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TV Review: ‘The Afterparty’ Season 2

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Tiffany Haddish in ‘The Afterparty,’ now streaming on Apple TV+.

Launched with the first two episodes on Apple TV+, the second season of ‘The Afterparty’ manages to take the story in interesting new directors while also maintaining what made the first so entertaining.

Created by Chris Miller and produced by Miller alongside regular creative partner Phil Lord, ‘The Afterparty’ has the clever conceit of presenting the events of the story from the different points of view of the various characters, all portrayed in different genres.

And while the new season doesn’t have the frisson of a new idea in quite the same way, there is still plenty of freshness here.

What’s the story of ‘The Afterparty’s second season?

Zoë Chao and Sam Richardson in 'The Afterparty,' now streaming on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Zoë Chao and Sam Richardson in ‘The Afterparty,’ now streaming on Apple TV+.

The story picks up with Aniq (Sam Richardson) and Zoë (Zoë Chao), now a couple, having made it through the murder mystery that sprang up during the afterparty of a high school reunion.

It’s a year later and the pair are attending the wedding of Zoë’s sister Grace (Poppy Liu), who is getting married to wealthy tech type Edgar (Zach Woods) at his family’s expansive estate north of San Francisco.

Aniq fails to make a good impression his girlfriend’s family, but that pales in comparison when Edgar is discovered dead the morning after the wedding (along with his pet lizard, Roxana).

Soon, accusations are being thrown around and skeletons from the past on all sides are coming to light. Aniq contacts Detective Danner –– or rather former Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) –– who cracked the case in the first season (and is now trying to write a book about the experience) to come and solve the new murder mystery.

Who else appears in ‘The Afterparty’ Season 2?

Jack Whitehall and John Cho in 'The Afterparty,' now streaming on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Jack Whitehall and John Cho in ‘The Afterparty,’ now streaming on Apple TV+.

Season two boasts a new group of characters including Edgar’s adopted sister Hannah (Anna Konkle), his widowed mother Isabel (Elizabeth Perkins), and business partner Sebastian (Jack Whitehall); Grace and Zoë’s parents Feng (Ken Jeong) and Vivian (Vivian Wu), as well as their long-estranged world-travelling uncle Ulysses (John Cho); and Grace’s ex-boyfriend Travis (Paul Walter Hauser).

Related Article: Producers Phil Lord, Cristopher Miller and Cast Talk ‘The Afterparty’

Is ‘The Afterparty’ Season 2 an event worth attending?

Anna Konkle, Elizabeth Perkins, Zach Woods, Poppy Liu, John Cho, Vivian Wu, Ken Jeong and Zoë Chao in 'The Afterparty,' now streaming on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Anna Konkle, Elizabeth Perkins, Zach Woods, Poppy Liu, John Cho, Vivian Wu, Ken Jeong and Zoë Chao in ‘The Afterparty,’ now streaming on Apple TV+.

As we mentioned, the idea of splitting the episodes between the various characters’ viewpoints and utilizing a different genre for each one is no longer as fresh and new as the first, but the show’s creative team has worked hard to make it feel different and worthwhile rather than a retread.

Part of that is rounding up a superb new ensemble to bring the characters to life, with the highlights including Cho as the worldly, weird uncle that Zoë and Grace idolized as youngsters, but haven’t seen for years after he fell out with their parents. His re-introduction to their lives (organized by Edgar and Sebastian) is a fantastic showcase for Cho, who has rarely gotten to play such a flamboyant, weird character.

Jeong is also great –– a picky shaved ice magnate (he’s quick to point out that it’s Taiwanese rather than Hawaiian) –– gives him a chance to do the sort of shouty, nervy character who works well playing against the others.

Woods’ Edgar has his own set of quirks; a painfully socially awkward genius whose closest companion is his pet reptile, and while it might come across as the character he played or some he interacted with on ‘Silicon Valley’, he brings something new to this role. Kudos also to the effects team bringing Roxana the lizard to life –– she’s almost as much of a character as she is.

Among the genres the season offers are Jane Austen-style period drama (for Grace’s story of how she met and fell for Edgar and her worries that Zoë isn’t on board with their whirlwind romance), and one set within the word of TikTok and other social media trends.

And a breakout hit of the season to come is the episode focused on Danner investigating a different case. We won’t go into any big spoilers but suffice to say that fans of 1980s and 1990s thrillers (and food) will heartily enjoy the craziness on display. You can also expect to see a spoof of heist movies and 1950s melodrama.

Through it all, Haddish and Richardson provide reliable anchors –– he all nervous energy and trying to do what’s right, she the quick-thinking, smack-talking type who knows that everyone lies at some point.

There are the same level of twists and turns this time around, the various viewpoints providing different laughs and the emotional quotient remaining high. These are characters you’ll enjoy getting to know and figuring out who might have dangerous motives and reasons to wish Edgar harm.

It also generates plenty of knowing stories about the tensions both within Asian families and towards them –– at one point Jeong’s Feng points out that white people clustered whispering is never a good thing.

Lord and Miller have long proved to be skilled at taking comedy and genre and twisting them together, and ‘The Afterparty’ continues to be a great example of that.

‘Afterparty’ problems?

Poppy Liu and Zach Woods in 'The Afterparty,' now streaming on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Poppy Liu and Zach Woods in ‘The Afterparty,’ now streaming on Apple TV+.

Not every genre pick is quite as effective, which means you might find yourself going from an episode you truly enjoy to one that only offers minor chuckles.

Yet this is the only real issue with the new show, which has made a successful return to Apple’s streaming service and marks one of the best comedies on TV at the moment. The only other problem you could have is with the weekly drip feed release schedule –– your patience might be taxed waiting for each episode of the remaining eight to drop, but it’s worth it.

And the only guarantee we can’t give is that the show sticks the landing this time and resolves the mystery effectively, as critics were not provided with the crucial final episode. But on the evidence of the season so far and the great quality of the first, we have faith.

‘The Afterparty’ Season 2 receives 8 out of 10 stars.

Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Perkins in 'The Afterparty,' now streaming on Apple TV+.

(L to R) Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Perkins in ‘The Afterparty,’ now streaming on Apple TV+.

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Content Source: www.moviefone.com

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