The Good Place
NBC, Premieres Monday, September 9 at 10/9 Central
Sep 19, 2016
A series pilot has to walk a rather tricky line of setting up a series premise, giving a hint of things to come, and, you know, being entertaining. As far as pilots go, NBC's The Good Place (from Parks and Creation co-creator Michael Schur) hits it out of the park with all of the above-not to mention some honest to goodness earned laughter.
So much of the value of the show is in the set up and execution that we'll do our best to keep this spoiler free. Kristen Bell is delightful as Eleanor, a woman who dies, ends up in what is essentially heaven (they simply refer to it as "The Good Place") and is pretty darned sure she should be in "The Bad Place." Ted Danson, as Michael, is something of her guide in this new world—he explains where she is and indoctrinates her into what she can expect in The Good Place: a house fitting her sensibilities, her actual soulmate, wonderfully angelic neighbors. Michael is, in fact, the architect of this section, this neighborhood of The Good Place. Eleanor's unsteady baby steps into the afterlife, with her not exactly soulmate Chidi (William Jackson Harper) are funny. The cosmic embodiment of Google, who answers nearly any question about the afterlife, is a hoot. And the heavenly "autocorrect" of sorts that replaces Eleanor's frequent swearing with words like "fork" are funny, then less so, then funny again because they just keep coming.
The series shows more of its hand when things go off the rails, revealing that Eleanor might not last too long up there, and that the angelic Michael may have feet of clay.
Perhaps the only annoying thing about this show is that Danson pronounces "Eleanor" kind of weird, with more of an "er" sound on the end. Faint criticism indeed. (www.nbc.com/The-Good-Place)
[The Good Place premieres tonight on NBC at 10/9 Central before moving to its regular timeslot this Thursday at 8:30/7:30 Central.]
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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