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The Good Place (season 04)

Josh Reviews The Good Place: Season Four

February 10th, 2020
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I’m not sure I am emotionally ready yet to bid a final farewell to The Good Place, which has been one of my most dearly-loved TV shows these past few years.  And with the beautiful, devastatingly emotional series finale, Mike Schur’s show about four dim bulbs in the afterlife who somehow become responsible for saving the fates of all humanity has cemented itself as one of my very favorite TV shows of all time.  The show was funnier than almost anything else on television.  It created a vast, Simpsons-like universe of supporting characters.  It had a main cast of brilliant actors doing the work of a lifetime, creating six characters who I grew to love incredibly deeply by the time the series ended, in the way that happens sometimes with special characters on special shows.  And, most important of all, The Good Place was a show with something to say.  This was a show that often tackled deep topics of ethics and morality and theology.  Again and again and again, it reminded us of the simple lesson that there is nothing more important in this world than simple acts of human kindness.  Who’d have thought, when the show began, how radical and how critically important that would be in our lives today.

Here in this fourth season, and especially in the poignant series finale, Mike Schur and his amazing team of writers brought this story to a deeply satisfying conclusion.  I am so pleased that the show was able to end on its own terms, at a time of its creators’ choosing.  The result is a beautifully complete four-season story, one that not only charts the personal journeys of our six main characters (the four human morons, plus immortal beings Michael and Janet), but also, in the end, the destiny of all mankind.

I love these characters, and I am now a fan-for-life of all of the wonderful actors playing these roles.  Let’s start with the two already-known stars.  I have, of course, been a fan of the great Ted Danson ever since the early days of Cheers.  One might have thought he could never top Sam Malone, but he has been amazing in a host of wonderful subsequent TV series.  One of my personal favorites was the noir-ish comedy Bored to Death.  But he has found yet another “role of a lifetime” here as Michael, the immortal being who designed and oversees the Good Place neighborhood in which our four human characters find themselves after they die.  At first, Michael seemed like a constant, unchanging character, but actually, his journey towards humanity has been one of the richest on the show.  Mr. Danson’s innate goodness shines through, … [continued]