‘After Life’ is the ‘Netflix Original’ television-series comedy, produced, directed and starring British comedian, Ricky Gervais (‘The Office’, ‘Extras’). The first season was highly acclaimed, surrounding the life of ‘Tony’ (Ricky Gervais) after his wife passes away from cancer. Tony then continues onward battling depression and his unfortunate urge to commit suicide. The real, gritty humour of Gervais resonated with the audience in Season 1, but I’m afraid Season 2 didn’t live up to its predecessor.
In Season 2, Tony finally comes to the realisation that he can positively impact other people’s lives rather than make others miserable. This is one of the highlights of the season, seeing Tony’s character arc finally reach a high point was satisfying for the audience; and furthermore, witnessing Tony’s battle to continue to be kind-hearted is entertaining and humorous. This change in character to become kinder to others leads him to be nicer to his postman, Pat (Joe Wilkinson), even to the point of setting him up on a date with someone he knows. As the six-episode season progresses, heartbreak occurs, relationships become complicated, and Tony still continues to seek personal fulfilment.
After Life is known for its cringeworthy, satirical moments; that’s what makes it a joy to watch. The humour is fresh and original, setting itself aside from any other current tv shows. In saying this, I found that Season 2 did not quite live up to the quality of Season 1. It wasn’t quite as emotionally moving, and there were several times where the episodes felt like they hit a ‘rut’. There were times where the story felt as if it needed a little nudge to keep it moving. In saying all this, one of the highlights (again) was observing the relationship between ‘sex worker’ ‘Roxy’ (Roisin Conaty), and our protagonist Tony. The on-screen chemistry is brilliant, and it is a joy to watch any scene with the two of them. Their genuine, plutonic friendship is hilariously wholesome and perhaps the greatest aspect of the second season. This season is one of self-reflection for Tony. He is on a journey to find himself now that his wife is gone. It should be noted that ‘Anne’, played by Penelope Wilton (‘Downton Abbey’), is a stand-out actress in this series, as her character continues to bond with Tony over their shared loss of their partners.
After Life Season 2 delivers the same fresh humour as the first season did. The show’s eclectic characters seem to weirdly gel together in a way that creates a close-knit community of ‘mis-fits’. This makes for extremely creative and enticing relationships between characters. Although there were some great moments in Season 2, and times where I couldn’t help but break out in laughter, the story was stagnant at times and felt monotonous. For its flashes of excellence and being genuine, it is worth watching, but I hope we see the same magic in Season 3 as we did in the first season.
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