Ricky Gervais’ new show “After Life” was released on Netflix yesterday - 8th March. So, I sat down to watch the whole series back to back. Having already been a fan of Ricky’s work I was optimistic. I am pleased to report that this show did not disappoint.
This show was beautifully put together with “laugh out loud” moments from the start and throughout. I was expecting a humorous show, like Derek, where the sentiment outdid the overall comedy. This was certainly not the case. The comedy this show delivered was dark and beautifully crafted. This was weaved with a compelling and, at times, quite frankly shocking narrative - all stemming from the death of his wife.
Throughout After Life you could see the influence from both The Office and Derek. This provided a nice and humbling amount of, almost, nostalgia for the audience. It was perfectly balanced - whilst it used these vibes - it certainly felt like its own unique show. Ricky’s character Tony lives out a life that we would all just like to live out sometimes. His tired and twisted outlook on life is where the comedy gold is produced. Many of us would have been in situations similar to Tony’s and we’ve always responded by holding in our insults. Tony responded with negativity to almost all situations, hating the world for his loss.
Tony starts to become more forgiving to the world after he realises the world is not comprised solely of negative people. This is aided by the development of different relationships with key characters along the way. The interaction that Tony has with these characters makes him realise that he can be kind to people and this even allows him to be treated differently. He does not have to wallow in his loss but can move forward and try to regain happiness.
After Life is funny, chilling, shocking and a blast. I would recommend this to anyone who is after a short series to watch. After Life never got boring at any point of my watching experience. After conferring with friends who too have seen the entire series - even those who do not particularly like Ricky’s work - we all agreed it was a great entertaining series. Perhaps Ricky’s finest work of late.
© Danny Franklin 2019