Game-Changer


One of the most interesting and high-concept series to debut this fall was "The Good Place." It was about a woman (Kristen Bell) who died and ended up in the Good Place — TV Slang for Heaven. But  the thing was she didn't belong there. The architect of the neighborhood (Ted Danson) made a mistake. Hilarity ensues.

I thought the pilot and second episode were quite good, but I wondered how it was going to move forward. Of course, the pilot also took equal opportunity shots at a number of different religions, including Christianity, which was something to be considered. But there was a charm to the series, so I stuck with it.

Slowly, it developed into one of the best comedies on TV, and the best comedy NBC had done in years. While I enjoy its companion series, "Superstore," "The Good Place" reminds me of classic NBC comedies. Enough that I put it on my list of the five best comedies for 2016.

On Thursday, it wrapped up its first season. "The Good Place" got just a 13 episode season, with the final two airing together. In a lot of ways it made sense. With the premise and the way the story developed, there was only so much that could take place to carry on that dramatic tensions without some sort of resolution. Eleanor's secret (Bell) was out, she didn't belong. And the question became what would happen.

SPOILER'S BELOW

That's what made the final so interesting, and the show essentially flipped the concept on its head and reset the script. It turns out Eleanor wasn't wrongly admitted to the Good Place, she was rightly placed with three others in the Bad Place in a sort of game meant for them to torture each other for eternity.

Michael (Danson) wasn't a good architect, but rather the architect of a nefarious experiment designed to cause unending tension and pain for his four targets, and unending fun for those in on the experiment. It was a fascinating reveal that reframed all we'd seen, including the growth we saw in Eleanor as a person throughout the season.

This also opens up a world of possibilities for the second season. Much like the daring of "VEEP," which followed through with having Selina Meyers lose the election and the White House at the end of the season, "The Good Place" has reset the script and given themselves license to go in a lot of different directions for a presumptive second season.

Not only could this show be a salvation for NBC comedy, it could prove to be one of the most daring and clever shows on TV. I can't wait to see where it goes next.

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