After Life: Season 2

  • 09 May - 15 May, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly

The show is back for a second series on Netflix. Ricky Gervais plays Tony, a recently bereaved local newspaper journalist. By day, he goes through the motions at work, snapping at his colleagues, Kath (Diane Morgan) and Lenny (Tony Way), and rolling his eyes at his interviewees, punishing the world for letting his wife die. At night, he drinks too much and watches the videos his wife made for him as she lay in the hospital, in which she urges him to learn to live again. For some, After Life is a comedy with a heart, a touching exploration of grief, depression and the redemptive power of friendship. Death is easy, is the message. Plenty of viewers love it and rank it among Gervais's best work. To begin with, it’s meant to be set in Tambury, a rural village, but many of the exteriors are blatantly north London. The script has a habit of using swearing where a joke ought to be. The second run showed a kinder and much more empathetic side to Tony, extending to both those close to him and complete strangers that he came into contact with. But that did not mean that he was without his struggles this time around – not only was Lisa's presence (or lack thereof) still very much felt with every frame, but Tony had to deal with another loss in his life. One of the big returning themes was that will they/won't they have a storyline between Tony and Emma. The eventual death of his father forced Tony into deciding whether or not he still wanted to see Emma (who, he mainly used to talk to during his visits to the care home). Each episode cycles through similar scenes, which might be true to lives stuck in a rut but feels repetitive. Its a show that manages to be insightful about the addictive qualities of grief and still maintain a big, empathetic heart.