1 of 7 | "Good Omens" Season 2 -- starring Quelin Sepulveda -- is streaming on Prime Video. Photo courtesy of Prime Video
NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The popular Prime Video series Good Omens recently wrapped its second season, capping a run of shows that stand out against a landscape of bleak, post-apocalyptic dramas of the past few years.
The adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's fantasy novel stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant as the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, who join forces to protect humanity from annihilation at the hands of its creator.
Liz Carr, Jon Hamm, Maggie Service and Nina Sosanya co-star.
The show is the latest to find laughs - and heart - in the idea of all-powerful beings meddling in the affairs of lowly humans.
Besides Good Omens, three other shows - God Friended Me, Miracle Workers and The Good Place - revel in stories that turn good and evil upside down.
The series depicts heaven and hell as a bureaucracy in which most plans get bogged down with red tape.
"It just makes sense and, of course, they would have such long chains of command," Quelin Sepulveda, who plays the angel Muriel, told UPI in a Zoom interview before the Screen Actors Guild strike in July.
"Muriel will never question it. It's the order of things. It's ineffable."
Shelley Conn, who plays Beelzebub, agreed.
"It's equally bureaucratic in hell," Conn said.
"They all think they are so different from one another, upstairs and downstairs, but they are all fighting the same petty fights about how many bits of paper can get stamped quicker and who can get in front of which boss. A lot of middle management in this."
Conn joined the cast as Beelzebub, the Lord of Hell, in Season 2. The role was played by Anna Maxwell Martin in Season 1.
Sepulveda jokingly describes Muriel as a "lowly angel," who is "wide-eyed and curious and gullible."
"She finds herself swept up into this mission and this task on Earth," she said.
Carr sees her character, Saraqael, as "a high-up angel in the scheme of things."
"She does the responsible thing only because she has to, not because she really wants to."
The actresses said it is artistically rewarding to be part of a show that is tremendous fun, but that also explores big questions about the mysteries of the universe, including what makes humanity special and worth saving.
"When you use fantasy or sci-fi or something that's not apparently real or, at least, it's heightened reality, then you can ask big questions and take a look and dissect a little bit deeper because you can use humor and you can use all levels of excavation," Conn said.
Carr said it's surprising what you can get away with when you do it with humor."
"You don't realize the big messages that you are being asked to consider in this larger- than-life story that's so colorful," she said.
Both seasons are streaming on Prime Video.
'God Friended Me'
God Friended Me ran on CBS for two seasons from 2018 to 2020.
The dramedy starred Brandon Michael Hall as Miles, an atheist podcaster, and Joe Morton as his father, a church preacher.
The story starts when Miles gets a Facebook friend request from an account named God that directs him to help various strangers.
"Everyone should believe in something, and that's what this show is hitting at: Believe in something," Hall told CBS News in 2020.
Morton told the New York Post in 2019 that he also was drawn to the positive message of the series.
"I loved the script for this show," he said.
"It was about a world that talks about helping people through the greater use of social media. It espoused a religious, Christian ideal without slamming anybody over the head. You don't have to believe in God to believe in good."
The show was canceled before fans found out who was behind the account.
Both seasons are streaming on Prime Video.
Season 1 of the four-season TBS anthology comedy series, Miracle Workers, saw Steve Buscemi playing God, while Daniel Radcliffe played Craig, a low-level angel in charge of answering human prayers.
"It's an interesting portrayal of this character that we've seen in various incarnations before. Apparently he's a little more childish, he's a little more spoiled and kind of unsure of himself," Buscemi told Collider before the show premiered in 2019.
"I'm certainly used to playing flawed characters, so it just feels like it's right. I wouldn't want to play, you know, like we're filming the Bible. I would not want to play God. But this is Simon Rich's Bible. It's fun to play the God."
Subsequent seasons feature new settings and characters, but the same stars.
All four seasons are streaming on Max and TBS.
'The Good Place'
The Good Place, which ran on NBC from 2016 to 2020, is set in a Heaven-like locale.
It stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor, who is seeking redemption because she thinks she went to the wrong place when she died.
Ted Danson plays Michael, the demon who ends up trying to help her, as well as her newfound friends played by William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto.
"He's just in love with humanity and just finds them fascinating," Danson told Vanity Fair about Michael in 2019. "He's slowly becoming, as best as he can, more human. And that's fun to play."
Series creator Michael Schur added that it was critical that the characters and the audience "immediately trust him" and believe he is telling the truth about welcoming people to Heaven when they die.
"But the genius of him as an actor is that at the moment that the rug is pulled out, and the truth is revealed, and he giggles the way that he giggles, and you realize that this whole time he's been screwing with you and with the audience, that he is also the perfect guy to do that."
All four seasons are streaming on Netflix.