After Life TV Series | Key Facts & Characters & Ending Explained

Quick Facts about After Life TV Show before I start

  • Three seasons with season 1 having six episodes, season 2 having also six episodes and season 3 having six episodes as well
  • The plot can be found here
  • Cast is here

“After Life” is the story of a man who just lost his beloved wife, and with her, the will to live. He probably would have killed himself immediately, if he didn’t have a dog to take care of. So he manages to get out of bed every day, and lead an existence devoid of any shred of happiness or hope.  

People annoy him, probably because they go on living despite the fact that his world has ended. Worst of all, he claims to not care about his own life to the point where he deliberately puts himself in harm’s way, yet the only people that he’s hurting by his behavior are the people who still care about him.

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.

Series 1 was excellent. Refreshing, funny, clever, excellent characterisations.

Series 2 was good, Refreshing, funny, clever, excellent characterisations. But whilst S1 felt like it covered some ground and made some conclusions, S2 took a step back and treaded water.

Series 3 was the same as S1 and S2 but nowhere near as refreshing, funny or clever. The characterisations were not as good. Several of the best characters are no longer there, replaced by crude characterisations that appear unrealistic and over the top, and a bit nasty.

In season 1, the key events and takeaways are

  •  Tony the main character (Ricky Gervais) is having hard time balancing his grief with his work life where his coworkers started to get affected by his behavior.
  • Tony started to think in taking heroin out of misery.
  • Despising the idea of doing heroin, he decided to babysit his nephew.
  • Tony started to feel bonded with Sandy, a caretaker at a facility where his father lives, during visits to his dad.
  • Tony decided to take a final space from others before showing gratefulness and recognition to those who supported him

In season 2, the key events and takeaways are

  • Tony thinks its time to adapt and decides to attend a meditation course while supporting his Matt, his cousin and boss, whose marriage is on the fall
  • Along with his adaptation efforts, Tony saved the newspaper he works at from being sold out by its owner by having a deep conversation with him.
  • With Tony restoring his mental and emotional balance, he received another devastating news about his father. He then decided there is no hope in moving on.

Season 3

Season 3 of After life was hilariously funny and at the same time the deepest, most profound and most emotional of all the seasons.


Tony concludes that his deathwish is a sort of super power because he can do anything he wants, and the worst thing that can happen is that he’ll die–which is what he wants anyway. In other words, all filters are off; he says what he wants to whomever he pleases, he never backs down from a confrontation for the sake of propriety, and even physically he is as fearless as Batman on crack. All of this is wrapped up in a funny, cynical, distinctly British exterior, you know… keep calm and just kill yourself, that sort of thing.

What gives this show a unique power–and what DISTINCTLY separates it from the aforementioned “13 Reasons” which martyrizes depression and suicide, is that nobody treats Tony with kid gloves. Nobody really gives him a free pass just because he’s screwed up. And in fact, several characters essentially tell him that maybe he should go ahead and top himself if he has the guts. It’s this non-pitying approach to depression that makes Tony start to question his “super power” – is he truly in control of his destiny? Or is he just a loser who’s using depression to justifiy his continued failure at life?

And that, if anything, is the most powerful message any show could offer regarding the subject. Without itself becoming depressing, “After Life” forces the issues in our faces and says “ok let’s cut the BS. Is depression truly your fate, or are you just hiding behind the label of being “messed up”?

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