A strong frontrunner for one of the most heartfelt comedy series ever written, After Life is as therapeutic as it is funny; Ricky Gervais manipulates viewer’s emotions by balancing his life as well liked local journalist Tony Johnson with the overwhelming grief he feels following the loss of his wife Lisa who has died from breast cancer.
It’s hard to pick fault in any episode across two series as Tony grapples with the major hole in his life by finding solace in drink, experimental drugs and reporting on the bizarre happenings in the sleepy fictional town of Tambury. An array of colourful and unaware characters play a big part in Tony’s acceptance of his situation, his affection for his father- also suffering with dementia- also keeps him going.
Perhaps the two most poignant relationships explored are the ones between Tony and Brandy (his pet Alsatian who gives him something to cherish in the void) and stranger Anne (also reeling following the loss of her husband) who he regularly encounters at the cemetery. It goes to show that you don’t need flashy sets and multiple actors in a shot to deliver a masterpiece.
The beauty of this show is it is so damn relatable; its not often a writer can flip you from happy tears to sad tears within a couple of scenes. I have seen multiple comments suggesting the show helped people come to terms with their own grief and I can well believe it. The full compliment of episodes will only take 6 hours of your time, I challenge you not to watch it in one sitting but, if you do please have plenty of tissues nearby!
Viewed: April 2020