Happiness is a Warm TV

Fall TV: Have faith that ‘The Good Place’ will get better

Kristen Bell as Eleanor and Ted Danson as Michael in NBC’s “The Good Place.”
Kristen Bell as Eleanor and Ted Danson as Michael in NBC’s “The Good Place.” Justin Lubin/NBC

NEW SHOW: The Good Place

WHEN: Monday Sept. 19, 10 p.m., NBC (Note: moves to normal timeslot at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22)

CAST: Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper

PREMISE: A selfish, destructive woman (Bell) dies and in the afterlife is mistakenly sent to “the good place,” run by a somewhat bumbling manager (Danson).

VERDICT: I love the premise (there’s a definite “Defending Your Life” influence) and I love the cast (how can you not??). I just wish I loved the show more. After watching the first four episodes available from the network, I think what bothers me most is Bell’s character. True, she’s meant to be an annoying jerk – and she is; she’s absolutely awful. Even with the strongest motivation a human being could possibly face (being kicked out of paradise and into hell), her efforts at self-improvement so that she can stay in “the good place” are minimal.

Unfortunately, so are the laughs.

I know jerks can be funny (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”! “Seinfeld”! “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”!) and I know Kristen Bell is great (“Veronica Mars” is my boo – and she’s even funny doing laundry!), so I’m surprised Bell’s character falls so flat.

All that said, I didn’t hate it and I’ll continue to watch, because with this cast (Danson is great), I have faith it’ll get better.

Read our complete guide to what to watch and what to skip for the 2016 Fall TV season.