The writing makes a larger effort to be less contained than the second season, with Aniq & Danner and Zoe & Grace enacting their own frantic investigations, creating more comparable momentum. This sequel, which has the likes of Anu Valia, Eric Appel, and Peter Atencio directing in place of season one’s Miller, moves a little faster in comparison and has even more twists. But in the plainer game of which one’s funnier, Season One had more laugh-out-loud moments that made me want to exclaim, “How great is this party?!”
Having family secrets adds to juicier backstories than last season, and complicates the possible motivations for Edgar’s demise. But by structure, it’s all just too drawn out or indulgent for the exciting juggling act that comes with an ensemble whodunit. It’s “Clue,” not “Monopoly.” Across its 35-minute character studies, “The Afterparty” is prone to spend a lot of time with details that read as simply extraneous or actually are. Yes, we get to see Cho dance his heart out in the process, enjoy Konkle dead-panning like the best of them, and savor Walter Hauser’s loving flipside of “Richard Jewell.” And yet the show’s collective charisma and self-amusement can only create so much intrigue in place of a delayed big reveal.
But taken in total, as a binge for after a party, it’s still plenty of fun. “The Afterparty” splits the difference between a hard-labored production (all of those costume styles, those intersecting storylines!) that’s meant to be viewed as light comedy. It’s a lot like Apple TV+’s musical series “Schmigadoon!” in that way, which is a good, cozy quality. “The Afterparty” is also putting on a show, and each kooky suspect’s spotlight is an inspired moment for the series’ sneaky, chameleonic storytellers.
Nine episodes of Season Two were screened for review. The first three episodes of “The Afterparty” premiere on Apple TV+ on July 12.