Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
AppleTV+ has a real problem with overlong shows. It’s something that plagues almost all of its IPs, with episodes that meander on or fail to justify their existence. Truth Be Told, Servant, Defending Jacob, Invasion and Lisey’s Story – to name a few – are each plagued by this issue. Unfortunately, The Afterparty also slips up here too.
Despite that, The Afterparty is still one of Apple’s best shows. It’s original, quirky, oddly humorous and has enough of a hook to keep you sticking around until the end of its 8 episode run.
However, that oddity also comes at the cost of accessibility, with this likely to be regarded as a love/hate affair with many people. However, if you’re sold after the first few episodes, you’re in for quite the rollercoaster ride.
The Afterparty is essentially a classic murder mystery spruced up with some modern lingo, a host of colourful and eccentric characters, along with a rather clever genre-hopping tone across its chapters.
The gist of the story centers on a high-school reunion with a group of characters that have come far since their school days.
Among those is Xavier, who’s a hot-shot celebrity, having starred in the box office smash hit Hungry, Hungry Hippos and gone on to produce some (subjectively) good tracks. When he’s pushed off the balcony of his condo during the reunion afterparty, it’s up to Detectives Culp and Danner to figure out who’s responsible – and why.
Now, it’s worth prefacing that most critics who received this early (myself included) were only given the first 3 episodes to work with.
Apple then added the extra episodes across the weeks but intentionally held off the finale until after episode 7 had aired. This is important to note because almost every single review you’re going to read on this show is not taking into consideration any last minute twists. That’s not to say they’re bad of course, far from it, but it is important to know the ending when accurately reflecting on a murder mystery.
After all, an Agatha Christie novel can live or die by who the murderer or suspect is at the end.
With that out the way, I can confidently say that The Afterparty does have a solid conclusion, which wraps up its story nicely and almost justifies episode 6 and 7’s existence. I say that, because both of these chapters feel like filler and slow the pace down to a halt. The former adds absolutely nothing to the show, while episode 7 is exclusively one long flashback.
This goes back to that earlier mention about run-time and how Apple’s shows seem to just drag this out unnecessarily.
The characters wrapped up in this mystery are pretty enticing though, and they all have their own quirks, secrets and charismatic quips.
While this initially seems annoying, it’s actually quite important for how this show is structured. Each of the episodes change the perspective to a different character, as we see their version of events from the night in question. In doing so, the tone shifts depending on who’s narrating the tale.
Brett’s episode is all about the action, with a Fast and Furious gloss, complete wit car chases, fighting and a bombastic musical score. Elsewhere, you’ve got Zoe’s episode which is exclusively shown in hand-drawn animation, while Aniq’s hopeless romantic story has suitable rom-com stylings.
The downside to this approach of course, is that there’s a lot of retreading of familiar ground. A lot of the stories tend to overlap key details from different angles and as a binge-watch, that’s a lot more noticeable than watching this leisurely week to week.
Either way, there’s enough within this to instantly feel a sense of Deja vu almost every episode, which eventually flickers out what promising spark this started with.
Solid acting and comedic quips aside, The Afterparty is actually a decent show. It’s not groundbreaking – despite how its opening few episodes present this – and it is overlong. The resolution and wrap-up of the case is definitely worth sticking it out for though, so if you’re in the mood for a good murder mystery, you should find enough to like with this.
Verdict - 7.5/10