After Life Season 2 Review (Netflix): For those who have already seen season 1, you’re pretty much on track but for those who haven’t – This Ricky Gervais’ show is about finding that one little ray of hope when you think you’re done with life. Technically, this should have been titled ‘Before Life’ because that’s where most of the characters are living in the show.
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Tom Basden, Tony Way, Diane Morgan, Mandeep Dhillon, Ashley Jensen, David Bradley, Kerry Godliman, Paul Kaye, Joe Wilkinson, Roisin Conaty
Creator: Ricky Gervais
Star Rating: 3.5/5 stars
After Life Season 2 Review (Netflix): What Is It About?
They started season one with a hope that Tony (Ricky Gervais) will be fine as he grieves his wife Lisa’s (Kerry Godliman) death and they ended with one that he’s probably fine. It bid adieu everyone with happy tears and with the question of why they’re coming back with the continuity? Tony finds solace by the end of season 1 as he tries to make everyone around him happy. Is he still sad? Well, you’ll have to understand his pain of losing his wife to go ahead with Season 2.
He’s pretty much still the same minus the recurring thought of killing himself (which was tackled in season 1). He still sips his Whiskey sitting with his dog and watches of videos of Lisa. His recently developed soft-corner for Emma, the nurse (Ashley Jensen) is in turmoil because of his current condition. He faces some issues back at the office which he tries to solve with a sane mind (not convincingly though). Overall, he’s afraid of “doing something wrong” and hence he does nothing.
After Life Season 2 Review (Netflix): What’s Good & Bad?
After you finish both the seasons, just sleep over about what I’m going to say next and don’t judge without thinking – basically, both season 1 and 2 are a similar show with similar template and idea created by a similar person but with a different perspective. After amassing all the love for the original season, there’s every chance Ricky Gervais must have thought about what more could have been with this.
Ricky played around the thought of “I’ll die anyway, so why not be an a**hole to everyone and not care about it” but by now he elevates his writing in the zone of “I’m still sad and die anyway so why bother people around me with my problems?” He writes every character as if he’s going to play them and that’s what it was season 1. But we see a lot of restrictions this time around. He fiddles with subplots which weren’t required in the first place. He touches and runs the similar lines which were beautifully drawn before. He designs tiny problems around the one mammoth issue which come across as forced at time. But, most importantly he concludes with a smooth landing which might as well not be his vision (big bucks riding on the show, eh?).
Martin Hawkins’ camera captures the optimum amount of sunlight throughout the show to keep the metaphor of hope alive. Thankfully, Andy Burrows stays subtle with his background score and uses the silence with all its strength. Though he knows where to drop some wistful and melancholic pieces, which just lay down beneath the moving dialogues creating an impact without even touching them.
After Life Season 2 Review (Netflix): Star Performances:
Amongst the three roles he played in the show (writer, director and actor), Ricky Gervais excels the most in this department. From his occasional giggling to madcap swearing, Ricky churns out some of the best character traits for himself. A brilliant thing about him being all three is, he writes what he can act. There’s not a single flawed moment in which he goes under the line as an actor. He makes sure to make you feel what he’s feeling and what more can we ask from an artist?
Tom Basden who plays Tony’s brother-in-law gets a character arc which offers him more than being just as an add-on. Tony Way as Lenny is still the same old ‘detached from what everyone else thinks about him’ friend but he gets more humane this time around. Diane Morgan loses the charm she had as annoying Kath inviting an uncalled for a character sketch.
The very pretty & lost Mandeep Dhillon wanders in the script to look out for her perspective and maybe that’s where the magic of this character is. Ashley Jensen tackles an unwanted sub-plot but gradually lives up to the intent of her character as Emma. David Bradley as Tony’s dad speaks a lot without saying much. His character allows Tony’s character to flourish which proves how well Gervais handles the interdependent writing. Kerry Godliman as Lisa is there just to pump in an emotional-rush which she manages to do so successfully.
Straight out of Ricky Gervais’ kooky mind, Paul Kaye’s character as the psychiatrist is a slap on the face of everyone who thinks shrinks should be written only in a ‘certain way’. Joe Wilkinson (Pat) and Roisin Conaty (Roxy) bring in a sweet surprise with what they’ve been offered. They would’ve been flawed characters for many out there in real life, but both Roxy and Postman Pat make sense together finding wholeness in what they exactly are without changing anything about themselves.
The Last Word:
All said and done, After Life Season 2 is just like its predecessor but comes with a fresh thought of tackling a similar problem. With around 30 minutes/episode with a total of just six episodes, this is more like a conversation of which you would want to be a part of when everyone is social distancing. Watch it with care!
Three and a Half Stars!