Today marks the official arrival of After Life season 1 on Netflix. That also means that it is time for us to wonder whether or not there will be an afterlife to After Life — think in terms of a season 2. Let’s face it — the series is fairly short, and given its emotional arc, odds are high you will leave it craving something more, something greater.
For those who haven’t even checked out the series yet, Ricky Gervais stars as Tony, a man who decides to be fully liberated from societal norms and rules following the death of his wife. If nothing you do on Planet Earth fundamentally matters, why bother? This is why he swears up a storm, is genuinely nasty, and adopts the persona of a man striving for personal anarchy. He’s not some supervillain out to ignite the universe; he just wants to live under his own credo, his own terms.
The first season does not end the way that it starts. We don’t want to say too much more than that, largely because spoiling television shows the day that they premiere isn’t our game. What we will say is this: Tony’s philosophy towards the world, and its consistent evolution, leaves the door open to explore more in a season 2. There is a chance for him to impact lives moving forward in a way that only he knows how — to use at least a part of his season 1 state of mind.
Maybe you like Tony, maybe you don’t. That’s probably not the point of the show in the first place. Too much is made about being likable on a TV show these days anyway. The primary factor of importance is that you find the character compelling and the journey worthwhile. You don’t have to like someone, but you need to be captivated by them. How many reality shows featuring horrible, unlikable people do we all watch? How many do we revel in? McNulty from The Wire was completely unlikable from start to finish and it’s still one of the greatest shows of all time. At least with Tony, there are reasons for his actions and still also a turnaround story that should prove quite appealing.
Speaking (per Digital Spy), Gervais himself said that he does have an interest in continuing to inhabit this world:
“I really would like to do a second series, because I fell in love with the characters … I’ve got an idea of where it can go. And the second series is always better, usually because you know the actors [when you’re writing for them].”
As for the long-term future of After Life beyond a season 2…
Gervais’ body of work often suggests that he does not like to do any one thing for a really long period of time. Take a look at the original version of The Office, Derek, or then Extras when it aired on HBO. All of these shows end before they go stale; or, probably, they end three years before they would go stale. He always leaves you wanting more, which is painful to fans but it also gives him the ability to have a deeper comedic resume than almost anyone else on the planet. There’s also the issue of exhaustion here, given that Gervais often both writes and directs the majority of his own projects, After Life included. After about two or three years of doing this, you would probably want to retreat into a cave for an extended nap.
We foresee Netflix greenlighting an After Life season 2, especially if audience feedback mirrors some of the praise we’ve heard so far. Obviously, those watching immediate are diehard Ricky Gervais fans; if it can win over more of a mainstream audience, it will be gravy. The most important thing for any Netflix series is viewer consistency. You want to be able to have people watching straight through, from the premiere until the finale. If you finish the show, Netflix (who knows all, sees all, and shares next to nothing with television press) will make the determination that a season 2 could be worthwhile. They should have a decision within the next few months.
Do you want an After Life season 2 on Netflix?
Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: Netflix.)