If You’re Looking For A Pleasant End Of The World Comedy In 2019, Try ‘Miracle Workers’

02.12.19 6 months ago

Curtis Baker/TBS

Based on creator Simon Rich’s 2012 novel What In God’s Name, TBS’ Miracle Workers is a “Heaven-set workplace,” where Heaven isn’t quite a place on Earth but is also not a celestial wonderland in the clouds: It’s literally a corporation called “Heaven Inc.,” with God (Steve Buscemi) as its disillusioned CEO, overwhelmed and, frankly, bummed out by the mess Earth has become. Rich was responsible for another high-concept comedy, the highly-underrated Man Seeking Woman, where he took the metaphorical horrors and bizarreness of dating and turned them into actual horrors and bizarreness. But one thing in all the weirdness of Man Seeking Woman was the amount of tremendous, earnest heart at the center of it all. That heart (and a sliver of the weirdness) is present in Miracle Workers too, though it won’t truly fill the Man Seeking Woman sized-hole in your heart. But it’s pleasant enough while it lasts.

At Miracle Workers’ Heaven Inc., the heart starts at the Department of Answered Prayers, where a socially-awkward but tremendously caring angel named Craig (Daniel Radcliffe, continuing his streak of choosing the most unexpected projects) works by himself to answer humanity’s prayers, big and small. (Mostly very, very small.) When fellow angel Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan) transfers to the department, her desire to make a major difference immediately leads to a big problem. This all coincides with God deciding to call it a wrap on Earth — and really, the entire universe he’s created — and move on to a new project. (A restaurant project somehow much worse than Earth, even though he somehow only gets more invested in it as the season progresses.) In an attempt to fix the mess she made and save humanity, Eliza promises that she and Greg will answer what has been deemed an “impossible” prayer: helping two particular humans fall in love. She and Craig have two weeks to make it happen, or boom goes humanity.

The good news is the actual task to consider the prayer answered is just to get the two humans to kiss. The bad news, however, is that these two humans — Sam (Jon Bass) and Laura (Sasha Compère) — just might be the most awkward pair in the world, and life itself doesn’t do much to help Craig and Eliza out with things. Rounding out the cast are Executive Archangel Sanjay (Karan Soni), who is God’s right-hand man (sometimes literally) and Executive Assistant (who deserves so much better) Rosie (Lolly Adefope), the two angels closest to God, both personally and physically.

Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi are both executive producers on the series, but Radcliffe’s Craig and the story the show tells allows him to work more as a member of the ensemble than just as “the star” of the series. Buscemi’s God interacts with other characters, but his journey — as he plans for his next, post-humanity endeavor — is truly more about himself. Or, I guess Himself. The way Miracle Workers plays it, God isn’t just disenchanted and also bored: He’s out of touch, and nothing suggests he was particularly good at any of this anyway. He’s needy and petty, and those are just his literal God complex issues. He’s a screw-up too, which honestly explains Earth in the first place.

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