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The Good Place

Jane and I are having another stint of Netflix; they kept on sending me messages saying ‘come back for another free month’ and it would have been rude to keep saying no. Top thing to watch this time round is The Good Place (2016-), a comedy about ethics.

The central character is Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell), a vain and selfish woman who dies but seems to have been accidentally sent to ‘The Good Place’ of the title. Not wanting to be discovered and sent to ‘The Bad Place’, she tries to become a better person, learning about ethics from books but also through the practice of responding to what life in this place throws at her.

It is the kind of concept that could end up being either twee or offensive. It certainly isn’t a Christian conception of heaven, where everyone is a sinner saved by grace. Here, it seems there is a karmic principle at work, where actions add or remove points from a cosmic score which determines your eternal home (except when eternity makes mistakes). However, what the writers have arrived at is a fantastic vehicle to create humour and emotion (you have to love how Eleanor is making an effort) but also a fascinating way of working through a whole series of ethical concepts and choices.

We’ve got up to the end of season one and I highly commend it so far. I wonder if I can manage season two before my free trial runs out…

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