The latest work from Ricky Gervais has taken the TV world by storm, and rightfully so, because After Life is a fantastic piece of television.
Ricky Gervais stars as Tony, a man in grief after the loss of his beloved wife. He’s miserable, he’s suicidal, and he’s on a mission to punish the world around him and do whatever the hell he wants to, until the point that he can’t handle it anymore and can end his life, in his own words, it’s a “superpower”. It sounds dark, right? That’s because it is, and if you’re under the impression that this is just another comedy, then you’re wrong. This is a very layered, heartfelt look at loss and grief and will tug at your heartstrings on more than one occasion.
Thankfully though, it isn’t all doom and gloom, and After Life is genuinely hilarious. It had me laughing out loud many times and anyone who is a fan of Gervais’ trademark humour is in for a treat, there is a lot of Gervais in Tony and you will undoubtedly recognise some of his mannerisms and outlooks throughout the series, but it works for the character, and you’re completely invested in Tony and his struggles through life. A lot of moments reminded me of another piece of work from Gervais, Derek, which also had the ability to make me crack up laughing and then hit me hard with a poignant, emotional moment.
It’s an extremely easy show to binge, you could watch the entire series in 3 hours, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got the time to relay some very strong messages that are touching and thought-provoking. Scenes in particular with Tony and a widower, Anne, that always take place in a graveyard, are always strong and have a lasting impact on the viewer. There are very complex discussions about mortality and the importance of making your time on this Earth count, and the equal importance of sharing that with the people you love, it’s incredibly clever writing.
After Life has the best of everything, it’s charming, it’s touching, it’s emotional, it’s funny. You’ll feel every emotion possible during each episode and many will relate to it on some level. It’s a very bleak look at life at times, yet it always instills a semblance of hope and optimism which both the characters and the viewer will cling on to, it’s also a good advert for mental health awareness and although it is of course exaggerated for dramatic effect, it does hit home a message about how grief and loss can affect individuals, and how we can find strength in those around us to inevitably take us out of that abyss and help us move on.
I absolutely loved After Life, and I know you will do as well. My only gripe with it is that it was over too quickly, and if the rumours are true, I can’t wait to see Gervais continue this story in the future. If you haven’t watched it yet, head on over to Netflix now and watch it, you won’t regret it, I promise.
I give After Life a 9/10.