Monday, January 30, 2017

Me of Little Faith; The Good Place scores a season 2

Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in
NBC's The Good Place
I have a confession to make.  When I first heard, about a year ago, that NBC had picked up, straight to series, the high-concept, heaven-set comedy The Good Place, I thought the show would turn out to be too smart for broadcast TV.

I underestimated viewers -- after all, the majority of us who voted did not vote for Trump -- and thought the show's serialized storyline and its dabbling with philosophy and theology would be a turn-off to the NBC crowd.

And then later, in watching the show, I also thought I was picking up on inconsistencies in its writing.  For instance, if Eleanor (Kristen Bell) doesn't get credit for good deeds done for a selfish reason -- i.e., to stay in the Good Place -- then why is Tahani (Jameela Jamil) there?  After all, we've seen how she was driven to her good deeds on earth not by a sense of altruism but by a need to outshine her sister.

I was wrong. On all counts.  Mea maxima culpa.

I certainly should have had more faith in The Good Place creator Mike Schur, who entertained us for years as a writer for The Office -- and even on-screen, as Dwight's idiot brother Mose -- and as the creator of the brilliant Parks & Recreation and co-creator of the equally hilarious Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I should have realized that here, the Creator had a master plan.

Now, not only has the show scored decent ratings (see below) among well-heeled viewers, but it's scored something even harder to get these days:  buzz.  And, thanks to that buzz, and positive critical reviews, the show has earned what really counts in network TV:  a second-season renewal.

In a press release beginning with "Free yogurt for everyone!" NBC announced its pickup this morning of a second, 13-episode of the series -- which, for those of us who saw the season 1 finale with its shocking and brilliant twist, we're dying to see.  For those who like numbers with their comedy, here are the ratings NBC cited in its renewal decision:

In its rookie season, “The Good Place” has averaged a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” figures from Nielsen Media Research, improving the timeslot by +36% over NBC’s Thursday 8:30 average last season. The show’s Jan. 19 season finale delivered 5.2 million viewers after three days of time-shifted and video-on-demand viewing, for the show’s biggest L+3 audience since Oct. 27.

“The Good Place” has also generated a strong upscale audience, indexing at a 135 among adults 18-49 living in homes with $100K+ incomes (with 100 representing an average concentration of those homes).

The announcement does not specify if The Good Place's season two will debut in the fall or if its relatively short run will begin sometime later in the 2017-18 season.  (And I hope it's not a case of Heaven Can Wait.  That, of course, would be bullshirt!)

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