Tony (Ricky Gervais) is miserable – and with good reason. Mourning the recent death of his wife, Lisa (Kerry Godliman), he shuffles through life, contemplating suicide and generally being obnoxious to everyone he meets. Watch the trailer for After Life below.
Doesn’t sound very cheery, does it? There are laughs in this six-part dark comedy, however. After Life is peppered with scenes in which Tony dispenses with social niceties and says exactly what he thinks – the type of well-articulated burns you get if you follow creator, writer and director Gervais on Twitter.
Tony’s combative – it is as if he wants someone to put him out of his misery since he can’t bring himself to do it – and self-destructive behaviour drives initial episodes, as he goes about his day-to-day routine in a fog of negativity.
But it is the way in which humanity wears him down, whether through the kindness of strangers (like Penelope Wilton’s Anne) or a nurse (Ashley Jensen) who is just as forthright, that provides the heart of this series.
Tony can’t keep his defences up forever, but he won’t shake off his funk without a fight. (On Netflix from Fri., Mar. 8) 4 stars