Verdict: The Good Place
So last week I talked about the Fall TV Shows that are premiering that I am interested in watching and a couple of them started last week – including The Good Place, which David and I have now watched.
First off the premise is definitely fascinating. One of the things that I definitely like is that they keep the afterlife very generic and are not claiming that it is any specific religion, instead saying that each religion got a little bit of the big picture. That makes it very inclusive and keeps it from really making too much of a statement about the afterlife.
The idea in general is that every action that someone makes sends out positive and negative energy into the universe and that only the really good people get in to the Good Place… But what happens when a mistake is made? This is where hilarity ensues because someone who was not such a good person gets in to the Good Place by mistake.
The short answer is that David and I will definitely keep watching, but at this point I am not sure how the story goes beyond one season.
As I said one of the things that I like about the show is that it does not seem to take anyone’s religion and follow it completely. They even comment on the fact that each religion got a little bit correct. The basic idea is that there is a “Good” Place and a “Bad” Place, but only those who are considered truly good end up in the “Good” place. How they determine who is good or bad is by literally adding up all of the actions that you did and some are positive and some are negative. Essentially those that end up with a really high positive score get to the “Good” place.
I mean right there we end up with some potential things to play with, but then add on the fact that there are architects that create neighborhoods in the “Good” place. Each neighborhood is supposed to be specially designed for the group who is spending their afterlife there and when something is out of place it can start to go very, very wrong. Many of the hijinx in the show revolve around the fact that when something doesn’t belong suddenly things start happening.
Insert A Wrench
So Kristen Bell’s character is the wrench that is put into the perfection of the neighborhood in the “Good” place because, while yes she died, and yes that is her name, none of the history is her history. She did not do any of the actions that supposedly got her to the “Good” place and after hearing what goes on at the “Bad” place is not keen on being kicked out. It just so happens that her doppelgänger’s soul mate was an ethics professor from Senegal – and the idea is you spend eternity with your soul mate in the neighborhood. At first he faces the ethical quandary of whether to help her or not. In the very first episode we are dealing with the idea of what it means to be good and could someone become good. The show definitely seems to be taking a three steps forward, two steps back sort of approach, as Kristen Bell’s character learns about being good.
The other interesting wrench that is discovered in the first episode is the fact that Ted Danson’s character, the architect of the neighborhood, is actually a novice because this is his first neighborhood. I have a feeling that will come back in to play at some point.
Beyond One Season
Now I can definitely see how the first season could go, but, especially when you have one person trying to hide an important truth, I am just not sure how you develop the story in a way that goes beyond one season. I mean one thing you could do is have someone die who knows Kristen Bell’s character, which would add an interesting layer. The other option is that we could bring in more of the hierarchy of the “Good” place.
At the same time, to go beyond one season they eventually have to introduce an idea beyond this one person trying to be good to fit in. The problem with that idea is that to keep going you almost have to have her keep slipping back into her old ways, but that means that the character never really develops and starts to get old.
Verdict: Keep Watching
So David and I are definitely going to keep watching this show. We are thoroughly enjoying it and I am a huge fan of Kristen Bell. I am excited to see where they go with the show and hope that they have a deeper story in mind than what has been initially introduced.