Is Afterlife Season One An All-Time Great TV Show?

Afterlife season 1 premiered on 8 March 2019 exclusively on Netflix. Many series fade from our memory after we finish watching. Rarely a series comes into our lives that combine comedy with trauma. Ricky Gervais has created a beautifully written show that truly flourishes with the test of time.

Afterlife revolves around Tony – who is mourning the loss of his wife Lisa to cancer. 

Throughout the six episodes, the audience is, introduced to various characters. Each character brings an extra layer of charm to this beautiful series.

Afterlife from Ricky Gervais

“If you’re watching this, I’m not around anymore.” 

This opening line is like a dagger to the heart as you soon realize that Lisa is dead. 

The camera soon pans around to Tony (Ricky Gervais), and you quickly realize he is watching a video left by his late wife.

Tony soon decides to inflict pain and misery on those who deserve it. Despite making this promise – he quickly realizes – there are still some beautiful people in the world. The excellent supporting cast provides us with plenty of laughs. In addition to the laughs, they attempt to make Tony realize life is worth living.

He befriends Anne, whom he meets at the cemetery. With both vising their loved one’s graves, they bond over the commonality of their grief. Anne becomes somewhat of a guardian angel for Tony.

Tony is, seen taking Heroin at the end of one episode with the local drug addict Julian. In this scene, Tony lies down, and his wife appears from beyond the grave to comfort him. The use of Elton John’s song Rocket Man is poignant for the series. The line in the song, I miss the earth so much, I miss my wife is apt for season 1 as it represents the longing Tony has for the life he created with his late wife.

You cannot help but feel the pain Tony is in – and how much he misses the version of earth he loved. The flashbacks in this season are heartbreaking, where Tony watches memories of him and Lisa on his laptop. You can see the pain in his eyes every time he talks about Lisa. Tony often talks about Lisa, which many people do when dealing with the trauma of losing a loved one. It seemingly makes us feel closer to our departed loved ones, and this process is no different with Tony.

There are many moments of comedy during this season. For every comedic moment, there is an equally heartbreaking moment. The brilliance of Ricky Gervais ensures Afterlife successfully treads that fine line between comedy and trauma.

Despite Tony feeling like he cant continue, his friends and family show how important it is to have the right people in your life.

The season draws to an end, with Brian performing the most offensively funny puppet show directed at his adulterous ex-wife. Tony heartwarmingly begins to realize he has some special people in his life, and they deserve recognition. In the words of Anne: “We’re not just here for us, we are here for others.”

Afterlife is beautifully written, with a great cast. It teaches us life is tough sometimes, and we are all on this crazy ride together. Looking back, Afterlife season one has cemented itself as an all-time great show. 

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