Everything Is Fine
Category 55 Emergency Doomsday
What We Owe to Each Other
The Eternal Shriek
Most Improved Player
…Someone Like Me as a Member
What’s My Motivation
Mindy St. Claire
Thanks to an administrative error, selfish Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) finds herself in The Good Place after her death. Helped by a well paced script and an enthralling plot boasting plenty of twists along the way, the first season of The Good Place is an excellent sitcom. The bold, bright colours help to accentuate the hypnotic beauty of the afterlife and the dry humour is well timed and managed throughout, even if this sort of humour won’t appeal to everyone.
The story focuses on Eleanor for vast periods of the season and despite the focal point being her journey from selfish, self absorbed disaster to a relatively good person, there’s enough attention given to the supporting cast to help flesh them out too. Ethics teacher Chidi (William Jackson Harper) is by far the most likeable of the four characters, with British girl Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and the Buddhist monk (Manny Jacinto) making up the foursome but becoming victim to some annoying tropes. Some of the traits of these characters are overdone to the point of becoming repetitive and annoying at times, but the dry humour used through the episodes helps to hide this pretty well. Of course, with such a reliance on this sort of humour it may well alienate some people but for those who enjoy this sort of humour, there’s a lot to like.
The chemistry between the characters is brilliant too, despite the annoying quips inherent in a few of the supporting cast, and the script lends itself to some interesting developments between them all. There’s a good use of flashbacks too, showing the lives of the characters before they wind up in The Good Place. Thankfully, they’re used sparingly so they don’t feel overpowering and there’s enough humour to make each episode a delight as it moves from one set piece to the next. Each character grows and evolves from what’s initially presented at the beginning of the show with the biggest transformation of course being Eleanor. The climactic episode brings about a surprising turn of events and without giving too much away, it’ll be interesting to see exactly where they go with this show in the second season.
Whilst it certainly isn’t perfect, The Good Place provides a solid season of entertainment that works really well from start to finish. The premise is crazy yet grounded in realism, the characters are stark contrasts to one another that just seem to gel and the script is decent throughout. With enough intrigue and mystery around future events and a satisfying plot arc throughout the episodes, The Good Place is well worth a watch, especially with a second season that promises to be just as good as the first. Its not without its problems but The Good Place is charming enough to easily overlook its flaws through its entertaining first season.