Written by, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais, After Life is a brilliant drama. Incredibly relevant, relatable, realistic and dark. Makes you think about your own life, how you handle tragedy and other setbacks, what it all means and what's important to you.
Clever, original and bold plot from Gervais. Can't think of too many movies or TV series that have captured how one deals with tragedy, and suicidal tendencies, so directly and confrontingly ('Leaving Las Vegas' would be the best example I can think of). Not at all predictable: from the outset there are several paths the plot could have taken and Gervais keeps his options open all the way through.
Quite emotional ending that ties everything together without being trite and Hollywoodesque.
It's not all drama though. With Tony's character being so cynical, there is plenty of room for comedy. The humour comes thick and fast, without detracting from the seriousness of the subject matter. The jokes are woven into the dialogue so well that the humour doesn't seem forced at all.
Great work by Gervais in the lead role. We know he can do drama, from 'Derek', especially, but his work here is quite eye-opening. The casting of Ashley Jensen is a masterstroke: the two of them recapture the chemistry they had in 'Extras' to great effect.
Superb series and evidence that Ricky Gervais is a force to be reckoned with not just in comedy but also in drama.