Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are probably best known for their stellar work either writing or directing the likes of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 22 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie. While they’re both producers on this new series The Afterparty, Miller also created this comedy murder mystery, plus writes and directs a selection of this 8-part series, that streams from 28 January on Apple TV+. Gloriously, I’ve been lucky enough to look at the entire series and, let me tell you, it’s already a must-watch for early 2022!
First up, The Afterparty is an ensemble piece, led by Tiffany Haddish as Detective Danner, who is investigating the untimely death of a famous pop singer at a party. But, you see, this isn’t any old ensemble because this afterparty has followed a 15-year High School reunion, and so everyone at the scene has been friends for a long time.
While Haddish’s Danner is examining the clues, the old acquaintances all become suspects and it’s an impressive setup. Haddish excels in this lead Cop role, and alongside her in the series (as the Afterparty guests) are Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Sam Richardson, Ike Barinholtz, Ilana Glazer, Jamie Demetriou, Genevieve Angelson, John Early, Everly Carganilla, Tiya Sircar, and Dave Franco. Also keep an eye out for a few top-class cameos!
As ever with the creative Miller, and the team around him, The Afterparty humour is sharp, smartly self-referential and modern, giving the whole series a brilliant atmosphere, especially with its unusual approach to the murder mystery setup. While there is the death of a major character in the first episode, this won’t lessen any actor’s involvement because it’s told in classic flashback. However, what’s different is that each episode explores an individual character’s viewpoint of the evening, and things that have happened. And wait, there’s more!
Not only do we see their individual personalities, but the ‘lens’ of the character alters into both spoofing and emulating popular film genres, with a certain way of shooting, to match with the storyteller’s exclusive perspective. This flows in an epic sense from episode to episode, and keeps the narrative strong, right through to the finale.
Miller writes three episodes, with Phil Lord, Anthony King, Kassia Miller, Nicole Delaney, Jack Dolgen, Rachel H Smith and Bridger Winegar also on scribing duties. As with any strong setup, the spirit never drops, with ideas, invention, curiousness and comedy also at the forefront, even from the plethora of viewpoints. I loved the way you’re never really sure where you’re being taken to next, and that element of mystery is consistently lingering within the fun surroundings, with an essence of Knives Out, in all the right ways.
Haddish is strong and sharp as the lead Detective, and everything revolves around her. Then we’ve got what could already be the comedy duo of 2022 in the shape of Ben Schwartz as Yasper and Sam Richardson as Aniq. In many ways, the episodes circle around their involvement in everyone else’s lives but they’re also hilariously natural comedy performances and spark off each other throughout. The whole cast also get an unexpected chance to flex their serious and comedy acting skills as we drift through the various genres, including animation, hilarious musical numbers and even a trip back to 2006 to see what they were like in High School, oh yes!
There’s no doubt you want The Afterparty on your list, when it airs from 28th January, and while you’ll only get the first three episodes to begin with, you’ll definitely want for more.
Snappy, funny, mysterious and absolute oodles of entertainment, you’ll be trying to work it out from day one, but it’s all wrapped up right to the very end. Loved it.