If the last two years of pandemic TV viewing have taught us all anything, it’s this: we’re all suckers for a good murder mystery. The Flight Attendant, Only Murders In The Building, Mare of Easttown – all of these shows kept our eyeballs glued to the screen and our minds racing trying to figure out whodunit. Well, it’s time to get your think back on!
On January 28th, AppleTV+ will drop its next half-hour crowd pleaser, The Afterparty. Billed as a murder mystery comedy, the show actually defies genre expectations by exploring the suspicious events during a high school reunion that end with the death of a famous classmate. Each episode showcases a different character’s account of the fateful evening, and over the eight episodes, the storytelling style changes to coincide with a different genre of film .
If you’re a subscriber to the streamer, this is the best way I can describe it to you: take the genre-bending antics of Dickinson, blend it with the comedy of Mystic Quest, throw in a stellar ensemble cast like from Ted Lasso, and the thrill of solving a murder like in Defending Jacob – and you’ve got … The Afterparty.
Tiffany Haddish leads the all-star cast as Detective Danner, who quickly arrives on the scene after pop star Xavier, played by Dave Franco, is found dead near his home. Xavier was hosting an afterparty for his high school reunion, and inside his mansion sits an array of former classmates who all seemingly had motive and opportunity to do him in. One by one, Danner interrogates Xavier’s guests, who are played by a collection of some of the best comedy stars in the game today – and that’s where the fun begins.
Characters played by Sam Richardson (“Tomorrow War,” “Veep”), Zoë Chao (“Love Life,” “Downhill”), Ben Schwartz (“Space Force,” “House of Lies”), and Ilana Glazer (“Broad City”) all are prime suspects, and as they each tell their story, the audience is sucked into their ‘mind movie’, as Danner puts it. ““We’re all stars of our own movie,” she says. “The same thing could happen, but you see it in a different way.” Part of the fun of watching is not only trying to piece together who the murderer is, but also the surprise of what kind of ‘mind movie’ you’ll get to watch next. Action, drama, rom-com, thriller: the show hits all the right notes — oh yeah, there’s a musical episode too! – resulting in a narrative that embraces tropes ironically for laughs and show that visually beautiful to watch, no matter what kind of film buff you are.
With the collective comedic gifts of the cast and the creative minds behind the series, Academy Award winners Chris Miller and Phil Lord (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “The Lego Movie,” “21 Jump Street”), the concept of the series is both fun and fun to dissect. You can either get lost in the mystery, the comedy, or artistic expression of each type of film explored.. But no matter what, you’ll be having a good time.
And at its core, that’s what makes the show so smart; with so much competition in the detective TV drama, isn’t it nice to have a laugh instead?