RogerBW's Blog

The Good Place season 1 10 August 2017

2016 fantasy comedy, 14 episodes. Eleanor dies, and goes to the afterlife. Not Heaven, exactly, but… The Good Place. Only problem is, she's pretty sure she's not meant to be there, but admitting it would surely make things worse.

This is that rare thing for comedies, one that has a continuing plot. And it's one that I think is worth discovering as it develops, so – in common with every review I've read – I'm not going to go into any more details about it, except to say that Eleanor attempts to learn to fit in. Not only do these characters not start off straight out of stock, they aren't fixed roles for comedic things to happen to: they change, they grow, they develop.

And in spite of that, the show still manages to be funny. Much of the humour takes the form of one-liners, but it still works. Without the humour, the drama would be too heavy-handed, and without the drama the humour would have no characters to hang from; as it stands, they're well blended, and each embarrassing situation (a staple of the kind of comedy I don't like) also serves a dramatic purpose.

I haven't noticed any of the cast before except for Ted Danson, and his casting is an excellent decision given the last part I saw him in: as the slightly patronising but thoroughly competent father-figure to the team in the last few seasons of CSI. Here he turns that up a few notches, and carries off a role where he has to act both superior and sympathetic.

The series was renewed for a second season (beginning in September), and the story continues… in an entirely unconventional way. I'm fascinated to see where this series goes next.

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