What if Heaven was a like a corporation and God decided to retire? In TBS’ new comedy series, Miracle Workers, God (Steve Buscemi), is bored of Earth, so he decides to destroy it and pursue his dream of opening an Asian Fusion restaurant. If the premise of the show sounds familiar, you might be wondering: is Miracle Workers based on a book? God knows it is.
Miracle Workers comes from writer and showrunner Simon Rich, who based the show on his 2012 novel, What in God’s Name? (also available under the title Miracle Workers). Rich has written a number of novels and short stories over the years, including Elliot Allagash and Ant Farm, and he turned his 2013 novel, The Last Girlfriend on Earth into the FXX comedy series, Man Seeking Woman.
Miracle Workers tells the story of Heaven Inc., a corporation in the sky that is haphazardly run by its CEO and founder, God, who seems to be spending more time Googling himself than actually working. After losing all interest in Earth, God announces his plan to destroy it, but two of his underpaid angels, Craig (Daniel Radcliffe) and Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan), think that it’s worth saving. They strike a deal with God, who agrees to save Earth if they can solve the toughest miracle yet — getting two of the most socially awkward people on Earth to fall in love. Craig and Eliza try to move heaven and earth to save the world, before God decides to check out completely.
In an interview with Collider, Rich talked about how his concept of the afterlife inspired the story of Miracle Workers. “You know, I always was interested in portraying a version of the afterlife that was consistent with my experiences on planet Earth," he explained. “I feel like walking around on planet Earth, walking around reading the paper every day and experiencing things, there doesn’t always seem to be an airtight perfect plan. And it always struck me as conceivable that maybe the reason things were the way they are had to deal with some kind of disorganization up top. The novel is my attempt to make sense of reality.”
Rich wrote the story back in 2012, but he told Collider that it’s theme is more relevant and relatable today. “Obviously the show is based on a novel that I wrote many years ago, but all that said, I definitely think audiences might relate to a show about a system that is extremely flawed at the very highest level,” said Rich. “And I think that in the writer’s room, we couldn’t help but notice parallels between our story and the current state of affairs.”
Lord knows that the world is in disarray, and the premise of Miracle Workers is eerily reflective of the current powers that be. Hopefully, with Radcliffe and Buscemi on board, the series will give people the existential hope and laughter they need right now.
Miracle Workers premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TBS.