Two years ago in this column I expressed surprise that I was seven episodes deep into the first season of Netflix's suburban crime-dramedy Good Girls.
"Good Girls is good enough," I wrote in my tepid recommendation. "It's not great. It's not the best show you can watch right now. It's not must-see TV. It won't be on any Best of the Year lists. But it's good enough."
If I was surprised then you can imagine how slack-jawed I am now, two years later, to find myself powering through the show's just released third season. This week I've cracked through all eleven episodes like an over-caffeinated chiropractor, pausing my binge only for sleep, work and responsibility.
Despite that I still can't say Good Girls is a great show. It's good. Really good. But something holds it back from elevating into greatness and critics 'Best of the Year' lists. Here, I don't think that's a bad thing.
To borrow Martin Scorsese's term, Good Girls is a rollercoaster. Each episode is rollicking good fun. They're fast paced and filled with zippy one-liners and constantly escalating moments of deadly tension. Good Girls may not be great but it's tale of three average Mum's willingly going deeper and deeper into a life of crime is always hugely entertaining.
However there are two things the show is great at. The first is its use of music. Good Girls simply has one of the best soundtracks going. Each episode is crammed with music, sometimes up to seven tracks, and each is perfectly chosen to match the mood of the scene. It's an eclectic selection that includes artists like Diana Ross, Karen O And Danger Mouse, The The, Salt N' Pepa, Leon Russell, Fat White Family, Flaming Lips, Dionne Warwick and The Monkees.
Crucially, the songs are never used as a shortcut to emotion. A trap so many series' with licensed music seem to fall into. Here, they only ever heighten whatever you're already feeling. I found myself constantly grabbing my phone to hit the Shazam app and find out the name of a song.
The other thing the show excels at is the episodic cliffhanger ending. Without fail I was immediately left wanting to see what happened next. Yes, a lot of shows do this well but Good Girls does it better that most.
No spoilers but there's one that riffs on The Usual Suspects, one that sees old enemies reunited, one that issues a juicy ultimatum and one that sees the emergence of a new threat. These endings are all so, so good that I couldn't help but want to rush to the beginning of the next episode to see what happens next even as the clock ticked further and further past a sensible bedtime.
The show also keeps things moving. It's snappy. Things happen. You're not left waiting around or given time for your attention to drop and start thinking about what may be happening on your phone.
This season the show has pushed its likeable main characters, Beth, Ruby and Annie, further into the dark.
Earlier seasons saw the girls robbing a supermarket, smuggling contraband across the border and washing money though a department store returns scheme, to name a few of their shady dealings. These were all fairly believable crimes.
This season asks you to accept their transition into master counterfeiters, which, despite a solid montage early on showing you their many failures on this journey, is still hard to buy into.
Perhaps the show knows this as it quickly piles on the problems, both criminal and personal. Thanks to its witty writing, fantastic performances and those addictive endings, it sort of convinces you to just go with it. Don't overthink it. You want to know what happens next, right?
As their crimes rapidly escalate Ruby turns to her husband, who has begun a journey into crime himself, and says, "we're not bad people Stan".
"No baby," he replies, "we're good people who do bad things."
Are they though? The trio have been doing horrible things since the beginning but this season things gets incredibly bleak. At times it's almost like the show's daring you to keep rooting for it's 'heroes'.
Are they really good people who happen to be doing bad things, as they still believe, or are they actually just bad people? Guess we'll find out in season four.
So like I said, the show's good, really good, and I don't mind admitting that there was something I did get wrong in my 2018 column. I said, "It won't be on any Best of the Year lists".
Well, you know what, this year Good Girls will definitely be on mine.