The Good Place NBC Kristen Bell Ted Danson

The Good Place EP Explains Why We Only Get 4 More Episodes This Season

Good news: The Good Place returns from a two-month hiatus in a couple weeks. Now, the bad news: That return won’t last very long.

NBC’s freshman comedy, starring Kristen Bell as a woman mistakenly placed in a heaven-like afterlife, returns Thursday, Jan. 5 at 8:30/7:30c — but it’ll only air four more episodes this season, for a total of 13. Did NBC quietly decide to send Eleanor and company to the Bad Place (i.e., cancellation) early?

Not at all, creator/EP Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) assures us. In fact, the abbreviated 13-episode season was his plan from the start. “When I pitched the show to NBC, I felt pretty strongly it was kind of a big swing, and everything was gonna be really heavily serialized,” he tells TVLine. “It just felt like it made sense to keep that to a shorter season. And they very kindly and reasonably agreed with that.”

Normally, network sitcoms run 22 or more episodes, but Schur didn’t think The Good Place would fit into that mold: “It isn’t a ‘you can do as many of these as you want’ kind of a show. It has to be tightly plotted. And it’s much harder to do that over 22 or 24 episodes, versus 13 or so.”

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Plus, he says, the show’s cast was agreeable to a shortened season: “Kristen has been doing seasons that long for a while now [on Showtime’s House of Lies]. Ted [Danson] had been doing CSI, which obviously there are way more of. And doing that for a long time gets kind of exhausting. So everybody in every direction wanted the same thing.”

If The Good Place does gets renewed for a second season, “it would be of a similar length,” Schur says. But even if it did get a Season 2, it likely wouldn’t debut before September 2017, meaning a eight-month break between episodes, at least. Surviving a drought like that is gonna require a lot of frozen yogurt.

Calling all Good Place fans: Are you OK with the shortened season? And what do you hope to see in the final four episodes?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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85 Comments
  1. Really love this show, but for me this is a bad move. I will definitely watch the four episodes that air in the next few weeks, but leaving such a large gap between its first and second seasons doesn’t seem like the greatest of ideas and I think it will likely get renewed for the second season. I just feel like if anything they should have split the season into two halves as opposed to two thirds and then one third.

  2. Cj says:

    I love the show and have no problem with it only being 13 episodes a year. That being said i wish they would have played them all in the fall season, just to keep the pacing.

  3. rowenamck says:

    Honestly, this is how shows need to do things. Set a specified number of episodes for a season and stick with it. The filler episodes usually end up being garbage. A show can have more cohesive and enjoyable stories when the writers know exactly how many episodes they need per season and can plot the season accordingly. As much as I would love more episodes, I’d much rather have what they’ve given us than put up with filler episodes just because the network decided to add more to the season.

    • KT says:

      I’m with you! I’m more than OK with shorter seasons because the quality is better. I just don’t like weird breaks during the season. Just air them in a row!

  4. Tom says:

    I just hope we get some kind of closure if the worst case scenario happens and they don’t get a second season. Also, I feel the woman that plays Janet should get a supporting actress emmy nomination, but will she get one? Probably not.

  5. Kenbud says:

    Forkin’ love this show.

  6. DavidJ says:

    Normally I’m a big fan of these shortened seasons, but I have to admit this is one show I would be happy to see run the full 23-24 episodes since it’s so good. But if that is what they need to do to keep the quality high, then so be it.

  7. Spence says:

    As long as season 1 ends up on Netflix during the long hiatus, I think it’ll be okay ratings-wise! Such a great show, can’t wait for its return.

  8. Simon Jester says:

    I don’t mind a shorter season… but I STILL don’t understand the logic of going on hiatus after November 3. They could have aired the four remaining episodes Nov. 10, Nov. 17 — taken a week off for Thanksgiving — Dec. 1, and Dec. 8!

  9. Kevin says:

    I’m wondering if Good Place may not should but may get renewed for a second season even though NBC hasn’t done very well with sitcoms in years past.

  10. Janet! Please get me a box of tissues and some froyo. I really like this show and 13 episodes is not enough for me but I have to respect the creators. If that’s what they want to do, I’ll be back for season 2 when it airs in 84 years.

  11. Belle says:

    What the fork??? This show is awesome, only 13 episodes is crazy for a sitcom…for a drama sure that is acceptable. How can this story end after 13 shows??? New cast for season 2? Ugh, NBC you are killing us viewers again :(

    • Sara Lasersnake says:

      It’s deeper though. Look at how many eps of TBBT we’re graced with each season. Noooowwwww how interesting are those episodes? They’re mostly self-contained and forgettable. The characters aren’t developed.

      Quality overy quantity in programing and viewers.

  12. Haz says:

    I actually dropped the show around the time The Great Indoors premiered, while I quit watching The Great Indoors after one episode I never went back to The Good Place. I enjoy everyone involved in The Good Place and loved Parks and Rec and Brooklyn but I did not find this show funny. I’m not sure if it because it follows Superstore, which is much funnier to me but I honestly tried. I will say in all honesty I do not understand why NBC broke it up, why didn’t they double it up? I don’t know maybe it’s me but this show I maybe have enjoyed more if I could have binged watched it all at once. Kimmy Scmidt I’ve tried spacing the episodes and lose interest, however when I binge watch an entire season on a rainy day I enjoy it more. So maybe I said all that just to ask has anyone binged the episodes on Hulu and found it more enjoyable that way?

    • Gabby says:

      I binged this show and love it. When I saw the first episode, I wasn’t quite sure about it. The concept was new and different (which is the only reason I watched the next episode) but the comedy didn’t shine while they laid the ground work. It does ramp up and now I absolutely love it. It’s hilarious, the actors have great timing/delivery (shout out to Janet), and there’s enough twists to keep your attention. Would definitely recommend a binge session.

  13. GuessWhat says:

    put a fork in it

  14. Btm says:

    Mostly I want the show to have a satisfying ending. If 13 weeks of plotting get us there, so be it.

  15. Judson says:

    I watched all the episodes so far, but really I’m kinda tired of it already and I don’t see how they can drag the story line into multiple seasons. A nice 13 episode series ( run all together, please) would have been fine. A lot of shows have a good concept buts would be best served with a one or two season arc.

  16. Dannie C says:

    Really loving the good place & looking forward to watching Demi’s episode. I’m glad Schur got the episode order he wanted.

  17. Kate says:

    If a 13-episode season was the plan all along, then why not make it a summer show? Or keep all of the episodes together in the fall? It’s not a new concept.

  18. rowan77 says:

    One of the best new shows on TV. Michael Schur was absolutely correct to do a short season for this show and NBC made a rare decision for them, went with was was best for the show and the audience, and not greedily order a long season when ultimately it would be a disservice to all. How often in the past decade has anyone thought “NBC made a really good decision?”

  19. John NYC says:

    And 8 month break?

    Hoody Time!

  20. Christopher says:

    My favorite new network show this year.
    (honorable mention to People Of Earth and Search Party though).
    Really great creative comedies this year though, it’s pretty exciting.

  21. queensgirl says:

    I would be really forking disappointed if it was canceled. :/

  22. Deano Brown says:

    I’ve always been a big believer in quality over quantity when it comes to TV seasons.
    To those complaining about the 8 month break… What’s the problem?? If you like the show and want to see more then a longer break shouldn’t deteriorate your interest!!

    • Gospino says:

      But it often does. With so many choices of what to watch, I’m more likely to dump a show with a pathetically short season and a huge hiatus than to keep watching. And if enough other people feel this way, it will die.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        Potentially, but there are also longer shows (“Person Of Interest” during its run, “NCIS: Los Angeles” still) that have long runs, but take breaks (cast issues, holidays, etc.) during which they show reruns with characters who died in later episodes & whatnot… That is (some would argue) worse for the run than ending altogether!

  23. Walkie says:

    Very bad idea to have that length of time between seasons. Hard to keep people interested when there are so many other options. It’s one thing if it was a massive hit but it’s borderline.

  24. chiguy79 says:

    As many have mentioned in here, I like the shortened format. I think more shows should go this route. From the writer’s perspective it keeps them more focused and the story moving, which makes for a better fan experience. From the networks perspective, they can keep costs down by only having to pay actors and crew for 13 episodes instead of a full 22-24 (particularly when actors are demanding huge per episode paychecks). I think it’d be better if they went to a fall season, took the holiday break and then a new slate of shows for the late winter/spring season. It gets more opportunity for better shows and would remove the need to schedule weird gaps in season (think last season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) breaking up storylines. Some shows, typically dramas, could still keep the 24 episode format, but tell two stories in that time, something like OUAT. I haven’t watched that in the last few seasons but I’m sure the fans enjoy the A/B story seasons.

  25. R.O.B. says:

    I agree on the 13-ep season. More shows should do this, and others are doing it successfully with less fluff and tighter plots. HOWEVER, these 13 episodes should run without any kind of hiatus. If you’re going to do 13, do them all in a row.

  26. Larc says:

    Won’t miss it. Tried the first episode and thought it was 100% silly and 0% funny.

  27. Philip says:

    I thought that it was well known that this program was going well run for only 13 weeks. I saw that publicized alot. Shortened seasons are what they do in the Next K all the time. One writer writing all the episodes with a preplanned narrative.

    Fawlty towers ran for two Series of 6 episodes.

  28. trick2light says:

    I’ve watched several episodes and tried to like this show, but I just don’t. It seems like a retread of the much-better “Samantha Who?” which starred Christina Applegate several years back.

  29. NRQ says:

    Love “The Good Place”. Renew it, NBC! There’s nothing quite like this funny show on the other networks

  30. danoregon says:

    I’m surprised the networks don’t adopt the 13-ep season as a standard. It’s one of the things cable does remarkably well with season-long arcs where every episode has a meaning to the larger picture.

    • ChicagoDan says:

      It’s simple: money. Unlike cable networks that can repeat the same episode during a different time of day or fill schedules with syndicated programming, it doesn’t work well for networks who have a 36-week regular season. Just look at ABC and what happens on Thursdays with short seasons of Scandal and HTGAWM. Weeks are filled with reality and then shows like Notorious and The Catch. Plus more episodes = greater back end pay day.

      • Tim Church says:

        Like “Wicked City”, “The Catch” seemed good until its last few minutes, when it seemed to be intentionally over-complicating its future storylines. (Follow the main stuff until you know you’ll get a second season!)

        Also, “Notorious” was at worst as good as any of the other shows on the night, & should have been included in the “TGIT” hashtag, etc.!

  31. Brian says:

    I love the show, but it’s hard to see how it can continue on for a long time. She’s already found out as someone who isn’t supposed to be in the good place. Eventually she’s going to have to stay, and then what happens? This show certainly can’t run for 150+ episodes, so I’m fine with them keeping the seasons short.

  32. Tim Church says:

    Sorry to read about short seasons, but perfectly OK, especially if it gets renewed… Simply rebroadcast the episodes of Season 1 other places & times, the way “NCIS: LA” & other procedurals do mid-season (that potentially confuses fans, but would not in this situation).

  33. Jim A. says:

    A show that takes too long of a break is forgotten about. I think it is a bad idea to take an eight month break and come back with short seasons. It is a good show, but it’s not like it’s “The Sopranos” or something like that where you would eagerly await that return.

  34. Gospino says:

    Short seasons stink! When I like a show, I want to see as much as possible, not chirp that shorter seasons are so great. Because they’re not. And production companies generally don’t like doing short seasons either because then it takes much longer for a show to accumulate a good number of episodes for syndication, which is one of their biggest revenue sources. A show that does not turn enough profit won’t stick around. Keep that in mind before you clamor for crappy short seasons.

  35. Rich Abey says:

    Man I need a lot of “The Good Place” in my life…especially when the whole world wants to tear itself apart around me.

  36. RD says:

    I found this show smug, annoying and unfunny. British shows are rarely more than 6 or 8 episodes in one season and nobody complains. Concept-wise I don’t see how you can stretch this storyline out anyway.

  37. Kerri says:

    Hello. I personally enjoy the shorter season. I do not know if this show, despite having a great premise, can stand for another season as the story is not broad enough for thus. I do enjoy the show immensely and would like to see it continue if possible but as stated above, do not know if this is possible.

  38. Kerri says:

    Hi, I don’t understand why the fork they broke the show up thus, it makes no sense and I find it distracting; great show but I doubt ig it should be renewed for another season. it definitely is not shirt!

  39. Kristine says:

    I am all for the 13 episodes seasons; they are easier to bing watchon a cold or rainy day, and they’re all the modern way to go. Look at Netflicks. As for splitting up the season, I can see it for a 24 episode seasonbut not for a 13. :)

  40. RachelC says:

    They should just make it one of those shorter winter break shows, like Agent Carter or something. I’d still watch every episode, but it wouldn’t seem so stunted and off-kilter. When everything else is running hugely long seasons, this feels odd.

  41. DebG says:

    Am I OK with the shortened season? Well yes and no. As long as the quality is still there I’ll forgive them for not having a traditional season. The problem is there’s so few really good comedies out there that the wait for new episodes is going to be AGONIZING.

  42. Rick says:

    I also love this show a great deal. It has really clever writing and story lines. Very much like science fiction, the writers are free to be creative because there aren’t any rules in terms of where they can go with this. That being said, I wasn’t happy that it stopped so soon. I was totally into it. I hope the break doesn’t stop the momentum of the show.

  43. I’m ok with the shortened episodes because it would allow time for the writers of the show and the actors/actresess to process each show as it comes along, in addition to allowing plenty of time for creative ideas to be added to future episodes. The only thing I would gently suggest or recommend for now is maybe the possibility of adding at least 2 or 3 new worlds or more in addition to keeping the current world (due to the fact that I understand only so many requests can be met at a time).

  44. Sally says:

    Went by the set on a Universal Studio tour recently. It is cute. I like this show. It has grown on me.

  45. amalathea says:

    I love this show. And much like with the Mindy Project I don’t give a fork when I get more episodes or how many I get at a time. I just want to know more are infact coming. Promise me the fix is coming and I can hold off and wait for the buzz.

  46. Andy says:

    I am ok with 13 episode season, though those shows thrive on Netflix. A month plus sabbatical killed Pushing Daisies and I have high hopes for the good place.

  47. Candace Barrett says:

    Please please please renew this show! It’s the best thing on tv right now, funny,smart, well-acted and completely original. Please announce it soon to put me out of my misery!

  48. Amanda says:

    We enjoyed it so much I wouldn’t want to ruin it but it totally sucks there isn’t more to watch

  49. G L says:

    Like the show, but, seriously, if they’re too lazy to actually make a decent season of it, they shouldn’t waste our time.

    Eight months off? Geez, why bother, at all? Other shows that have done the same thing have completely lost their audiences and died when they finally returned. People forget about them.

  50. Joyce Centineo says:

    Really enjoyed the show….wish I did not have to wait 8 months for the 2nd season…if there is a next season would like it to be as long as possible. Would like to see everyone a little more settled together and staying in the good place. Hope they all find each other again!

    • Tim Church says:

      “As long as possible” is exactly what they did this season. (Do people not read articles before commenting on them?!)

      On the other hand, reuniting the Season 1 characters would be an almost-sure guarantee of a short season yet again, whereas having a bigger group than the show began with (more than just Bell) leaves a group viewers all recognize, & the show could then follow each of them (one per week, or all a bit each episode), allowing for more episodes in a single season.