The Good Place was created by two-time Emmy winner Michael Schur (The Office, SNL) about a town where people go after they die, but only the ones who were mostly good during their lifetime. The town is created by heavenly architect Michael, played by Ted Danson (Cheers, CSI). The lucky ones are given their dream house and are paired with their soul mate so they can be happily ever after. The good place is bright and colourful. Everyone is happy and enjoy their days doing their favourite activities and eating frozen yogurt. Eleanor, who is played by Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), is sent to this place by mistake because she was an awful person when she was alive. She confides in her “soul mate” Chidi, played by William Jackson Harper (Paterson) to teach her how to be a good person and earn her place in The Good Place.
Before watching the show the premise looked silly and Kristen Bell did not seem very appealing as the leading actress. After watching the first episode I was pleasantly surprised. The Good Place has a clever, light and refreshing tone with a lot of potential to become one of my favourite comedy shows of the moment. It has a tiny resemblance to another short-lived series called Pushing Daises (2007). Bell was another great surprise; she seems perfect for the role, very likeable and funny for such a selfish and egotistic character. Eleanor kind of reminded me a little of the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw from HBO’s Sex and the City in her mannerisms and some expressions, without the ridiculously expensive shoes.
The best thing about The Good Place is its originality. It has clever dialogues, interesting characters and unique plot twists that keep it interesting. The humour can be a little dark at times but it never feels heavy. All of the characters are funny, even the ones you don’t like at the beginning, like Tahani, who is played by Jameela Jamil in her first acting job. She eventually grows on you once you discover her humanness and the fact that she isn’t perfect after all. Chidi is a geeky person consumed by his own indecisiveness that suffers a stomachache every time he gets nervous. Jason, who is played by Manny Jacinto (The Romeo Section) is also relatable; not to give a lot of the plot away, but let’s say he’s not the brightest star in the sky, and it can also be difficult to decide whether the actor portraying him is really good or really bad. And Eleanor, despite of her selfish and obnoxious past, we learn about her struggles and find ourselves rootting for her not to be exposed and sent to the bad place. Ted Danson went back to his comedic roots to portray a funny and frustrating architect. And Janet, how can you not love Janet? The town’s android-like assistant played by D’Arcy Carden (Broad City) is fantastic.
The downside about The Good Place is that due to its nature, it will be very difficult to keep up the same level of surprise and interest without making it repetitive or predictable. I’m still not sure if I like how things ended in the first season’s finale because I believe that after the big revelation, there is no going back to the dynamics that sparked this show’s magic. And because of that, they will have to find a way in the second season to maintain the level of the previous with an entirely different premise. So far there have been two episodes (there’s a new episode every Friday on Netflix) of the second season and I must say I’m not very impressed, although it seems the third episode might change my mind.