Can “The Good Place” Continue to See Strong Ratings Even With Not-So-Good Reviews?

The new NBC sitcom The Good Place premiered on September 19, 2016 to 8.04 million viewers.


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The comedy focuses on the idea of an afterlife, specifically Eleanor Shellstrop’s afterlife. In this universe, there is a supposedly very selective “good place” and a standard “bad place.”  Eleanor has been sent to “the good place” although the audience comes to discover that this is a mistake or glitch in the system as she was a horrible person in her lifetime. The series will go on to deal with the repercussions of this as well as whether or not Eleanor becomes a better person in “the good place”.


The breakdown of getting to “the good place,” (Pilot. Season 1, Episode 1, 2016)

With an interesting twist on a classic fantasy scenario along with a strong cast– led by Kristen Bell and Ted Danson as well as a creative team lead by Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Michael Schur– The Good Place was expected to be a smash hit, but ultimately was met with mixed reviews.

While The New York Times reviewer praises the acting and one liners (“I was a medium person! I should get to spend eternity in a medium place… like Cincinnati!), USA Today‘s reviewer remained unimpressed, saying  he expected more (more character connection, more consistent laughs, etc).

I’m curious to follow the buzz about this show during this season’s 13 episode arc to see if it maintains high viewership as well as what side critical reception will skew to as the series continues. I personally think that will be a nice juxtaposition to the work we will be doing in class. I’m looking forward to analyzing the sitcom growth and change and getting to see that at play today on a brand new show on a major network.

Taylor Borden

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4 Responses to Can “The Good Place” Continue to See Strong Ratings Even With Not-So-Good Reviews?

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I haven’t had a chance to watch this show but I think you bring up a good point about viewership/critics. I feel like this happens a lot with new shows. While it might receive high viewership, there are also a good number of critics. However, I also think any good sitcom will always have critics. I think the viewership numbers tell more about a show than the amount of criticism it receives from the media. – Katie Thevenow

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I have not yet seen this show but I will definitely be giving it a chance after reading your blog. I always like to challenge critics and see for myself whether I like a show. I will say, however, that the plot of the show is very strange. I do not know how long you can drag a show with a plot like that; it seems very limited.
    -Jenna Romano

  3. mediaphiles says:

    There are many shows that are critic proof. In fact, The Big Bang Theory was (or maybe it still is) the most popular show on television for many years, though critics were less than enthused with it. For The Good Place, I think the critics have been warm on it. It’s from the guy who made Parks and Recreation (which was a critical darling), so the critics are giving it the benefit of the doubt. Most reviews I’ve seen have been very positive. So I think the show can continue to see strong ratings and receive strong critical notice. – Max Dosser

  4. marymdalton says:

    I did not care for the first two episodes but warmed to it a little during the third episode. Now I’m so far behind on everything that watching another episode feels like a burden!

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