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The Good Place

NBC’s metaphysical sitcom is one of TV’s funniest comedies.

The Good Place Colleen Hayes/NBC
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

The stakes on Michael Schur’s sitcoms just keep getting bigger and bigger. He started out as a staff writer on The Office, where all that was really at risk was one workplace. But in Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, both of which he co-created, the stakes eventually approached something like life and death. And now on The Good Place, the very fate of the universe is on the line.

Somehow, Schur makes all of this seem funny. The Good Place is set in the afterlife, and it begins with a rude, unpleasant woman named Eleanor — played by Kristen Bell — being mistakenly slotted into the titular “good place,” rather than the bad place, where she clearly belongs. Schur’s scripts can be philosophically dense, but Bell is the perfect avatar for his ideas, all sunshine, puppy dogs, and bloodthirsty malice. (The series also features terrific work from Ted Danson and a pitch-perfect ensemble of series regulars and guest stars.)

That’s all I can say, but trust me when I urge you to discover The Good Place’s surprises for yourself. By now, deep in season three, the show’s initial premise is at least six premises out of date; what delights you have in store!

“Unlike most network sitcoms, The Good Place allows its characters to change.” Sam Adams, Slate

Metacritic score: 96 out of 100

Where to watch: New episodes of The Good Place air Thursdays on NBC at 8:30 pm EST. The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and you should definitely watch them both before starting season three.

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