Now that it’s actually dead after a surprising move by Amazon Studios in cancelling The After nearly a year after commissioning a first season, let’s talk a bit about The After before burying it for good.
This is a pilot I really, really wanted to like. I forgave Chris Carter for completely losing track of his own stories in the later seasons of The X-Files years ago. This show still stands out as the mother of modern mystery television and will never cease to be a milestone in serial television. I also loved Millennium, although this love is more about the third season after the original concept failed. The After looked so promising produced by an aspiring global player willing to dive deep into genre tv.
Back then after it aired I wrote some lines about the pilot in a german forum and my closing words were
For all I care Amazon may just skip this.
It’s about some people who get stuck in a parking garage and when they finally find a way out all hell is going on. Panic on the streets, explosions. Oh, and there’s an alien.
The After did wrong nearly everything. This was a show about the apocalypse that mostly played in a parking garage and a remote estate showing absolutely nothing about what was going on. It drifted off into uncomfortable web series terrain by placing a ridiculous cliffhanger every five
seconds minutes or so. An alarm going off in the parking garage, the elevator is stuck, another alarm, someone’s foot is jammed under a door, another alarm going off. And so on. Fast-paced without generating any suspense.
The mystery elements were all over the place – just cliché puzzle pieces that didn’t look like fitting. Like all these people having the same birthday. The character were also total stereotypes saying stupid thing and doing stupid things (like taking a swim in the pool naked during the apocalypse).
And have no idea where all the buzz was coming from back then. I think it was the strange alien in the last scene that was kinda cool. I also have no idea why Amazon picked this up for series. But I suspect they now read some episode scripts and decided to pull the plug before exposing themselves to ridicule with their first big drama project ever.
It’s really no shame this will now make some space for other shows.