The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc, the story of MLB’s first female player and Michael Weatherly’s NCIS follow-up. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
Next up on our list….
THE SHOW | NBC’s The Good Place (Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c, following an hour-long sneak preview on Monday, Sept. 19 at 10 pm)
THE COMPETITION | ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, CBS’ Thursday Night Football (and then The Great Indoors, new), Fox’s Rosewood and The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow
THE CAST | Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (Cheers), William Jackson Harper (The Electric Company), Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden (Broad City)
THE SET-UP | In this new, straight-to-series offering from Michael Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation), Bell plays Eleanor Shellstrop, a rather selfish piece of work who upon dying accidentally ends up in “The Good Place.”
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | From go, Schur has created a colorful and fun-to-look-at world with The Good Place‘s titular haven, which is alternately sprawling, lush lawns and cozy, frozen yogurt shop-laden streetscapes. The pilot is also peppered with freeze frame-worthy details, such as a list of “point values” assigned to good and bad Earthly behaviors. (Sorry, vegans!) All told, The Good Place is a fun, funny place to visit — especially once the ramifications of Eleanor’s accidental entry are felt.
As said bad girl, Bell is a highly entertaining mix of snarky Veronica Mars and House of Lies‘ crafty Jeannie, reluctant to modulate her misbehavior, as much as she must. Two-time Emmy winner Danson, as the architect who crafted this particular parcel of The Good Place, imbues Michael with the pride and joy of an ebullient, less-twisted Willy Wonka. Harper, Jamil/Jacinto and Carden play Eleanor’s “soulmate”/confidant, her cloying neighbors and a Siri-like knowledge base, respectively.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | The Good Place inhabits an “OK” place on the schedule, as the only comedy in its time slot… for the first month or so, until the Big Bang-buoyed Life in Pieces returns. But because of its limited, by-design 13-episode run — and despite having a soft lead-in in Superstore — viewers shouldn’t worry about this one perishing before its time.
Watch the trailer for NBC’s The Good Place, then vote in our poll.