After Life is a British black comedy-drama series created by Ricky Gervais. The premise for the show revolves around a man who has recently lost his wife and is trying to find a reason to not kill himself and to carry on. Through the season Tony (Ricky Gervais), comes to terms with what he has lost and tries to find the ability to be happy again.
Tonally this show is pitch dark, almost uncomfortably so at times, but that is the point. If you’re previous expose to Gervais was in something like The Office or Extras then you will be familiar with the style of comedy this show aims for, though I would say for the most part this program is more of a drama then a comedy. As the subject matter is quite extreme it won’t be for everyone, but if you stick with it, there is something wonderful being said.
This show approaches the character of Tony as having already died, not in a literal sense, the worst possible thing in life has already happened to him and he is just waiting until he can die for real, as such he has no cares left in the word and sets out to tell it like it is because what does anything matter. There is a good example of this early on when the character is mugged and he says he won’t give them his wallet and when the mugger threatens to stab him he says go on then or something to that end, this shows a man with nothing left to lose, just trying to think of a reason to carry on.
The first and last episodes nicely juxtapose each other, as in the last episode, for reasons I am not going to say for the sake of spoilers, he finds a reason to be happy again. He falls out of the all-consuming depression he has been in and does something to make himself happy again. I love the tightness of the writing, his arc is wrapped up in a season; obviously he is not fully moved on from his wife, but he has grown a hell of a lot as a character since the beginning of the show.
All of this makes me beg the question why are they doing a second season? There is nothing left to tell.
Overall, if this sounds like the sort of thing you would enjoy then I recommend you check it out as there is a lot of good on offer here, do I think there is no need for a second season and that it will inevitably be worse? Yes, a thousand times so, but I will just have to wait and see on that front.
Asks some important questions.
How it deals with loss.
It can be quite hard to watch at times certainly not for everyone.
Reviewed by Luke