With The Good Place proving that the afterlife is ripe with comedic potential, other networks are giving praise on high. One of those is TBS, with its new comedy Miracle Workers, taking place in an uncommon workplace: heaven.
Talking shop at Turner's TCA 2018 panel, creator Simon Rich and stars Steve Buscemi (who plays God) and Daniel Radcliffe (who plays a low-ranking angel) discuss God “having a full-blown midlife crisis," as TBS describes the new series.
The show follows two angels betting on whether they can answer two humans’ prayers for love. Then, in two weeks, it’s doomsday. But, says Rich, this crazy concept isn’t really even about religion. “We never attempt to satirize organized religion,” Rich clarified. “It’s more Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It’s more about man’s place in the universe than theology. No one has been offended by it yet.”
Buscemi had plenty to say on God, however. “This God is fun. He’s very human and has a lot of faults. He’s easily distracted, bored, depressed, and is looking for a way out,” Buscemi explains. He went on to say that his version of God is “kind of lonely and looking for connections. It’s not like he’s a God up here that’s holier than thou.”
Previously cast with Owen Wilson in the role, who parted ways after having a different creative vision than Rich, this God leads a show that, according to Radcliffe, has “a lot of warmth for the human race” and hopefully “doesn’t exclude” the faithful.
Both Radcliffe and Buscemi have had recent opportunity to show off comedic chops (in Swiss Army Man and Horace and Pete, respectively), while Rich’s Man Seeking Woman was a bafflingly absurd breath of fresh air during its few seasons. And it certainly doesn't hurt your comedy cred to have SNL's Lorne Michaels onboard as an executive producer. "He has excellent notes, and when he has one, I take it seriously," says Rich. "I trust him more than anybody and am grateful I get to work with him still."
All of which bodes well for Miracle Workers, which, by the time it debuts later this year, will hopefully be preaching to the choir.