12

The off-screen narrator of the TV series Good Omens (voiced by Frances McDormand) is identified as God by:

  • the subtitles (prepending “God:” to the first line of the narrator),
  • the credits,
  • media coverage.

However, I cannot remember any occasion where it actually makes a difference that the narrator is God as opposed to your typical anonymous, omniscient off-screen narrator. Did I miss something? For example:

  • Is this voice (Frances McDormand’s) used for anything other than off-screen narration?
  • Does the narrator ever speak about herself?
  • Does the narrator otherwise identify herself as God?
  • Does the narrator ever utter any opinion or anything else that would be cast in a different light if uttered by God (as opposed to somebody who is merely omniscient)?

Mind that I am purely interested in on-screen (or more precisely on-audiotrack) connections.

  • Being narrated by 'god' gives it a whole lot more weight than 'third angel on the left' who we never otherwise see. I haven't seen [or read] it in a while so I can't give any more reason than that. – Tetsujin May 23 '20 at 11:36
  • Talk about having a third-person, omniscient narrator, eh? – Chronocidal May 28 '20 at 9:11
5

I was pointed to a piece that identifies the narrator as God on screen. In the introductory exposition, she says:

This proves two things: Firstly, that God does not play dice with the universe. I play an ineffable game of my own devising.

(Except for the marked pronouns, this is identical to the respective passage in the book.)

As for the relevance, it is noteworthy that the narration uses the present tense (for the time of the main events). I interpret this as God being well aware of the end of the world not going according to the Great Plan and being fine with that, as she does not intervene. Her own ineffable plan may differ after all.

An off-screen reason may be to directly avoid certain kind of viewers. In the audio commentary on the scenes in the Garden of Eden (a few minutes later), Neil Gaiman says:

I like the idea that, if you are the kind of person who is gonna be offended by a non-white Adam and Eve, you can stop watching right now.

Identifying God as female has a similar effect and the above was a way to establish this very early and less bluntly than with just choosing a pronoun. And indeed, God being female was one of the arguments of a petition trying to make Netflix (sic) to cancel the series by Christian fundamentalists.

  • Interesting that they went that route for the TV series, just to hammer the point home. Succinct & to the point, most definitely. The original from the book, btw, was “God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.” I seems god's gender was reassigned for the TV too:) – Tetsujin May 27 '20 at 17:38
  • @Tetsujin: just to hammer the point home – Well, I would not be sure that this is the only reason. See my edit and do not forget the ineffability of the creators (of the series, that is). – Wrzlprmft May 27 '20 at 17:59
  • I'm afraid I have no truck with people who are so blinded by 'faith' that they can't see a joke even when it's got neon signs & a big PA system telling them about it. I still maintain if it wasn't narrated by 'god' then the rest of the plot makes no sense whatsoever. If we don't accept the existence of 'god' [as a plot device, I don't care about in reality] then 'angels' & 'demons' have no meaning either. – Tetsujin May 27 '20 at 18:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .