8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'After Life,' Starring Ricky Gervais, Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix
After Life has gotten a second life at Netflix.
The streaming giant has renewed its Ricky Gervais-led comedy for a second season. The renewal, which arrives nearly a month after the show's debut, is for a second round of six episodes. Season two will return in 2020. The pickup arrives after Gervais had already started writing season two. Following After Life's debut, Gervais shot up to the No. 2 slot on The Hollywood Reporter's Top Comedians Chart.
"I have never had a reaction like this before. It's been insane. And heartwarming. But now I have to make sure the second season is even better so I’ll probably have to work much harder than usual. Annoying really," said Gervais, who created, wrote, directed and stars in the half-hour dark comedy.
After Life revolves around Tony (Gervais), who had a perfect life. But when 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 that point on. Tony thinks it’s like a superpower — 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.
"After Life has moved audiences from laughter to tears around the world and we are thrilled to announce that Ricky Gervais will be back with a second season on Netflix," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "We are so proud to play host to Ricky’s brilliant stand-up comedy, specials, original films and series and join in the joy of the fans with his latest hit.”
The comedy is produced in-house by Netflix and Gervais' Derek Productions. Frequent Gervais collaborator Charlie Hanson (Derek, Life's Too Short, Extras, David Brent: Life on the Road) produces. Gervais and Duncan Hayes executive produce.
After Life launched March 8 to mixed reviews among critics — it has a 68 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes — but has been warmly received by viewers (93 percent). Netflix, like fellow streamers Amazon and Hulu, does not release viewership information.
After Life marks Gervais' return to scripted comedy following his breakout role on BBC's The Office. His most recent scripted role was on the British comedy-drama Derek, which he also created, wrote, directed and starred in — and for which Netflix secured SVOD rights. Before that, he starred with Warwick Davis and Stephen Merchant on Life's Too Short, the animated Ricky Gervais Show and Extras, all at HBO. He also has a pair of stand-up comedy specials at Netflix, which acquired U.S. and select foreign rights to his Office feature film spinoff, David Brent: Life on the Road.