Late last month, Amazon released a new streaming series based on a book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Good Omens. The show features hilarious British humor to riff off of the End Times. Yet some Christians seem to have mistaken the silly TV show as a serious attack on Christianity, and more than 20,000 signed a petition against it. They sent the petition to Netflix, calling on the streaming service to cancel the show.
“Tell Netflix: Cancel Blasphemous Good Omens Series” the petition read. Launched by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, the petition far outpaced its original goal of 15,000 signatures.
“Ok we promise not to make any more,” Netflix tweeted on Thursday.
ok we promise not to make any more https://t.co/TRPux36kcX
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) June 20, 2019
Why would Netflix cave to pressure so fast? Perhaps because Good Omens isn’t produced by Netflix, but by Amazon.
Amazon continued the trolling, tweeting, “Hey [Netflix], we’ll cancel Stranger Things if you cancel Good Omens.”
— Prime Video (@PrimeVideo) June 20, 2019
Neil Gaiman, an author of the book behind the series and a creator for Good Omens, shared his appreciation for Netflix’s trolling response. “Best reply ever,” he tweeted, sharing the Netflix message.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 20, 2019
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property has fixed the petition, rightly addressing it to Amazon, rather than Netflix. The petition faults Good Omens for portraying “the agents of Good and Evil as fighters in an arbitrary struggle devoid of meaning and truth.” It claims the show “mocks God’s wisdom” by: having an angel and a demon make friends; making God be voiced by a woman; portraying the Antichrist “as a normal kid;” involving a group of Satanic “nuns;” and portraying the four horsemen of the Apocalypse as “a group of bikers.”
Rather than recognizing the show as a hilarious satire, the petition authors claim that Good Omens “is another step to make Satanism appear normal, light and acceptable.”
The Society is an outspoken pro-life Roman Catholic group dedicated to good things, but in this case they made a serious error. This misfire reminds me of the Christian outrage over Harry Potter. When I was growing up — and loving the Harry Potter books — many Christian parents would not expose their kids to Harry Potter because it involved witchcraft. Yet Harry Potter, like Good Omens, takes place in a fictional world and is not an attempt to convince kids to become witches so much as an attempt to tell a fun story.
In fact, the final Harry Potter book includes explicitly Christian themes, complete with Bible quotes that prove central to the story.
As a conservative Christian who admires the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, and who loves the show Good Omens, I have to admit that this pro-life Catholic group made a serious misstep, and not just in blaming Netflix for an Amazon show.
As for Netflix and Amazon, happy trolling!
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.