DVD Review: The Good Place (The Complete Second Season)

As long as there has been network TV in America, the goal of each sitcom is to have a season that lasts 24 episodes or more. You want a long season so you can ultimately get to the 100 episodes desired for a long run in syndication where the money is really made for those who profit off reruns. When start watching British TV shows, it’s a massive shock to realize that for a vast majority of sitcoms, a season is around six episodes. And often led to confused PBS viewers wondering why the channel kept playing the same 12 Fawlty Towers episodes. Over the last few years, the idea that a tv season doesn’t have to be 24 episodes has caught on with cable channels who want to keep budgets low while having original content. The shorter season also allows creative producers to focus on the quality of the season rather than quantity. And now it seems at least one broadcast network is comfortable with the new paradigm. NBC has run The Good Place with only 13 episodes a season. This “half” season has allowed creator Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation & Brooklyn Nine-Nine) to delve into the after life without retooling plots from Welcome Back Kotter. The Good Place: The Complete Second Season shows that the this process is working amazingly well.

Eleanor Shellstrop (Frozen‘s Kirsten Bell) has died and arrived in what is called The Good Place. Her guide is Michael (Cheers‘s Ted Danson) who is in charge of this little part of “Heaven.” Things aren’t always going right and he seems a bit bumbling in explaining the various glitches. At the end of the first season, we discover the horrible truth about The Good Place and the reality of Michael. Such a big twist seemed to make things rather shaky for the second season to live up to the fun. It’s easy to get the fear that this could devolve into the second season of Lost. Not to give away too much, but Michael has to reset the memories of Elenor and her three pals Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu Li (Manny Jacinto). He wants his experiment to work. The thing is his plan for the grand experiment keeps failing because someone Elenor and her pals keeps exposing that this isn’t quite The Good Place. Nothing like a Clam Chowder lazy river to make you question who’s Heaven is this? Elenor does want to go to the real Good Place and Michael wants to tag along since his screw ups have pissed off his wicked boss.

The show is addictive with the chemistry between Danson and Bell keeping the after life weirdness enjoyable. This is Ted’s best role since they shutdown Cheers. He even gets behind the bar for a scene.

The Good Place is the perfect show to have on DVD because you want to binge watch it. The episodes feed off each other. Only having 13 episodes means you can enjoy the entire season between brunch and dinner on a Sunday afternoon. This is great since the third season is coming this fall and it’s another 13 episodes. The episodes on the DVD are a bit longer than their original broadcast by a few minutes each which means more goodness of The Good Place.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks fine so you can see the details in the lava monster. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1. The levels are fine so you can get all the jokes and the strange effects noises. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

Audio Commentary on the third season features creator Michael Schur, Ted Danson and writer Megan Amram. Today was the day Megan Amram finally became a writer.

Gag Reel (7:14) contains actual profanity. Ted Danson is extremely chill when people blow their lines.

Visual Effects Reel (0:58) shows what it takes to put a dragon on the set.

Shout! Factory presents The Good Place: The Complete Second Season. Starring: Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden. Rated: Not Rated. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released: July 17, 2018.

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