If there’s ever been a year that needed multiple shows about characters desperate to escape worst-case surroundings in the wreckage of a fake utopia while grappling with moral quagmires, it’s probably this one.

Star Trek: Discovery just wrapped a first season that grapples with some implications of the wider Star Trek universe’s approach to the moral high ground. In this, it overlaps with Treks that came before. But it’s also moving in parallel with The Good Place, a sitcom about ethics classes in hell that features Kierkegaard’s leap of faith as a plot point. (Repeatedly.)

Though they couldn’t be more tonally different, each show is deeply concerned with how one person making moral decisions — or compromising them — can change a world. And those complexities of subjective morality, utilitarianism, and acceptable collateral damage are all tied into stomach-sinking revelations: The characters in these stories are trapped in horrible places, the utopia they’ve been sold is a lie, and it’s a surprisingly small jump from that supposed utopia to their horrible reality.

The central question of each show is whether their protagonists will be defined by the hell they’re in, or whether they’ll be able to redefine it.

I wrote for Vox about How Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Place find humanity in hell.