I finally caught up with the 2005-06 British television show Afterlife last night, wrapping up the concluding episodes of the second, final series, and I’m … touched. It’s sublime viewing, elegant and spare and raw, at times uncomfortable and others moving, and not always giving what you might expect but always satisfying.
Robert Bridge is a psychologist who sets out to tear down a medium, Alison Mundy, but finds that debunking her links with the spirit world is harder than he’d expected. Both he and Alison have their own ghosts to contend with over the short, sharp, beautiful 14 episodes, penned by Stephen Volk.
Lesley Sharp is brilliant as brittle Alison, lonely and alcoholic, beset by her ‘gift’, while Andrew Lincoln plays the cool scientist perfectly, revealing tenderness and vulnerability as the series goes on. The acting across the board is sensational, adding to the visceral feel of this beautifully shot, beautifully crafted story.
There are no easy answers, no glamour, no outrageous special effects. It’s simply some of the most effective, affecting television I’ve seen in ages. I can’t believe it took me this long to find it. I suspect last night’s conclusion will haunt me for a very long time.
Tip: don’t go hunting previews for this on YouTube or elsewhere. If you catch one of the segments from the final episode, it will spoil the series.