The Good Place avoids the sophomore slump experienced by some television shows during their second season by doing something very smart.
During the second season, the series changes the entire premise of the show.
I knew I couldn’t stay interested in this if it continued to be about bad-girl Eleanor (Kristen Bell) having to pretend to be good (or even try to become good) in order to deserve her afterlife home in The Good Place (a sort of nondenominational heaven). Instead, we find out at the end of Season 1 that Eleanor and her new friends aren’t in The Good Place at all. They are in The Bad Place (or, hell, if you prefer), and that Michael (Ted Danson) has been torturing them.
Danson’s transformation into the diabolical Michael was a thing of beauty during this reveal.
So, the second season completely rewrites everything we thought we already knew about The Good Place, while playing fair with everything that has come before. Michael still turns out to be an ally, because his job—his very existence—is on the line if his new concept for afterlife punishment and torture fails. He ends up joining forces with Eleanor and her friends.
Just in case there’s still anyone out there playing catchup on Netflix, I’m not going to spoil the entire season for you. I will say that the series begins to take on familiar aspects of other workplace comedies, only with a setting that is a bit more surreal. And, at the end of this season, it appears the series is taking another jog to the left, changing things up for the third season.
I like The Good Place and recommend it to you, wholeheartedly. It probably won’t make you a better person for having watched it, but it’s good for a chuckle or two.
Season 2 Report Card: B+