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TV Review: the final season of After Life

5 mins read

The third and final season of Ricky Gervais’ drama-comedy series After Life has been released on Netflix.

The show follows Tony (played by Gervais), who has suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts after the death of his wife Lisa. Although Tony is no longer suicidal, and is trying to be nice to others, he still struggles to care about life in a small town in England, where he works for a local newspaper.

These themes of grief and perseverance have touched fans all over the world, which has led to Netflix renewing the show for this third season, despite some controversies in recent years about Gervais.

I have been watching After Life since it first launched in 2019 and thought season one was a masterpiece. It had a real emotional compelling arc and great comedy. Tony’s outbursts in public were hilarious, especially when he gets annoyed at mundane things like someone eating crisps too loudly in a pub.

Whilst I enjoyed season two and it had many emotional moments, I felt it did not live up to the first series and lacked purpose – unlike the second season of Gervais’ show Extras and The Office, which I loved.

Season three, though still not as good as one, was far better than the second and a rewarding end for the show.

The main plot about Tony struggling to move on was done really well and I appreciate that it didn’t go the easy route and have him move on happily. Most of the sub-plots were also funny and did a good job of developing the characters; my favourite was probably Kath’s (played by Diane Morgan), which had many humorous and sad scenes.

Gervais continues to give an emotional performance and has many funny moments throughout. I was worried that they were going to take his character down a predictable route, but they avoided it and his arc seems appropriate. Ashley Jensen also does a really good job as the potential love-interest for Tony, and it was nice that she got more to do in this season. Kerry Godliman played Tony’s departed wife Lisa – I think she should get more credit for because if her profound performance didn’t work I don’t think the show would’ve been as effective.

Credit: Netflix

The supporting cast also gave good and often funny performances, such as Diane Morgan, Tony Way and Penelope Wilton, who were all standouts in an overall fantastic cast of actors.

Unfortunately, not all of the cast has returned for this season, including Mandeep Dhillon (who could not make it due to scheduling conflicts) and Roisin Conaty, whose character was not included. This was disappointing as their characters added more humanity to the show and their screen time seems to have been given to some characters that were not quite as engaging.

As for complaints, not all of the comedy lands and some jokes go on for a bit longer than they should. I think a reason why no season has been as funny as the first is because Tony is trying to be nice, which makes sense for his character development, but this means less awkward public outbursts, which made the first season very entertaining.

Thankfully, the final episode did a good job at wrapping every thread up in a satisfying way. The last scene has caused debate on Twitter, however Gervais has said that it shows simply that life goes on, which I think made for a powerful ending to the show.

Overall, I really enjoyed the final season of After Life. There are only 18 episodes of the whole show and they are fairly short, so if you’re looking for something funny, yet heartfelt, I would suggest giving this a go.

Feature image credit: Netflix

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First year film and media student.

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