Created, directed by, and starring Ricky Gervais, After Life aired on Netflix in April 2019. The six-episode series follows Tony (Gervais), whose life is turned upside down after his wife (Kerry Godliman) dies from breast cancer. He contemplates suicide, but instead decides to live long enough to punish the world for his wife’s death by saying and doing whatever he wants. Although he thinks of this as his “superpower”, not caring about himself or anyone else, his plan is undermined when everyone around him tries to save the nice guy they used to know.
As if Ricky Gervais needed any more of an excuse to say exactly what he was thinking. We’ve been treated to enough of that already, especially when he’s given the chance to host the Golden Globes. But then he goes and creates his own series about a man who does exactly what he wants, pushing aside any boundaries that he has in the real-life to use a character to funnel his opinions through.
And I don’t mean any of this as a negative, either. If you’re a fan of Gervais (and you really need to be to love this series), then this is what we’ve all been waiting for. Gervais is often stunted behind some of his TV creations, whereas I am always a huge fan of his stand-up. After Life, however, allows Gervais to put a more personal touch on one of his creations.
Full of his outspoken and often blunt sense of humour, the series is also full of heart. The comedy is certainly dark at times, but the emotion behind it all is just as present. It definitely shows a different side to Gervais, one of aged experience as his character learns to see the positives in the mundane and tedious rituals of the everyday. You will awkwardly laugh and maybe even shed a tear as you watch a character pivot between life and death, who you hope will come out better on the other side.