TV Review: Afterlife (Series 2)

The second and final season of Afterlife doesn’t quite match up to the first, though Andrew Lincoln and Lesley Sharp impress once more

“There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore”

Not normally being a fan of most things supernatural, the first series of Afterlife took me by surprise at how much I enjoyed it. This second and final set of eight episodes didn’t quite hit the same mark for me, at least until the end, but remains a highly watchable mystery thriller which takes its opportunities to surprise and scare and send a shiver or three down the spine.

My main issue came with the extent to which the storytelling becomes about the personal lives of its two main characters. Lesley Sharp’s Alison Mundy, a medium with an extraordinary gift and Andrew Lincoln’s Robert Bridge, the academic wanting to disprove the paranormal are an absolute corker of a pair of protagonists and when they’re out solving cases, the series flies.

This time round though, the spirits haunting Alison are increasingly personal (although how fabulous that it is Amanda Lawrence) and as TV logic surely dictates, the headaches that Robert are experiencing are no sign of good news. Which means that much of the season feels a little narrow in perspective – excellently performed to be sure, but lacking some of the earlier adventurousness.

That said, we’re still in impressively dark territory – not even babies or younger brothers are safe here, never mind the lead characters. And the guest cast once again comes up trumps in selling these stories – Liam Cunningham, Natalia Tena, Kenneth Cranham and David Threlfall all stand out, but it is Aidan McArdle and Zoe Telford’s young parents that haunt me the most.

Remaining spoiler-free, the end of the penultimate episode is exquisitely done, leading to a moving final instalment which wraps up the series as a whole in an effective and affecting manner.

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