Mak­ing the most of eter­nity

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - The Good Place,

Only a few weeks af­ter ap­pear­ing on many crit­ics’ year-end best-of lists, the popular and un­err­ingly of-its-time Amer­i­can sit­com, The Good Place, fi­nally comes to free-to-air.

“Every­thing is Fine,” says a mes­sage on the wall in front of Eleanor Shell­strop (Kris­ten Bell), who can’t quite fig­ure out how she got to this an­ti­sep­tic wait­ing room. Soon she’s ush­ered in to see Michael (Ted Dan­son), who an­nounces with a great flour­ish that Eleanor is dead and has, thank­fully, ar­rived at the Good Place to spend eter­nity.

The cheer­fully en­thu­si­as­tic Michael, part angel and part ad­min­is­tra­tor, pairs her up with soul­mate and univer­sity ethics pro­fes­sor Chidi Anagonye (Wil­liam Jack­son Harper) and in­stalls them in his self-de­signed neigh­bour­hood along­side fel­low soul­mates Ta­hani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), who claims to have been “Baz Luhrmann’s muse for awhile, quite fun that was”, The Good Place and silent Bud­dhist monk Jianyu Li (Manny Jac­into).

But hang on: Eleanor knows for a fact she wasn’t a good per­son, so to keep Michael from dis­cov­er­ing she’s been sent to the Wrong Place, she en­lists Chidi to give her a crash course on phi­los­o­phy and ethics (un­usual ter­ri­tory for a sit­com).

The Good Place is the brain­child of Brook­lyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recre­ation cre­ator Michael Schur, and is of a piece with those two pro­grams in of­fer­ing fun­da­men­tal de­cency with a touch of sur­re­al­ism (curs­ing is im­pos­si­ble, which leads to such Eleanor mal­a­prop­isms as “fork!” and “shirt-for-brains”.

Think pieces have been writ­ten and aca­demic pa­pers are surely forth­com­ing, but for now, wel­come to the good place of The Good Place. Mon­day, 9.30pm, ABC.

Kris­ten Bell and Ted Dan­son in a scene from the first sea­son of

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