When the first season of Good Omens was announced, I had a vague idea of what it was about: angels and demons fighting the apocalypse.
Apart from that, I didn’t know anything else other than the fact that it was based on the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I am a fan of both. Neil Gaiman’s fantasy graphic novels and books are well-known and well-praised by fans all over the world. Even if you have never read anything by Neil Gaiman, you must certainly have heard about Sandman, Coraline, Stardust, among others. The same goes for Terry Pratchett, who sadly passed away in 2015. Pratchett is best known for his young adult books full of magic, adventure, and above all humour and satire. When you combine such fantastic authors together, you are bound to have a smash hit in your hands. Therefore, I was obviously invested. Then, I was truly ecstatic when I heard that Michael Sheen and David Tennant were the lead roles. Michael Sheen is a brilliant actor, and David Tennant is my all-time favourite Doctor Who. So there I was waiting for the series to be released, already with high expectations, when my best friend suddenly asked me if I knew that Aziraphale (the angel played by Michael Sheen) and Crowley (the demon played by David Tennant) were very, very queer. Sadly, I did not know. Even though I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, I hadn’t read Good Omens. But my friend was reading it, and she was feeding me with all sorts of queer – and hilarious – content about Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship that made me crave the series like mad. Now the question in everyone’s minds at the time was: will Good Omens be queer or queer-baiting? What exactly was the real nature of the relationship between Aziraphale and Crowley? Were they a couple? Were they just bros? Would they call what they have in neon gay words? We’ll get on to that in a bit. For the moment, let me tell you about the plot of Good Omens.
So, Satan is going to have a son. As predicted in the Bible, once the antichrist is born, the Earth is doomed. The plan is for Crowley, a demon who was once the serpent that tempted Eve, to switch the newborn son of an American diplomat with Satan’s son – very Monty Python-like. The thing is Crowley doesn’t really want the world to end. He doesn’t hate the Earth and, if truth be told, he quite likes humans. In order to try to prevent the apocalypse, Crowley asks for Aziraphale’s help. He and Aziraphale have had an unusual and strong bond since the beginning of times when Crowley was a serpent and Aziraphale was the angel guarding the Garden of Eden. While they were supposed to be on opposite sides, they have always been quite drawn to one another and enjoy each other’s company quite a lot. Aziraphale also does not want the world to end up in flames. So they come up with a plan: they will help raise the spawn of Satan – one as his nanny while the other will be the family’s gardener – and try to influence the kid into not causing Armageddon as he grows up. While the switching was taking place, however, a series of shenanigans happened, and the actual son of Satan ends up being raised as a normal kid from a small town in Oxfordshire. Aziraphale and Crowley only realise their mistake much later, so they begin a frantic and hilarious search for the Antichrist, now a pre-teen named Adam Young who lives his life without having a clue of who he truly is. Time is of the essence, and with both heaven and hell on their tails, Crowley and Aziraphale must find Adam in time to avoid the destruction of their beloved Earth.
The plot is ingenious per se. Moreover, if you are familiar with the caustic British humour a laMonty Python, you will simply love Good Omens to bits. The dialogue, the scenes, the situations, everything is brilliantly put together. Aziraphale and Crowley are not the only characters that come to life and deserve praise in Good Omens. I simply adore how the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is presented in the story. One is a war correspondent, another is a fast food tycoon, and Death is a biker! Plus, you have Benedict Cumberbatch as Satan, Frances McDormand as God, my muse Mireille Enos as War, and John Hamm as Gabriel.
And then we come to the icing on the cake: Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship. Let’s start by saying that, even though Aziraphale and Crowley bicker like an old couple, talk like an old couple, and all in all behave very much like a married couple, the story is not just about them. Good Omens was not meant to be a queer statement, but it feels so queer that it’s impossible to label it as queerbaiting. This has been an issue with many fans since the beginning. If you search for it on the internet, you will find that many queer folks do think Good Omens is pure queerbaiting, and therefore does not live up to the hype. On the other hand, you will also find that many others do find Good Omens quite openly queer because the spectrum of sexuality is much broader today than it used to be.
As a matter of fact, if you are familiar with Neil Gaiman’s works, his stories tend to be very queer-friendly, at least in my view. Nothing is openly said, but it is there just the same. Neil Gaiman doesn’t like to label his characters, and he has stated time and time again that the angels in Good Omens are genderless. There is definitely love between Crowley and Aziraphale, but that love becomes open to interpretation. It doesn’t fit into a specific label. However, in an interview, he said that he considers Good Omens a love story. The show definitely gives the idea that, even though Crowley and Aziraphale may not be your typical lovey-dovey couple, they are definitely a couple of sorts. In fact, many characters throughout the show like to point that out.
I personally dislike the whole “platonic love” vibe because nine times out of ten it is used to label same-sex relationships. I do realise that all types of relationships exist, including platonic ones. Not every love needs to be sexual or physical. That is a given. But it still bothers me when this is used in fiction because it does seem lazy. It feels like taking the easy way out. After all, people won’t get easily offended if you tell your audience that those boys or girls share a pure “platonic love”, but they definitely will if the status changes to (physical) gay love. Then you can expect huge texts about how literature and art are corrupting the young and destroying family values.
That being said, I do not believe that is the case with Good Omens. I don’t believe at all it was intended as queerbaiting. It wasn’t meant to be your typical love story from the start. It goes beyond that. It is about the matters of heaven and earth, and the philosophy in between, with hell thrown into the mix. It is satire at its best. Aziraphale and Crowley’s love is a massive part of what makes Good Omens so great. But ultimately their love story does not need to be labelled. You can take it as you wish: platonic, ace, aro, gay… Those ineffable husbands (a wonderful term coined by their fandom) can be whatever you want them to be. That’s what fanfiction is for anyway. And whatever their love is, I’m here for it.
☆ Season Two will debut on Amazon Prime in 2023!
2 thoughts on “Is Good Omens Queer or a QueerBaiting Romance?”
I must have caught part of Season I, didn’t know what I was watching and watched something else. Is this a British or American production? Now that I’ve found Asian films it’s very difficult to focus on what American films are trying to depict other than who is number one in the world. Thank you for the warning 🙂
Hi! This is British. I think you should definitely give it a go. It’s a wonderful production with amazing actors.