The Good Place: Season 4 — a review



Michael Schur is probably the most famous person I knew almost nothing about until just five minutes ago.

He was a writer-producer on Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2004. Then he became a writer-producer, then executive producer, of the US version of The Office. He also appeared on that show as an actor, playing Dwight Schrute’s cousin Mose in several episodes. Along with Greg Daniels, he co-created Parks and Recreation, which was originally envisioned as a spinoff of The Office before becoming its own thing. Schur also served as a writer-executive-producer on that series, and tried his hand at directing for the first time. Then he co-created Brooklyn Nine-Nine (again, writing, executive-producing, directing), which is a series I’ve never watched, even to this day, although I’m considering doing so now.

Schur also was co-writer, along with Park and Recreation‘s Rashida Jones, of the teleplay “Nosedive,” for the anthology series Black Mirror. Plus, he’s married to Regis Philbin’s daughter, J.J. Philbin, with whom he has two children.

Oh, and he created The Good Place, which began airing in 2016 and became a surprise critical and commercial success. Season 4 is this series’s last season. It wasn’t cancelled, if the press releases are to be believed. Schur felt that the story he had wanted to tell was over after four seasons. Dictating the demise of your own series has to be the ultimate expression of power in Hollywood. And, without a doubt, the Harvard-educated Schur has been a success, even if I knew nothing about him until a few minutes ago.

I knew something about The Good Place, though. This has become a familiar pattern for me. My wife had watched part of the first season as it aired, but quickly lost interest in it. I understood the premise and decided it probably wasn’t for me, even though I’ve always admired Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. When the series came to Netflix, I finally began watching it. And continued to watch it.

This is an absurd comedy about the afterlife. The final season is not where you want to start watching this show, because it is a serialized program that actually tells a story. In this season, the story is brought to a close. Overall, I found the ending to be a satisfying one.

My enjoyment in any fantasy-heavy story, such as this one, relies on the strength of its characters. Having watched and enjoyed the previous three seasons, I was heavily invested in the end-story of The Good Place‘s main characters: Eleanor (Kristen Bell); Chidi (William Jackson Harper); Tahini (Jameela Jamil); Jason (Manny Jacinto); Michael (Ted Danson); and the cosmic AI Janet (D’Arcy Carden). Each of these characters brings something different, and entertaining, to the series. Those of us who were hooked on the show watched it, in large part, for the interaction between the members of this ensemble cast.

As we left things in the previous season, the goal was to fix the afterlife scoring system so that people can actually get into The Good Place again. Things get darker for our protagonists before they get better, and, as is usually the case, achieving their goal doesn’t exactly fix all of their problems. Opening the gates of Heaven just leads to the question: What comes after Heaven?

This final season wraps all of this up and ends the story. Maybe not as neatly as some would like it, since there are still questions not entirely answered. This viewer found it to be a satisfying conclusion.

Firewater’s Time-Means-Nothing-Jeremy-Bearimy-Baby! Final Season Report Card: A


Yes, still an A. Watch this series. It rocks. You may pick up some philosophy along the way as well.

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