After Life is a new Netflix dark comedy series created, written, and directed by Golden Globe winner Ricky Gervais. Gervais also stars as the protagonist Tony Johnson, a writer for a small, local newspaper who falls into a deep depression after the death of his wife. He considers suicide but decides against it to care for his dog. Now, he goes about life taking his feelings out on the people around him. But despite his attempts to keep to himself, the people around him try their best to return him to his old, happy self.
After Life is an extremely underrated show on Netflix. Considering the lack of buzz, the fact that British comedy can sometimes be hit or miss, and that the entire six-episode show is only slightly longer than the average Netflix movie, my expectations were quite low. But I was absolutely blown away. Ricky Gervais clearly understands depression, and his brilliant writing leads to a show that is incredibly genuine. The authenticity of the dialogue and the banter between the tight-knit cast of colorful characters lead to some seriously gut-busting segments, including a hilarious if not slightly insensitive skit about a character’s weight in the fifth episode. The realism of After Life can also have a negative effect, making every especially saddening moment that much more devastating.
Mental health and depression are popular topics in today’s media, so it’s a mystery as to how After Life flew under the radar. It’s a perfect show for any person who may be going through difficult times. Netflix recently announced a second season of After Life coming in 2020, and I am excited for it. However, I don’t believe a second season is necessary, because I believe After Life is a perfectly concise and inspiring tale of one man finding happiness.