Editor’s note: This review handles some dark themes involving suicide and the portrayal of heavy drug usage.
I started my spring break by doing nothing but working while others were vacationing, so I needed something to do. Netflix gave the answer full-screen and center with a new original series.
“After Life” is one of Netflix’s new shows written by Ricky Gervais, actor from the “The Office” (U.K.) and producer of “Idiot Abroad.” He also stars in the “After Life” series as the lead character, Tony.
Gervais is a comedian with a dark sensibility who is known to make the most out of a bad situation with his constant, unending jokes about suicide and self-deprecation. If that kind of humor it is your thing, he is absolutely brilliant. I personally love dark humor, so this show immediately clicked with me as soon as the full premise came into place.
Tony is a man whose wife just passed away after a fight with cancer, and now he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him or does to him. He makes it his goal to kill himself, but every attempt ends because his dog keeps looking at him. So, with his new attitude, he decides to make everyone else suffer instead.
For a show with a frankly basic premise, they make the most of it by having the dark moments intertwine with the funnier moments that help to make the show better. Personally, I loved the show, and it was exactly the right thing for me to come home to after a long day at work. I liked being able to mindlessly laugh because Tony is such a horrible human being.
It’s the kind of show you watch when you are wanting to just see other people have a bad time. There is even a term for that called “schadenfreude,” which means getting enjoyment out of someone else’s misery. This show is if that term became a series.
“After Life” has the stamp of any Netflix show, with its high quality and production value across the board. The show’s pacing can be a little lax at times, but it is technically a British production, and this is a standard for the shows that come from there.
Unfortunately, this also applies to the number of episodes as well; the series contains six total episodes. However, unlike most English programming which focuses on a longer run time per episodes, it has led to a more American-style length with each episode running a little under 30 minutes.
Overall, this show does a lot of things right for people who like dark humor. It’s absolutely hilarious, and the pacing of the jokes is thought out well. Even when they don’t all mesh, they still work.
Yes, this show is incredibly depressing, but it’s still able to be fun at times. If you can get past heavy drug use and suicide, the show can be a good laugh and is really fun to watch. I’d put it high on my list of recommendations.