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The Good Place is an American fantasy-comedy television series created by Michael Schur. The series premiered on September 19, 2016 on NBC. The series focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael (Ted Danson) to "The Good Place", a highly selective Heaven-like utopia he designed, as a reward for her righteous life. However, she realizes that she was sent there by mistake and must hide her morally imperfect behavior while trying to become a better and more ethical person. William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, and Manny Jacinto co-star as other residents of "The Good Place", together with D'Arcy Carden as Janet, an artificial being who knows all the information in the universe and can produce any item out of thin air, abilities which she uses to help the inhabitants.
|The Good Place|
|Created by||Michael Schur|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Audio format||5.1 Dolby Digital with DVS on SAP|
|Original release||September 19, 2016 (2016-09-19) –|
The series focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael (Ted Danson) to "The Good Place", a highly selective Heaven-like utopia he designed, as a reward for her righteous life. However, she realizes that she was sent there by mistake and must hide her morally imperfect behavior while trying to become a better and more ethical person. William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, and Manny Jacinto co-star as other residents of "The Good Place", together with D'Arcy Carden as Janet, an artificial being who knows all the information in the universe and can produce any item out of thin air, abilities which she uses to help the inhabitants.
The Good Place received positive reviews upon its debut and has since gained critical acclaim. It has been praised for its acting, writing, originality, setting, and tone. In addition, the first season's twist ending and the show's exploration and creative use of ethics and philosophy have been positively received.
The third season premiered on September 27, 2018, and concluded on January 24, 2019. In December 2018, NBC renewed the series for a fourth season.
After her death, Eleanor Shellstrop is welcomed to her afterlife in "The Good Place" (opposed to "The Bad Place") by Michael, an immortal architect who built a specifically designed afterlife community that strives to accommodate everyone's specific tastes. Michael introduces Eleanor to Janet, an artificial intelligence that serves as a guide and repository of knowledge and can produce anything asked for out of thin air, and her assigned soulmate, a university ethics professor named Chidi Anagonye. Eleanor tells Chidi that she has been mistaken for someone else and he agrees to teach Eleanor to become a better person to earn her place for real. Her neighbor is introduced to her as a silent Buddhist monk named Jianyu Li, whose soulmate is socialite Tahani Al-Jamil. Jianyu reveals that he is actually a dimwitted DJ from Florida named Jason Mendoza, who also believes he has been sent to The Good Place by mistake. As Chidi continues to teach Eleanor and then Jason ethics lessons, Tahani tries to work out a way in which Eleanor and Jason can be allowed to stay in The Good Place. When those efforts prove fruitless, an eternal judge named Shawn rules that Eleanor and Jason must be sent to the Bad Place. In the season finale's twist ending, Eleanor deduces that the four have actually been in The Bad Place all along. Michael reveals his demonic plot to have the four human inhabitants torture each other for all eternity emotionally and psychologically. He then announces his intent to wipe their memories and separate the four to try again.
Michael repeatedly attempts the experiment in human torture again with variations of the neighborhood, but the group figures out the truth each time. After 802 fruitless attempts, the other demons stage a coup against Michael and threaten to inform his boss about the repeated failures if he doesn't implement their ideas instead. Michael decides to team up with the four humans and promises to get them all into the real Good Place. The group later escapes with Michael's help, and they attempt to get to the Good Place by appealing to Gen, an entity known as the judge. Gen is not convinced that the improvements the four of them have shown are due to them being good people but instead she believes that their changes are due to their desire for "moral desert". She gives tests to each human which play to their weaknesses; everyone, except Eleanor, fails. Michael appeals and Gen agrees to send them all back to Earth with no memories of the afterlife and Michael intervening to rescue them each from their deaths. After a false start, Michael intervenes again and points Eleanor in the direction of Chidi, which reignites her passion for ethics and causes her to seek Chidi out.
Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason have been sent back to Earth in order to determine whether a second chance at life allows them to become better versions of themselves. Realizing that they fall back into their old patterns, Michael repeatedly interferes without Gen's knowledge to manipulate them to find each other. They all end up in Sydney, where Chidi teaches, and become participants in a study about near-death experiences and ethical decision making. After Trevor, a demon from the Bad Place, attempts to break up the group from the inside, he, Michael, and Janet are all called in by the Judge for their meddling. After Gen banishes Trevor, Janet and Michael escape to Earth with the key needed to travel between worlds. They spend the next year monitoring and interfering in the lives of the four humans to keep the group together before ultimately being discovered. Michael and Janet are forced to admit the truth about the group's experiences in the afterlife, forever corrupting their motivations and rendering them incapable of earning enough points to enter the Good Place. Eleanor persuades Chidi, Tahani, and Jason to instead spend their time left on Earth helping other people become ethical enough to get into the Good Place. Meanwhile, Michael and Janet track down Doug Forcett in Canada, where they soon discover that his life is not as perfect as they expected, and must find a way to change the outcome. Shawn, still upset over Michael's betrayal, figures out a way to get to Earth without a key. He and his fellow demons enter Earth with a scheme to not only retrieve the group, but to go after their loved ones and Doug, forcing the team to escape to Janet's pocket dimension using the key. When Michael and Janet learn that it has been 521 years since anyone has entered the real Good Place, Janet convinces Michael that it is up to him to fix the system. The group escapes to the Good Place's mail room and appeal to the committee that runs the Good Place but their bureaucracy hinders them from effectively changing anything. Michael tries to convince Gen that because good deeds have more and more unintended bad consequences, it's impossible to earn enough points to get into the Good Place. To test Chidi's theory that humans can improve if external factors are removed, a new neighborhood in the Medium Place is built which will be populated with four new test subjects as well as Michael and the group.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||September 19, 2016 (2016-09-19)||January 19, 2017 (2017-01-19)|
|2||13||September 20, 2017 (2017-09-20)||February 1, 2018 (2018-02-01)|
|3||13||September 27, 2018 (2018-09-27)||January 24, 2019 (2019-01-24)|
NBC issued a press release on August 13, 2015, announcing it had given the then-untitled show a 13-episode order based purely on a pitch by Michael Schur. On January 12, 2016, it was announced that Kristen Bell and Ted Danson had been cast in the lead roles for the series. The first synopsis of the show was also released, stating that the show was set to revolve around Eleanor designing her own self-improvement course with Michael acting as her guide – although the afterlife element had always been a part of the series, as Kristen Bell has stated she was aware of the first-season finale twist when she signed onto the show.
William Jackson Harper was cast as Chris on February 11, 2016, though the character was renamed Chidi. Jameela Jamil was cast as Tessa on February 25, 2016, and her character was renamed Tahani. On March 3, 2016, Manny Jacinto was revealed to have been cast as a "sweet and good-natured Jason" whose "dream is to make a living as a DJ in Southern Florida". On March 14, 2016, D'Arcy Carden was cast in a series regular role that was announced as "Janet Della-Denunzio, a violin salesperson with a checkered past" – although writer Megan Amram later admitted that this was an intentional hoax.
The final premise for the show, including the afterlife element, was ultimately announced on May 15, 2016, when NBC announced its schedule for the 2016–17 TV season.
According to Schur, the premise and idea was to include religious elements into the series after doing research on various faiths and groups, but he decided to scrap the plans, instead going for a concept that included all faiths that was diverse and free of religious views. "I stopped doing research because I realized it's about versions of ethical behavior, not religious salvation," he says. "The show isn't taking a side, the people who are there are from every country and religion." Schur also points out that the setting (shot in San Marino, California's Huntington Gardens) already had the feeling of a pastiche of different cultures, stating that the neighborhoods will feature people who are part of nondenominational and interdenominational backgrounds that interact with each other regardless of religion.
The series' setting and premises, as well as the serialized cliffhangers, were modeled on Lost, a favorite of Schur’s. One of the first people he called when he developed the series was Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. "I took him to lunch and said, 'We're going to play a game [of] 'Is this anything?'" He then added "I imagine this going in the Lost way, with cliffhangers and future storylines."
The first season's surprise twist, that the Good Place was the Bad Place, and Chidi, Eleanor, Jason and Tahani were the four souls chosen because they were best suited to torture each other indefinitely, is very similar in premise to philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre's stage play No Exit, in which three strangers die, are escorted to a single room by a friendly bellhop where they are informed they must co-exist together, but ultimately determine they are entirely incompatible and thus come to the conclusion that "hell is other people". The only actors who knew the truth from the start were Danson and Bell.
Critics have also suggested resemblances to 1960s surreal TV show The Prisoner in its isolated, rule-bound setting.
The series premiered on September 19, 2016. On January 30, 2017, NBC renewed the series for a second season of 13 episodes, which premiered on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, with an hour-long premiere before moving to its normal time slot on Thursday at 8:30 pm, beginning September 28, 2017. On November 21, 2017, NBC renewed the series for a 13-episode third season, which premiered on September 27, 2018. On December 4, 2018, NBC renewed the series for a fourth season.
The first season was released on DVD in region 1 on October 17, 2017. The second season was released on DVD on July 17, 2018.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Rank||Avg. viewers|
|1||Monday 10:00 pm (premiere)
Thursday 8:30 pm
|13||September 19, 2016||8.04||January 19, 2017||3.93||2016–17||77||5.72|
|2||Wednesday 10:00 pm (premiere)
Thursday 8:30 pm
|13||September 20, 2017||5.28||February 1, 2018||3.19||2017–18||77||5.78|
|3||Thursday 8:00 pm (premiere)
Thursday 8:30 pm (2018)
Thursday 9:30 pm (2019)
|13||September 27, 2018||3.13||January 24, 2019||2.39||2018–19||TBD||TBD|
The Good Place has received positive reviews from television critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 92%, based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 7.91/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kristen Bell and Ted Danson knock it out of the park with supremely entertaining, charming performances in this absurd, clever and whimsical portrayal of the afterlife." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on reviews from 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The editors of TV Guide placed The Good Place second among the top ten picks for the most anticipated new shows of the 2016–17 season. In its review from writer Liam Matthews, "NBC's new comedy has an impressive pedigree" (referring to Mike Schur and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, the latter cited as "arguably the greatest sitcom actor of all time"). Matthews concludes, "The hope is that their combined star power can restore NBC's tarnished comedy brand to its former glory. It won't be the next Friends, but it's something even better: a network comedy that feels different than anything that's come before."
The second season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has a rating of 100%, based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 8.95/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "By voluntarily blowing up its premise, The Good Place sets up a second season that proves even funnier than its first." On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 87 out of 100, based on reviews from 10 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The third season has also received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has a rating of 100%, based on 38 reviews, with an average rating of 8.79/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Charming and curious as ever, The Good Place remains a delightfully insightful bright spot on the television landscape." On Metacritic, the third season has a score of 96 out of 100, based on reviews from five critics, indicating "universal acclaim."
Multiple critics have praised the show for its exploration and creative use of ethics and philosophy. Featured topics include the trolley problem thought experiment (originally devised by Philippa Foot), the categorical imperative (first formulated by Immanuel Kant), T. M. Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other, and the works of Aristotle and Søren Kierkegaard. Andrew P. Street of The Guardian wrote that "moral philosophy is the beating heart of the program" and that the show "made philosophy seem cool." Elizabeth Yuko of The Atlantic noted that "The Good Place stands out for dramatizing actual ethics classes onscreen, without watering down the concepts being described, and while still managing to be entertaining." For their part, several philosophers have celebrated the show's largely accurate popularization of their line of work while noting some minor inaccuracies.
Several critics have noted that The Good Place is notable for its eschewing of antiheroes and cynical themes in favor of likable characters and a positive message. James Poniewozik of The New York Times explained that "the most refreshing thing about The Good Place, in an era of artistic bleakness, is its optimism about human nature. It's made humane and sidesplittingly entertaining television out of the notion that people – and even the occasional immortal demon – are redeemable." Jenna Scherer of Rolling Stone wrote that The Good Place proves that "slapstick and banter can coexist alongside tragedy and hardship – that a show doesn't need to be self-serious to be serious-minded." Erik Adams of The A.V. Club praised the show as portraying an "uncommonly decent TV world". Stuart Heritage of The Guardian called The Good Place "relentlessly optimistic", a quality which Stephanie Palumbo of Vulture called "a salve for despair in the Trump era".
|American Film Institute||N/A||Shortlisted|
|Film School Rejects||N/A||6|
|Las Vegas Weekly||4||5|
|Lincoln Journal Star||5||8|
|Los Angeles Times||Shortlisted||N/A|
|New York Post||N/A||7|
|San Francisco Chronicle||7||N/A|
|San Jose Mercury News||N/A||8|
|The A.V. Club||10||1|
|The Boston Globe||N/A||9|
|The New York Times||N/A||Shortlisted|
|The Salt Lake Tribune||N/A||6|
|The Village Voice||9||6|
|2016||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Most Exciting New Series||The Good Place||Won|
|IGN Awards||Best TV Comedy Series||The Good Place||Nominated|
|2017||American Film Institute Awards||Top 10 TV Programs of the Year||The Good Place||Won|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Comedy Series||Ted Danson||Won|
|Best Actress in a Comedy Series||Kristen Bell||Nominated|
|Gold Derby Awards||Comedy Lead Actor||Ted Danson||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite New Comedy Series||The Good Place||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Television Series||The Good Place||Nominated|
|TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||Kristen Bell||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Comedy||The Good Place||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Program||The Good Place||Nominated|
|2018||Hugo Award||Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form||"Michael's Gambit" written and directed by Michael Schur||Nominated|
|"The Trolley Problem" written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan and directed by Dean Holland||Won|
|People's Choice Awards||Best Comedy Show||The Good Place||Nominated|
|Comedy TV Star||Kristen Bell||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Maya Rudolph||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Ted Danson||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Television Series||The Good Place||Nominated|
|TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||Ted Danson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Comedy||The Good Place||Won|
|Program of the Year||The Good Place||Nominated|
|2019||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Kristen Bell||Nominated|
|Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy||The Good Place||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: Comedy Series||The Good Place||Pending|
|Satellite Awards||Best Musical or Comedy Series||The Good Place||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series||Ted Danson||Nominated|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Good Place|