The fourth and final season of “The Good Place” premieres Sept. 26 on NBC. Annenberg Media caught up with the cast and crew at San Diego Comic Con this summer to get the inside scoop on the last “forking” episodes of the series.
Creator, director, writer and executive producer Michael Schur addressed how the show’s DNA for “enormous OMG twists and turns” affected the structure of the 14-episode final season. Fans have often noted that the series seems to rewrite its own plot every few episodes and Schur insisted that pattern will continue.
“At least the first parts of the season continue that trend,” Schur said. “ At a certain point in the season, things happen to a degree where it’s like ‘OK, there’s no more surprises.’”
Schur said that the original idea that he had for the show’s ending was conceived in the middle of the show’s second season, but he wasn’t sure they would stick with it until recently.
“I like to come up with an idea for an ending and then not commit to it because I want to allow for the possibility that a better idea will be pitched by someone,” Shur said. “We didn’t as a group commit to it until we were discussing the outline of season four.”
As to the type of ending viewers should expect, Shur was non-committal offering only that the ending would be more similar to the conclusion of “Breaking Bad” than that of “The Sopranos.”
“The writing is so good that sometimes you don’t even mean to be emotional,” D’Arcy Carden, who plays Janet, said.
For Carden and her co-star, Ted Danson, the series finale means the end of one of a handful of constants throughout the series: the partnership between their characters, Janet and Michael.
Danson referenced the episode entitled “Janet and Michael,” where the two eponymous characters declared their friendship as his favorite emotional scene, adding that it was “very sweet.”
For star Jameela Jamil, the end of “The Good Place” will mark the end of the beginning of her career; the hit NBC series was Jamil’s first acting job.
“I’m basically going to have to retire because nothing is ever going to live up to this,” Jamil said, jokingly.
Still, despite acknowledging that the series had lived a relatively short life, Jamil was pleased that the show is ending on its own terms.
“This was the right way to end it, the right time to end it and we are serving our fans well, I think,” Jamil said.
However, director and producer Drew Goddard was more conflicted about the decision to end the show after four seasons.
“I have been saying for the last four years, ‘Let’s not end this. This is so special,” Goddard said. “It’s a once in a lifetime cast.”
Ultimately, however, Goddard admitted that he felt more comfortable ending the show after reading the script for the series finale.
Goddard added that he was already looking at a few props on the set to take as mementos of the critically acclaimed series.
“I have my eye on a few things largely that we saw in the pilot because that has particular resonance because it was there from the beginning,” Goddard said. “I think there’s gonna be a knife fight though for who gets the Doug Forcett photo.”
Update: This article was updated to include a companion video.