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After Life season 2: Lacks freshness in places but two fantastic closing episodes are among best Gervais has written

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Ricky Gervais in After Life (Netflix)

Ricky Gervais in After Life (Netflix)

Natalie Seery/Netflix

Ricky Gervais in After Life (Netflix)

Moving on is never easy, whether it’s from a broken relationship, the death of a loved one or the wildly successful first season of a television series that the public and a lot of the critics, including this one, loved.

It’s a problem that faces both After Life’s lead character Tony (Ricky Gervais) and the second season of the series itself, written and directed by the star. The first outing was a gem: bleak, yet bathed in warmth; profane and absurdly comic, but also sweet; laugh-out-loud hilarious one minute, tender, moving and heartbreaking the next.

Tony, a reporter with a freesheet newspaper in the small, picturesque, fictional village of Tambury, was a man sleepwalking through life. Crippled by grief after the death of his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from breast cancer, he spent his nights simultaneously consoling/tormenting himself with old home videos.