After Life

8,0 / 10
28 min
Comedy
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" gives "After Life - Season 1" a 8."
Written by on 24 June 2019.
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After Life - Season 1

The British comedian Ricky Gervais is primarily known for The Office. Furthermore, you can experience his morbid humour in the series Extras, Derek and David Brent: Life on the Road. Those last two were already Netflix productions and with After Life Gervais continues the successful collaboration.

Ricky Gervais portrays in After Life the depressed Tony. His wife has recently died of cancer and the only things left are her video message and their dog. Caring for their dog is the only thing that stops Tony from committing suicide, but it's apparent that he is tired of life. Everything is cynically mocked. The postman is a regular 'victim' of Tony's vicious remarks and even children can't escape his morbidity. Even his work as a reporter for a local newspaper doesn't bring him any joy, but it does bring bizarre stories from people who want to appear in the paper.

© Netflix


After Life also has a negative side

Still, despite all this darkness there is a small spark of hope. Various sparks, in fact, which will form a beacon of light at the end. For instance, the drug addict and his friend, who is a prostitute. Tony is able to show them some humanity, even though his decision to help the drug addict realising his greatest wish is controversial. A widow he regularly meets at the graveyard helps him to see things differently, because they share the same feelings of loss. His father, who suffers from dementia, has a nurse who slowly but surely gets his attention. But his hollowness, depression and self-destructive behaviour are holding him back from any progress in the romantic department.

When you read this review After Life sounds like a drama that is more dramatic and dark than most other shows. But the difference is that Ricky Gervais is able to bring this story with a lot of caustic humour. The series is not light-hearted, is able to move the viewer, but always has a dark, humoristic side. Ricky Gervais is unequalled in these kinds of roles. Some of the main characters are characterised in such a way that it's hard as a viewer not to pity them or even care for them.

© Netflix


After Life also has a negative side which, weirdly enough, is positivity. You can see the change in Tony in the last episode coming from miles away and the ending is cloyingly sweet. It is like Gervais wanted to please the American viewers – he previously starred in several typical American movies. It is also possible that he thought that Tony's deep depression had to be countered by an equal large dose of positivity.

In conclusion, even though After Life is a short series consisting of only six episodes of a half hour each, it is also a powerful series. It was so popular that a second season has been announced and rightly so. But the question is how such a positive ending can lead to another season filled with dark humour, which is so typical of Gervais. We are eagerly looking forward to it.
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