Review: The Good Place, Series 3, Netflix

I always wondered if my philosophy degree would be of any use in the real world and finally it has. The Good Place is the first programme I can recall that namechecks serious thinkers such as Philippa Foot, who tackled the ethical dilemma of would you push one person in front of a runaway tram to save a crowd of people? In series three Tim Scanlon also gets namechecked for his book What we owe to each other.

But before you head to the library sit back and enjoy this show. Yes, it is about as intellectually ambitious as comedy comes – I can’t imagine BBC or C4 ever commissioning it – but it is also very, very funny.

To recap, self-proclaimed trashbag Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) was accidentally sent to Heaven – the Good Place – when she should’ve gone to hell – The Bad Place. Except that heaven was hell. Please keep up. Now, after various twists she is back on earth as if it never happened and has to reunite with the friends she made in the afterlife. 

So far so frankly ridiculous, but the combination of great performances, witty lines and clever sight gags (An Aussie muffin stall called ‘We crumb from a land down under’’) will keep you hooked. The standout is Ted Danson as turncoat-Demon-with-a-heart Michael who tries to help them, creating the situation where they all end up together for what they think is the first time.

Dithering philosophy tutor Chidi (William Jackson Harper), egocentric Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and uber dullard Jason (Manny Jacinto) are also great fun to watch. Eleanor is on a particularly steep learning curve though, suddenly discovering that Aristotle doesn’t rhyme with Chipotle.

And it’s interesting, by the way, that Netflix is dripping out episodes weekly*, how very old school, at a time that the BBC is lobbing out boxed sets, Trust, Killing Eve, faster than you can keep up. You don’t actually need a philosophy degree to enjoy The Good Place though it might help. Actually scrub that, you’ll find this hilarious even if you think Aristotle rhymes with Chipotle.

The first episode is on Netflix now. Episodes are released on Fridays.

*I think because it's also airing on US TV that way?

 

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