After Life Season 2 by Ricky Gervais [6/10]

The first season of “After Life” was, I expressed in a review, Ricky Gervais at his best. It somehow married sentimentality to wisdom and side-splitting laughter. What then of Season 2? Well, from the outset the viewer is in no doubt about the storyline, for the first episode quickly establishes that Tony, the sad sack in Season 1 who can’t get over his wife’s death, is still mired in grief. Gervais’s script bestows upon Tony a smidgen of insight and hope from the earlier season, but the routine remains the same: Tony mooches around, berates his acquaintances and wallows in grief. The splendid cast of characters revolving around Tony remains the same, and the acting is terrific, and the rural English town setting is picturesque, and Gervais’s writing and pacing are masterful … but too much sameness is too much sameness. In the first season, I roared with laughter, this time I chuckled appreciatively. In the first season, I often misted with tear, now I chafed at the ickiness. Overall, Season 2 is a pleasant outing over a week of viewing, but is far too unadventurous to be anything but a shadow of Season 1.

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