Each episode of this impressive comedy-drama adopts a new genre, from musical to action movie. It is smart, starry and classy to a fault – so why does it feel like it’s dragging?
The Afterparty (Apple TV+) is one of those “oh, it’s them from that thing” shows, packed to the gills with comedy stars who have appeared in better series or films. Originally conceived as a film about a high school reunion by Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street creators Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, it has been transformed into an eight-part murder mystery, with each episode adopting a different genre depending on the character we are following. Tiffany Haddish plays Danner, the detective who puts herself in charge of investigating the crime. Smart and starry? What could go wrong?
Not much, as it turns out, but its fundamental decent-ness is to its detriment. A group of old classmates are getting together for their 15-year reunion, and in among the archetypes is Xavier, formerly known as Eugene, now a famous rock star and actor whose sole purpose seems to be to mess with the heads of the people with whom he went to school. (Dave Franco plays him with ample slime and ooze). But Xavier ends up falling to his death from the balcony of his beach-side mansion, where the reunion’s afterparty has been taking place. Cue the arrival of Danner and her sidekick Culp (Search Party’s John Early, underused in the early episodes), there to grill the attendees and work out whodunnit. The partygoers’ testimonies offer up a cinematic kaleidoscope of stories.