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The Afterparty: Season One Review

"Imma live forever, I ain't never gonna die!" - The murder victim

By nature I love brevity: Simply put, the best new traditional murder mystery I've seen in a very long time. And before you ask, no, Knives Out doesn't count as 'traditional.' But even if it did... I honestly don't know. They're very different.

We all (myself very much included) loved Only Murders in the Building for its charming and wonderful cast, clever writing, excellent music, inventive title design, and satisfying mystery. So you may be surprised when I tell you about another show from wonder producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of The LEGO Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and the 21 Jump Street movies' fame, which in my opinion does each and every one of those things to a much, much more satisfying and excellent degree. So let me pitch it to you.

The Afterparty is a half-hour comedy murder mystery, featuring an electrified Tiffany Haddish as the lead detective, in which every episode matches a different genre. From Romantic Comedy to Action to Musical, each episode is from the perspective of a different suspect in the case. We hear wildly different accounts of the night of the murder from the multitude of eclectic and suspicious characters, and along with Haddish's Detective Danner, we're sorting through the details to find who may not have told us the whole truth. The whole thing revolves around Dave Franco's late pop star Xavier, who strikes just the right balance between insufferable twat that anybody would want to murder and pitiable loner who just wants to be loved. He's been pushed from his penthouse balcony during the after-party he's hosting for his high school reunion.

The mystery is brilliantly composed, pushing all the right notes and delivering twist after twist that keeps you guessing and leads you right into its trap – even if you're looking for it. My roommate and I were following along very intently, and we had been scrutinizing the show to see who would make the most sense as the killer. But when it came time for the reveal, even though we had noticed the biggest clue, it both came as a complete shock and made 100% sense. The show is built entirely around the mystery, and it doesn't work if it doesn't turn out the way it does. But I never saw it coming.

Along the way, of course, there's a great deal of hilarity. It's just gosh darn funny, joke after joke consistently landing. Lord, Miller, and their writing team have crafted a great set of compelling characters, none of whom you want to be the killer by the end of it. The cast, which includes Zoe Chao, Ben Schwartz, and Ilana Glazer, is uniformly excellent, modifying their performances with slight subtle notes in the different versions of the story so that you're not entirely sure who has the right perspective of whom – and who the real person deep down is. Haddish grounds the show brilliantly with her sharp and distinct Danner, a detective for the ages.

It's not all pure fun and games, either; the series dips into some really difficult topics later on, doing so with a steady hand and a firm head on its shoulders. At the end of the day, this is a murder mystery that has the guts to question whether the police force that's in charge of the investigation can or will really achieve true justice, which is not something to be dismissed easily. And it does it all without losing the sense of fun that pervades the whole series.

It is a crime that this show did not get more recognition than it did. Without a doubt, it's worth a free trial of AppleTV+; I'd argue that it's worth a month's subscription if you can't get a free trial. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that maybe the value of any given month's subscription to AppleTV+ should be primarily determined by how many times one could binge the eight episodes of The Afterparty in that month. If it's at least one, you should go for it.


-Season one was fantastic, and season two is on its way! So catch up now in time for the new season, which will feature the same detective with a new cast of characters.

-It should be obvious given that this is a murder mystery, but this is truly a better experience the less you know about it. Go in as blind as possible.

-That said, once you have finished it, please watch this because it's amazing.

-After watching this, I have concluded that Zoe Chao should be in more things. Put her in more things please. Thank you.

6 out of 6 great parties.
CoramDeo could never fall off.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. After reading that, I *just might* have to watch it. Thanks for the review.


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