TV Review: “Episodes” and “The Good Place”

By | September 21, 2017

Episodes…Halfway through its fifth and final season, “Episodes” is playing to its already established strengths (a showbiz-satire that’s actually accurate, sharp dialogue, and Matt LeBlanc’s excellent skewering of himself, he’s clearly enjoying the best role he’ll likely ever get) more than risking it all on too many bold new directions, but that’s probably for the best. If people have resisted the series for this long, it’s unlikely they’ll be many newcomers this season (about two years after the fourth, and when most people might have thought this show was cancelled), and I’m just glad that we’re finally freed of “Pucks,” the awful show-within-a-show that kept getting renewed against-all-odds, much like “Episodes” itself. By exploring the new awfulness of punishment-style game shows, the absurdity of “leaked” celebrity sex tapes (people being outraged by something they were never given permission to watch), and a low-key final lap for a series that probably shouldn’t end any other way, “Episodes” looks to end a lot better than the prematurely cancelled network-series its characters are always working on. Grade for Final Season (So Far): A-

The Good Place…Although “Episodes” is about halfway through its final season, I’m hoping “The Good Place” has a real future ahead of it, although last night’s premiere seemed to be a meta-wink, as Michael’s struggles to keep the faux-“Good Place” charade going is also acknowledging just how difficult it may be for the series to keep it going. Unlike “Episodes,” “The Good Place” doesn’t have a premium cable network’s patience in figuring it out either, and you have to wonder if Michael’s impatient, unforgiving boss Sean is based on an NBC executive saying the series had better do better ratings-wise “or else retirement could be on the table.” Thinking about it that way adds an extra dimension to what’s already a layered-experience, and even if I question Eleanor figuring out something is up so quickly (plus, they’d be better off just playing along even if they do figure it out because the actual Bad Place sounds so much worse than the faux-“Good Place”), I’m excited to see where the series goes and how long Ted Danson’s surprisingly likable devil can keep the plates spinning. [And Bonus Points for having so much Tahani in the premiere, giving the great Jameela Jamil so many stand-out comedic moments.] Grade for Season Premiere: B+

2 thoughts on “TV Review: “Episodes” and “The Good Place”

  1. Sue

    I like Episodes. Got tired of waiting when they had a really long time in between but glad it was finalized which was a good ending

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