I have to admit, I was skeptical about The Afterparty when I first saw the trailer. I was worried it would be campy and gimmicky, but was pleasantly surprised. It was a rocking good time with an ensemble cast of comedians who played off each other amazingly and snappy writing that kept the viewer engaged. The concept of each episode being shot in a different film genre was fun and made sense in the context of the show. All that has changed in season two. With the exception of Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson and Zoe Chao and a few supporting characters, we have a brand new cast. The energy and playfulness of the first season is largely lost, the story is predictable and the different film genres of each episode feel forced and formulaic, in no way adding to the overall storytelling.

The Afterparty Season 2 on AppleTV+

The lackluster show was incredibly disappointing. The actors who make up this season have a track record of amazing work and did the best they could with the material they were given. The viewer will at once recognize the character types each actor has become synonymous for; – Zach Woods is once again everyone’s favorite wet blanket. Ken Jeong constantly tries but fails at life. Poppy Liu plays the fine line between innocence and ignorance. Elizabeth Perkins is domineering and slightly unhinged. Paul Walter Hauser is a bumbling idiot. Jack Whitehall is as charming and suave as ever. Anna Konkle is delightfully awkward. Finally, in a bit of a change for him, John Cho is free spirited new agey guru type.

John Cho, Zoe Chao,Paul Walter Hauser, Ken Jeong, Poppy Liu and Vivian Wu in The Afterparty season 2 on AppleTV+

I feel most sorry for Haddish’s Detective Danner, Chao’s Zoe, and Richardson’s Aniq. They’re stepping back into the same characters as last year but without the same chemistry and urgency. One of the things that made season one so great was that all the characters/suspects had such a deep and long connection to each other. It made the mystery much more difficult to untangle as we were diving into grudges that were decades old. The environment of the reunion and afterparty made for an exciting backdrop to the story and the flashback episodes added extra depth and context.

Additionally, Detective Danner is racing against the clock to solve the mystery to revive her career and avoid her nemesis taking over the case. This is not the case in season two. Detective Danner has quite the force to become a true crime author, and the only urgency there is awkwardly self-imposed by Perkins’ Isabel, who wants to avoid a scandal. Instead of a group of people who have known each other for years, we are dealing with two families who have just met. It makes grudges seem superficial and formulaic.

Elizabeth Perkins, Ken Jeong, Zach Woods, Poppy Liu and Paul Water Hauser in The Afterparty season 2 on AppleTV+

As for the gimmick of shooting each episode in a different film drama – as I mentioned above, in season one this complimented the storytelling element. Each character told their story in their style, but never strayed far from the actual reality of the situation. There were no costume changes, vocal affectations or fancy camera work, just the hint of a genre. Season two throws all that out the window. Each episode is truly in a different genre.

The characters are now in period outfits; speaking in a style synonymous with that genre and even the way in which the episodes are shot and edited is different. All this comes across as the producers trying to pound into the viewers head – “Hey look at us! Each episode is a different genre! Do you see what we’re doing!? We’re being creative! Do you see?!” This also slows down the pacing of the show. As they chose rather muted genres for each episode. Sucking so much of the fun and energy out of it. It never allowed each actor to reach their full potential as a character. They were constantly constricted by the style they were emulating.

While Richardson is always a joy to watch; the show would have been better served by following Haddish’s character investigating a new homicide with an entirely new cast of characters. In my opinion, this is a party you can skip.

So, are you interested in watching The Afterparty Season Two?

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