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Afterlife: Series One

BBC Worldwide // Unrated // May 13, 2014
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted June 4, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Afterlife is a series that debuted 10 years ago on ITV in the United Kingdom. Sadly after only 2 seasons, and 14 episodes, this has become yet another show that was cancelled way before it's time. It starred Lesley Sharp and a pre Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln as a Psychic medium and a psychology professor who works on debunking psychics as frauds. Is this series worth getting into?

Alison Mundy (portrayed by Lesley Sharp) is a psychic. A genuine medium who can connect with spirits that are drawn to her, to help them get into contact with their loved ones so she can guide them into the afterlife. She's a conflicted person who is clearly trying to hide from her broken past. Allison is a survivor of a horrific train crash, and she claims she had "died", and that she was given a second chance to help those that were suffering into the afterlife. As soon as she arrives to Bristol, she meets a young student at the local university and discovers that the soul who has recently been haunting her, belongs to the students grandmother. Enter Dr. Robert Bridge (The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln.) Robert is an ex therapist and is now a professor at Bristol university as a psychology lecturer. His path with Alison first collides when she is trying to help the aforementioned students come to terms with her grandmothers death, of which her interference inadvertently results in the suicide of the student.

Fascinated by her, Robert decides to write a book about Alison, and they soon begin working together. The problem is that Robert is a 100% skeptic, believing that all psychic mediums are fraudulent, and believes Alison to be the same as all the others he's encountered and debunked as hacks. The interactions he has with Alison and witnessing her trying to help these spirits and their loved ones constantly challenge his assumptions, but he always has an explanation for the events to hide behind his doubts, but she soon will give him cause to doubt his suspicions when he finds out one of the spirits that refuses to move on to the afterlife is linked to his past.

While the series does have a main storyline, each episode is quite episodic, as Alison has to deal with another death and help that lost soul go into the afterlife. The overarching storyline delves deeper into Robert's past. One of the stray souls that continuously haunts Alison due from not being able to move on. Alison confronts Robert about why she's developed this relationship with him in the first place and who this trapped soul really is... Robert's young son, Josh, whom was killed in a driving accident three years earlier, for which Robert takes full responsibility for his son's death, since he was the one driving. After Joshua's death, he subsequently fell into a depression his marriage collapsed, and his wife has remarried and is once again pregnant, something he cannot handle. Joshua is trying to move on to the afterlife by making contact with Robert, but cannot due to his unwilling father.

- Positives:

+ The performances by Andrew Lincoln and Lesley Sharp are wonderful. I've never been exposed to Sharp's body of work before, but she is astounding as conflicted psychic, Alison, possibly the standout of the entire show. Lincoln's work I'm familiar with from The Walking Dead, who's work here in my opinion eclipses anything he's done on that show.

+ The dynamic between the two is my favorite aspect of the series, the characters work so well together, and the actors are no different... the chemistry between Andrew and Lesley is off the charts and is easily some of their best work in my opinion.

+ The character development for the 2 leads.

+ Watching the lead characters past unfold piece by piece was fantastic.

+ Each episode is fantastic and compelling.

- Negatives:

- For a little while it seems the only purpose Robert fills is to be the guy who says that everything that happens is a coincidence, not an act of the paranormal.

- You will want to dive straight into season 2, and with no announced release date, might be a long wait.

Video and Audio:
The series is presented in a 16:9 Anamorphic widescreen, and for the most part. the transfer is solid. The only real problem with the DVD is that the series is a bit grainy.

As for audio, the series has a Dolby Stereo track with optional English subtitles. Afterlife uses a great soundtrack that really makes the show standout, the subtle and the emotional moments are well balanced with the music never overpowering any scene. Their were no signs of any form of dropout or distortions throughout the set.

Extras: - Commentaries on episodes 1 and 6 with stars Andrew Lincoln and Lesley Sharp, the series creator, Stephen Volk and producer, Murray Ferguson.

Afterlife is an exceptional series that was cancelled before it's time. These first 6 episodes of the series are fantastic with each passing hour compelling and interesting to watch unfold. The series features some wonderful characters who are completely fleshed out with terrific backstories, great writing, and terrific acting. If you're a huge Walking Dead fan, and want to see Andrew Lincoln in his prime, watch this show, he is marvelous as Robert. Perhaps even better is Lesley Sharp, someone I was completely unfamiliar with before watching this, who makes the role of Alison her own. Recommeded.

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