After his recent standup special on Netflix, Humanity, Ricky Gervais is returning to for another collaboration. The streaming giant has order 6 episodes of After Life, which will be a single camera comedy, and marks Gervais’ second series to premiere on the platform (his comedy Derek as well as the movie Special Correspondents also debuted on Netflix). Gervais is best known and loved for co-creating The Office and Extras with longtime collaborator Stephen Merchant, although fans who have followed the duo for a long time will also note that some of their best work was discovering Karl Pilkington and bringing Monkey News to the world.
Here’s the official logline for After Life, which Gervais will write and direct, as well as serve as an EP alongside frequent collaborator Charlie Hanson.:
Tony had a perfect life. But after his wife Lisa suddenly dies, Tony changes. After contemplating taking his own life, he decides instead to live long enough to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he likes from now on. He thinks it’s like a Super Power — not caring about himself or anyone else — but it turns out to be tricky when everyone is trying to save the nice guy they used to know.
… Which feels very much in line with the content from his latest standup special Humanity. For some fans (like myself) there was something of a split between Gervais’ collaborations with Merchant (and later Pilkington) and his solo work since then. I adore The Office, Extras, the XFMs shows and later podcasts, the movie Cemetery Junction (an overlooked gem), as well as The Moaning of Life (which features Pilkington being sent around the world) — and let’s not forget Flanimals! — but everything since then has not quite hit me in the same way. Merchant’s HBO series Hello Ladies was a little too caustic, and Gervais’ Derek was too saccharine. There was a particular alchemy the two stumbled on in working together (for the most part — Life’s Too Short was pretty forgettable) that produced some really exceptional things, but since then, well, your mileage may vary. After Life also seems like it could be another excuse for Gervais to push his new “don’t be offended” brand of humor that is never particularly fresh or provocative. But time will tell!