With the huge success of the religious and philosophical satire “The Good Place” many networks hope to recreate that formula. Can TBS find a similar rhythm with its surprisingly recognizable cast?
The main story of Miracle Workers season one revolves around the offices of Heaven Inc. Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan) wants a career change and is transferred to the Department of Answered Prayers to work under Craig (Daniel Radcliffe). Things become complicated when God (Steve Buscemi) instructs his assistant Sanjay (Karan Soni) to initiate the destruction of Earth. Eliza and Craig bet God that they can pull off the most impossible miracle yet: help two humans fall in love. God accepts and gives them two weeks to save Earth.
The premiere sets up the overall narrative and atmosphere of this short seven-episode season. Heaven is a corporation run by a group of angels underneath God as he has lost interest with his passion project. This heavenly world is slowly expanded upon with insane and otherworldly concepts that are the essence of this show. The fact that there are departments like Genitals and Male Nipples prove this to be true. However, the show’s main comedy comes from the performance and character of God.
God is seen as an incompetent man-child who can’t even do the simplest of tasks without an assistant. This is beautifully and hilariously portrayed by Steve Buscemi who is the perfect choice for this washed-up creator of Earth. His performance is further complemented by the ensemble around him, notably Radcliffe, Viswanathan and Soni.
Unfortunately, Eliza and Craig play out as very archetypical characters in that they are the personifications of order versus chaos. Beyond those traits, these characters are very one-dimensional. This creates the main conflict of the season as the story is forcibly focused on a dull, drawn-out romance between two humans. This isn’t the fault of the actors, but more-so the lack of writing and development within the characters themselves.
The writing has some other notable issues as the story forces the narrative to move from an absurdist, philosophical satire to a mundane workplace comedy. The jokes are few and far between with most being throwaway jokes about the world itself and not the characters’ behaviours. It ends up becoming a run-of-the-mill, ordinary comedy that is saved by the hilarious and layered performances of Buscemi and Radcliffe.
This season of Miracle Workers is a quirky comedic concept that never finds itself fully formed. The story, themes and comedy never quite hit the absurdist levels they hope to push. Thankfully, the cast is extremely charismatic and fun surrounded by an entertaining premise and some thought-provoking themes. It won’t be a gut-busting time, but has a few chuckles along the way. From its fun inventive premise to its half-baked idea, Miracle Workers ends up being the passable distant cousin of The Good Place.
What did you think of the first season of Miracle Workers? Let me know in the comments!
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