Sometimes The Spirits Choose You
Not many people were aware of this fact, but, in 2005, Britain's ITV produced and aired what I see as possibly the greatest science fiction series ever made. Oh sure, people will argue over the whole "best sci fi show ever" thing, its one of those things that just comes down to personal opinion, but for me, this series "Afterlife", is the greatest, it tells a story of a sad woman, who lives a sad self induced lonely life, because she feels that others can't really understand why she feels she is different then them, you see, her name is Alison Mundy, and she can see the dead, not in her dreams, she sees them walking around, all among us, and alot of them, speak to her, wanting her help. It also tells the story of Dr Robert Bridge, a professor of psychology who is a devoted skeptic and disbeliever in people like Alison, claiming they are all fakes and cheats, Robert lost his young son Josh tragically not long before the show's first episode, his grief has caused a rift between him and his wife, whom he's separated from at the beginning of the series. Robert comes into contact with Alison by taking a class he's teaching on how to spot a fake psychic to a group reading she's doing. After the uncanny details she brings out, not only out of a student who later kills herself, but also about Robert himself, Robert becomes curious with her and asks to speak with her, taking her on as her therapist, he hopes to learn how she knew what she knew about him, and about that girl, the series follows their journeys together as she shows Robert that the world he knows, is not the world they live in. As the show goes on, Robert eventually writes a book about his travels with Alison, entitled "Afterlife: Sometimes The Spirits Choose You", from which the show takes its namesake and tag line.
The story is deeper then just a woman that can see ghosts and the doubtful but curious professor who's world of logic and order has been changed by her, and how they travel around the city of Bristol helping the spirits Alison sees find their rest, so they can go to where ever it is we go when we've died. Its really the story of two people who have been damaged beyond what most would believe to be repairable, and how they heal each other through their completely symbiotic relationship, where there is a deep emotional need for each other in their lives, Alison understand Robert's grief and sadness, and Robert understands Alison's feeling sheltered and withdrawn from the world who looks at her as if she's crazy, they are in a sense, the purest emotional bond, you could ever see. And though you find yourself wondering if there is more to their relationship then you see on the outside, at and times you find yourself wishing they would just love each other, it never does happen, its not ment to happen, they are ment to be exactly what they are, the closest emotionally that two people could ever become. It is their strength, and what drives them to pull each other out of their shells and into the world they share. You find yourself caring deeply for them both right up to the series' somber yet mindblowing end.
The main plot of the show is just as intense and important, some might call it formula given it follows the same basic idea as every other show about people that see ghosts, the spirit comes to Alison, who tries to dismiss it, until she can't any longer, she then tells Robert, who takes her to whoever she needs to go to, to help finish the spirit's business here on earth. And I can see how some might say thats the standard story for every show of this nature, and i guess thats true, but in reality, its the realistic way they do it, where you truly believe this is happening, that sets them apart, its not some "they come to me in my dreams" or "they call out to me till i find them" nonsense, the way they go about business, you truly do believe that there would be spirits walking around trying to find that one person who can see and hear and interact with them, its so realistic, and with afew swerves near the start, you find yourself wondering if its all in Alison's head and she's just getting lucky with these events, or if they're really there, by the end of the series though you realize, they are infact real, and its brought to undeniable proof at the end in a swerve you never see coming, and leaves you stunned and dazed.
The show in general is a joy to watch the casting is excellent, the lovely and very under rated Lesley Sharpe plays Alison as if she is really her, as if you are just walking into the daily life of a very unique and very special woman, who with out knowing her as we do, we find ourselves wondering if we'd even notice Alison if we were to see her on the street, and feeling really bad at how she feels she needs to recoil away from people and hide away. Andrew Lincoln plays Robert in a way that you feel as if any guy you know, could be him, you find yourself questioning yourself and your beliefs in everything through him, you truly believe he's recently lost his son and that its destroyed his life. Its just so well done and so much care taken into account, even the caliber of guest star is incredible, most noted is the brilliant David Threlfall of "Shameless" fame, who is just an insanely talented actor in his own right, its just amazing really. The writers are amazing and award winning as well, you truly get sucked into this series, and its all their fault.
Its hard to do a write up on a show of this nature really, its something that you can't start to talk about, because you won't stop till you've told someone the whole thing, and you don't wanna spoiler you want them to actually see it for themselves. Which is what i'd love you all to do... So if you haven't seen Afterlife just yet, then please, seek out this rare obscure gem of greatness and have a look, even if you aren't a ghost or sci fi fan, you will be sucked into this story, and just entraced by it.