NBC’s hit serial sitcom The Good Place has proven in its now season and a half or so on the air to be one of the “peacock network’s” biggest properties in years. That is because currently, there is little if anything like it on television – broadcast, cable and even online – like it today. Though, there is no denying in watching this series its similarity to another former NBC hit serial sitcom in the form of My Name Is Earl. Given, the two series are not entirely alike, but there are enough similarities that one cannot ignore the series’ connection. Even with that in mind, The Good Life is still deserving of its own applause, and later this audiences maybe not familiar with the series will see why it is deserving of its own applause when Shout! Factory releases the series’ debut season on DVD.
There are plenty of things that audiences can say to the positive about The Good Place: The Complete First Season beginning with its’ writing. That will be discussed shortly. Just as important to Season One’s presentation as the writing is the work of the series’ cast. This will be discussed later. The bonus material included in the set rounds out its most important elements, and when it is considered along with the once again welcome precise episode listing inside the case and the set’s average price point, the whole proves to be a set that will put any of the series’ fans in their own good place.
Shout! Factory’s forthcoming release of The Good Place: The Complete First Series is a collection that is certain to put the series’ fans in their own good place. That is due in no small part to the work of the series’ writers beginning with the series’ very premise. The premise is simple: a person who was not so nice in life dies, goes to the afterlife and ends up learning to be a better person and bettering others in the process. The catch here is that the woman – Eleanor Shellstrop – shouldn’t be where she is….or should she? (not to give away too much from the series’ second season, which recently premiered). Regardless of whether the good place is in fact the good place or not, Eleanor’s personal growth over the course of the first season is something that audiences will love to watch. That is thanks not only to the stories, but how the stories are executed. From causing giant frogs and cocktail shrimp to terrorize her afterlife home to causing a giant sinkhole to who knows where to appear and more, the ways in which Eleanor learns to become a better person will leave audiences laughing uproariously while also moving them. Again, The very concept of a lead figure trying to improve is nothing new for NBC. Audiences saw a very similar concept in My Name Is Earl, but it was done in a different format. Add in the fact that the writers keep viewers guessing throughout Season One if the good place is indeed the good place thanks to Michael’s story line and there’s plenty to keep audiences engaged.
The story’s plot is just one part of what makes the writing so enjoyable in the first season of The Good Place. The way in which the episodes are separated, which is – like the show’s premise – very much like that of My Name is Earl. Whereas the earlier program was divided up into names on Earl’s list, this series is divided up into the people who Eleanor meets in her afterlife and the connections between them and herself. There are no overly drawn out interweaving subplots. Rather, each episode focuses only on the noted story lines, which are clearly outlined in the episode guide inside the set’s case. This will be touched on lightly later.
As if the storylines and the series’ plot are not enough example of what makes the series’ writing so strong in its debut season, the back stories presented for each of Eleanor’s new friends add their own depth to the series as they help with the series’ overall character development. This leads viewers to be even more engaged as they either root for certain characters or boo them. It is all so entertaining, and collectively shows why this show’s writing, even in its lead season, is so important to its whole. It is just one part of what makes the series’ debut season so enjoyable. The work of the series’ cast is just as important as that of its writers to its presentation in Season One.
The work of The Good Place’s cast is so important to note in examining the series’ first season because their work keeps viewers just as entertained and engaged as the writing. Kristen Bell’s take on Eleanor is spot on as Eleanor goes from completely clueless, self-centered subject to someone who actually, genuinely cares about people. Again, that care and concern for others grows in the series’ now second season, but that won’t be discussed too much here. Fellow leads Ted Danson and William Jackson Harper are just as entertaining as Michael and Chidi. In all honesty, Danson’s take on the somewhat manic Michael is perhaps his best portrayal since his days as bartender Sam from yet another former NBC hit series, Cheers. He makes Michael so silly in his behavior, yet there is something so entertaining about that silliness even if Michael might not be such a nice guy after all. Harper meanwhile has wonderful chemistry opposite Bell anytime the pair is onscreen together. Chidi’s neurotic behavior is so funny to watch whenever he has to deal with Eleanor thanks to Jackson’s work. That behavior, juxtaposed against Eleanor’s more carefree nature makes for such an entertaining odd couple setup. Keeping all of this in mind, all three of the series’ leads do so much to make the show so fun. When they are joined by the supporting cast, they show just as much talent. When all of this is considered, it becomes clear why the cast’s work in The Good Place’s first season is just as important as the work of the series’ writers. It is hardly the last of the set’s most important elements, too. The bonus material included in the set plays its own part in the set’s presentation, too.
Audiences get plenty to appreciate in the bonus material included with the first season of The Good Place. The standard gag reel and table read offer plenty of behind the scenes entertainment for audiences, giving them another view of how much fun the cast had preparing for each episode. The audio commentary included in the series’ premiere and the season finale offer just as much entertainment as well as a certain amount of insight. The look at how the series’ special effects were brought to life will especially engage those with an interest in the visual arts, especially as they apply in the realm of computer graphics. Those audiences will be amazed (along with fans in general) at the amount of work that went into bringing the good place to life including all of the craziness brought on by Eleanor’s choices. It all collectively makes the whole of this set’s bonus material just as fun to watch as the series itself. When it is joined with the series’ episodes, it makes the set’s viewing experience that much more entertaining. Add in a relatively affordable average price point of $14.49 (determined by comparing prices at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Shout! Factory’s store), and audiences get in this set a collection that is sure to put audiences in their own good place.
Shout! Factory’s forthcoming home release of The Good Place: The Complete First Season is a release that is certain to put audiences in their own good place. That is due in no small part to the work of the show’s writers. Whether intentionally or not, the writers have generated an entertaining plot here that bears a striking similarity to that of My Name Is Earl, just with a few alterations in terms of the setup. Eleanor’s attempts to hide her secret, which result in her own personal growth, makes for its plenty of endearing entertainment. The work of the series’ lead cast adds even more entertainment to the series’ lead season. The bonus material included in the set and the set’s relatively affordable average price point put the finishing touches to the set. Each piece is important in its own right to the collection. All things considered, The Good Place: The Complete First Season is certain to put viewers in their own good place. The Good Place: The Complete First Season will be available in stores and online Oct. 17. It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
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