any time. But for those of us who enjoy reading scripts, this book is a gift. It’s beautifully written, well-formatted, and filled with deleted scenes and super enjoyable stage directions. I recommend this book solely for the deleted scenes and the opportunity at seeing how Gaiman initially envisioned some of the scenes that ended up slightly differently in the final broadcast show.
Overall, both books are superb companions to the new Good Omens TV adaptation. The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion is an excellent companion book to an excellent TV series. It’s filled with a massive amount of information, lots of wonderful photos, and a ton of revealing interviews, all bound together in a beautiful book. It’s a must-read for fans of the series and I absolutely recommend it. The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book is a wonderful collection of all six scripts for this adaptation. Gaiman clearly has experience writing screenplays (from his multiple TV and film projects) and it shows in the construction of these scripts. It’s super nice having the scripts to go along with the show and the deleted scenes make the book a must-have for fans. Overall, both of these books are highly recommended.
The Nice and Accurate Good Omens Companion: 4 out of 5 wands
The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book: 5 out of 5 wands