The Good Place: “Pilot”
- Exposition. I love how efficient the first half page is at setting up the premise of the show.
- Conflict-driven comedy. I enjoyed the jokes about how the world works (“wow, there’s a lot of frozen yoghurt places”) — but I think the comedy really came alive when Eleanor came clean to Chidi and there were debating what they should do.
- Character design. I think Eleanor is a well-designed character. She’s a bad person, but in fun, relatable ways. The show would not work as well if e.g. she was a murderer. (In fact, she makes a point of this: “I am a medium person, and I belong in a medium place.) We also see her being vulnerable, which helps us empathise. (“Do you think anyone cared that I died?”) Finally: it’s a great move to stick her with Chidi, a professor of Ethics and Moral Philosophy.
- One story. There’s only one story (unlike e.g. Community which had an A and B story). It’s also not a “complete” story in the traditional sitcom sense. This means it’s not as engaging as later episodes in the season, but it does give us room to absorb the world.
- Wider dialogue! I noticed that the dialogue formatting was slightly wider than the Final Draft defaults, which means that more could be fit into 32 pages. Of course, the people involved are all seasoned pros who have totally earned the right to do that — but it makes me feel less bad about struggling to fit everything into 30 pages!