Good Omens 2: Avenging Angels

The band Space once sung this catchy tune:

This song, I think, describes Good Omens 2 quite nicely. Though it’s more complicated than that (as things often tend to be). Having averted the Apocalypse, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley find they have a bit of time on their hands: Crowley having been kicked out of his job and all but banished from Hell and Aziraphale – well, he’s not exactly in Heaven’s good books either. But he’s kept the bookshop and often enjoys buying new (well, extremely old) ’78 records from Maggie across the road, who has kept her grandmother’s record shop going even in the digital age (in part due to “Mr. Fell” being her landlord and she’s the only one that can source his favourite records).

Things start to take a turn when the Arkangel Gabriel turns up in Soho, completely naked apart from carrying a cardboard box, and makes his way to the bookshop having completely lost his memory…

Now, I initially thought the first episode was a bit slow and had some trouble “feeling” it. But with the second episode, everything clicked together, and it was an absolutely whirlwind of a ride which ended far sooner than I had hoped. I must say that Terry Pratchett’s presence is felt throughout the show – I loved how Gabriel fans somebody with a Discworld book, and that C.M.O.T. (cut-my-own-throat) Dibbler is responsible for providing dangerous substances to an Edinburgh doctor specialising in cadavers for medical research. Among many other things. I think Terry would have really enjoyed this season.

There is so much going on and so much to enjoy that it’s impossible to list everything here. But needless to say that there is a fine line between being an angel and a demon – both are two sides of the same coin. Throughout the series we go back through time to see how the pair’s relationship develops – from the beginning of the universe (when Crowley had yet to be cast down to Hell), to Biblical times, and jumping forwards to the time where grave diggers were providing medical establishments with cadavers for use in medical research for handsome sums of money. This proves to be a REMARKABLY interesting part of the story because of the grey line, morality wise, of digging up the dead and using them in medical research. It also provides a significant moment in which Crowley demonstrates that he be good (which absolutely delights Aziraphale). We also revisit the Second World War (where we get to see Mrs. Henderson of the Windmill Theatre fame – a theatre that I used to walk past many times back in the 2000’s) and a magic act to outdo all magic acts.

The whole point to this is to solve the mystery of why Gabriel turned up at Aziraphale’s bookshop (and subsequently became a David Jason-like Granville in the process – you’ll have to watch to see what I mean) as well as putting the world to rights (literally) – with a bit of matchmaking along the way.

But really, the main point – to me at least – is that thin line between good and evil. Sometimes there is no distinction at all. This is best demonstrated in the Job sequence in which Job (God’s favourite human) is tested by having all his animals slaughtered and his kids killed. This job(!) is left to Aziraphale who, along with Crowley, get up to shenanigans which are best to those that watch the show. We see (or at least hear) God, played once again by triple Oscar-winner Frances McDormand talking to Job (played by David Tenant’s father-in-law, Peter Davidson) with Job just completely flummoxed. In the end, however, Aziraphale is convinced that because he defied the will of God, he’s going to be cast down to Hell like Crowley. But Crowley simply tells his friend that he won’t say a word. The whole Job sequence is a pivotal moment in the show and is really beautifully handled.

The final episode wraps up things as it should do, but also opens the possibility for a third season of this wonderful story. Saving the day is one thing but saving it repeatedly is another. Being the sentimental old git that I am, I am not ashamed to say that I cried. Happiness and sadness. Crowley finally shows some emotion towards his angelic friend. Lovely appearance by Derek Jacobi, by the way.

I’m not sure whether Good Omens 2 is coming to the BBC like the first series did, but nevertheless I’ll be buying copies on Blu-Ray when it’s released. This is a truly remarkable sequel to one of my all time favourite books, and Neil Gaiman and the team have worked miracles to bring it to the screen. And speaking of Neil, hopefully we should be getting The Anansi Boys soon – I am hotly anticipating this one because I’ve a huge fan of the novel. Seeing Mr. Nancy and his sons Fat Charlie and Spider – along with Mrs. Higgler – is going to be my my jam for next year (assuming it’s released next year, and that all the current Hollywood strikes are settled).

Marvel’s Secret Top Gear Invasion

Marvel’s Secret Invasion did indeed revisit my old stomping ground of Dunsfold Park this week, where the episode did its best to try to outdo Top Gear. But try as they might, the Marvel team never came to the level of insanity (which we at Memset often witnessed in person) of the Top Gear team (Clarkson, May and Hammond – and then the other lot – and then the other lot – three sets of presenters during my tenure there).

Anyway, the shenanigans began as we looked out of Air Force One parked on the main Dunsfold runway. In the background we see the Memset building where I used to work (blue) and the former Top Gear studio (in red).

The majority of the action takes place on the other side of Dunsfold Park and where more Land Rovers than I could possibly count comes screaming out of bushes with helicopters and all sort of madness that was once only thought about on Top Gear start exploding with bullets and CG missiles flying about like War was having an end-of-year sale. It’s all very silly, to be honest.

More Skrull Shenanigans..

After discovering that the Marvel Secret Invasion team went to Dunsfold Park, home of Top Gear and my former employers, Memset Ltd., to film a variety of stuff for the show – another former employer’s building turns up in this week’s episode! Ten Trinity Square.

Former home of Willis Faber, this was where my dad spent the majority of his career, and I would occasionally accompany him to work during the school holidays. It introduced me (and got me hooked) on computer communications, and later I’d spend a couple of summer holidays on work experience for Willis Faber doing data entry work on powerful Macs (we’re talking late Motorola 68000, early PowerPC stuff). It’s now an exclusive member’s club and hotel – something I could never afford to stay at (unlike the Eurobet House Premier Inn in Woking where I could – and indeed, did).

We see the majestic pillars of Ten Trinity Square when Talos and Gravik leave the art gallery. It’s a small, but instantly recognisable location for me. But it’s certainly not the first time Ten Trinity Square has been in the movies – James Bond, Alexi Sayle (yes, really), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (the fictional Lara is from Guildford, Surrey – double co-incidence), Bridget Jones, The Professionals, The Bill, and Luther.

Marvel’s Avengers also shot at my former university, the University of East Anglia (UEA), a few years back at the Sainsbury’s Centre, which stood in for the Avengers HQ. Which is directly opposite Constable Terrace, the block of student accommodation I lived in.


I’m currently enjoying the current Marvel television series, Secret Invasion, on Disney+ which stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury who returns from shepherding Skrull refugees across the galaxy. Alas, when he returns to Earth, he finds himself during a full blown Skrull separatist invasion – made much more difficult given that Skrulls can shapeshift and become anyone… who do you trust?

Well, it turns out that the majority of the filming was made in the UK – London to be specific. This has had some interesting consequences because at the start of the first episode which is set in Moscow, it is clearly NOT Moscow because of London’s road markings, building style and bollards. Despite having been to Moscow myself many, many years ago, even a hamster could easily tell it was London and not Moscow.

What did surprise me was a particular scene in this week’s episode in which was – no, could it be? Shot at Dunsfold Park? Why, yes it was. Despite not working at Dunsfold Park for close to 6 years (which was home to Memset Ltd. for at least 5 years before I left) I could tell it was DP because of the planes, the hangers, the layout and most importantly – they were shooting the scene at Gambon corner. Directly opposite (almost) to the Memset building.

And speaking of the Memset building – you can see it in the official trailer in the background while a cavalcade of cars makes it way to the aerodrome except, well, they’re about to go kaboom because (CG) missiles are about to blow them to kingdom come. Naughty Skrulls.

In any event, it’s bloody strange seeing a former place of employment in an action-packed series like this. We can at least expect some interesting stuff to happen in forthcoming episodes that are going to give Top Gear a run for their money – although enhanced with VFX (an industry I also used to work in – oh, the irony).

The official trailer for the show: