After Life (from Ricky Gervais) Episodes 1 to 3 [8/10]

Where can Ricky Gervais go after all the places he’s been? “After Life” is an intriguing choice – a bittersweet marriage of Gervais piss-take scorn and sentimentality, the tale of an ordinary English journo bereft and nihilistic after his wife’s cancer death – but the opening episode works beautifully. We walk with slumpy, morose, “kill me soon” Tony, through a day in his little pretty English village, as he interacts with colleagues, especially his brother-in-law Matt (wonderfully portrayed by Tom Basden), his Alzheimer’s-ridden father, even his postman. Some of the trademark Gervais scabrous humor almost set me hooting, but even the less wild scenes possessed great, intelligent, quiet funniness. All in all, the first episode works really well, but I guess the question is – what will become of what seems a really hokey plot?

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