When I first saw the trailer for NBC’s new fantasy based sitcom, The Good Place, I didn’t give it much of a chance. But after getting to watch the pilot episode at San Diego Comic-Con today my opinion has changed.
From Michael Schur, executive producer of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Parks and Recreation,” comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars”), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person.
The pilot, like most pilots, serves as a setup for the premise. Opening with a meeting between Danson and Bell having a conversation about being recently deceased and landing in “the good place.” Each thing you do on earth is worth positive and negative points. It determines if you make it to “the good place” or “the bad place.”
It’s very visually interesting because the world it takes place in is designed based on the people in it. Exaggerated houses with oversized fountains and shiny chandeliers ordorn every house in the neighborhood expect for Bell’s house. It resembles a child’s play pit at McDonald’s complete with creepy clown artwork.
Schur said the writing team spent almost 20 hours just thinking of names of shops around the city. Some of the ones that made the final cut are gems. Hidden gems include; Luncheon & Dragons, Hugging Bears (A Place to Hug Bears), Everything Fits (Clothing Store), All the Books (Bookstore) Anticipated Needs (Drug Store) and the list goes on and on.
Writer and Producer Michael Schur said the show idea came to him one day while driving in LA. People were turning on yellow lights well after they turned red. Two cars going through the light you can excuse but 3 or 4 is just rude and that 4th guy was usually a Mercedes. I got mad at that hypothetical situation and imagined what if we keep score? They would lose 38 points for running a red light. Kristen’s character is something if you honked at her she would flip you off and drive away. Again you lose points for that. When you die you are judged based on your life choices – thus sending you to the good place or the bad place – a show was born.
Danson said, “We drive to work giggling about what we get to do each day. The scripts are so good you don’t want to “fork” anything up” Playing off the fact you cannot swear in “The Good Place” do to network TV but also do to the fact you are in heaven. That type of humor comes off a little like a pile of dad jokes – but somehow still works within the context of the show.
As I said before, the initial trailer made me think this would probably be a one and done type of show for the network but after seeing the pilot my feelings have changed. Solid acting, fun premise and Kristen Bell nails her character on every level to be convincing and entertaining.
Check out the series premiere September 19th | 10/9 C