A lot of TV shows try and stick around for as long as possible. You can probably think of several sitcoms that seemed to go on forever and ever, even when they seemed to run out of ideas. It was a business proposition in the time, because of syndication rights and reruns and what have you. This is not always great for the modern viewer who wants the chance to binge a show. Frasier is awesome, and it’s on Netflix, but it’s also got over 200 episodes for you to plow through. It’s worth it, but it is a commitment. And yes, some of the episodes late in the show’s run feel strained. This is all to say that when Mike Schur, creator of NBC’s The Good Place, declared that the fourth season would be its last, it was noteworthy.
For a sitcom, The Good Place will end up with a fairly short run for a critically-acclaimed show with a devoted fan base. Not only will they end up only doing four seasons, but every season will end up being only 13 episodes. This is with intent, though, because The Good Place is not your typical sitcom. It has a lot more on its mind, and it has one of the more intricate plots of any network comedy you will ever see. However, it’s serialized nature, and not-so-ominous episode total, makes it a great binge watch.
I cannot tell you much about the plot of The Good Place. Not because I don’t know much about it. I’ve seen every episode and I really enjoy it. Some comedies are hard to spoil. You can tell people what happens in an episode of Seinfeld but it can only spoil so much. And if you spoil one episode, you don’t spoil the show as a whole. The Good Place has an overarching story, and that story takes some twists and turns. There is so much too it, and it’s mostly interesting and gripping, but I don’t want to tip any cards.
So let me just say the most basic things that can be said about this show. It begins with Kristen Bell’s character Eleanor being welcomed to “The Good Place,” the show’s equivalent of heaven, by Michael, played by sitcom legend Ted Danson. This is all well and good, save for the fact that Eleanor lets her Good Place soul mate Chidi (William Jackson Harper) know that she doesn’t belong there at all. She is, in her own words, an Arizona trash bag, and not really Heaven material. The main character is rounded out by Jameela Jamil as Tahani, Manny Jacinto as…well it’s hard not to spoil things here even just by giving his character’s name, and D’Arcy Carden as Janet, who is not a robot, but is also not human, but does know everything in the universe.
Here’s all you need to know to know that you should be binging The Good Place. The cast is great, and they get even better as the characters get fleshed out. Danson was on Cheers! He knows how to star in a sitcom. Bell is the ostensible lead, but the show has a great ensemble. It’s a really funny show, but in terms of plotting out a story The Good Place makes more effort than most. Now, that doesn’t make it better than every comedy ever. Seinfeld, a show about nothing, is better, but The Good Place does something different while also being funny. Lucky for you, the show is on Netflix, so you’ll be able to catch up before the fourth, and final, season takes place.