The first season of the Apple TV+ series “The Afterparty” took a very different approach to the murder mystery genre. Actually, it took 10 different approaches.
Each of the episodes explored the recollections of those who attended an ill-fated party that ended with a crime to be solved. Each of the accounts by the guests were presented in a different film genre and unique visuals.
That approach is being used again as season two will begin April 28 on the streaming service. New episodes of the series from Academy Award winners Chris Miller and Phil Lord will be available each Friday until the finale on June 23.
In season two, a wedding is ruined when the groom is murdered, and every guest is a suspect. The genres used to tell the second season tale will include a period costume piece, a salute to Jane Austen, film noir, epic romance, heist and a ‘90s erotic thriller.
Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) returns to help Aniq (Sam Richardson) and Zoë (Zoë Chao) solve the case by questioning family members, star-crossed lovers and business partners.
Haddish was happy to return for another season because of her obsession with mysteries.
“I’m a female. We always want to know who did it. What happened? Who was in this? Did somebody steal something out of my purse? Oh no, I left it on my dresser. It was me,” Haddish says. “We go through our men’s phones. I don’t go through no men’s phones no more. I learned my lesson.
“I will binge watch something or like sometimes they give you the first two episodes and I’m like ‘ugh!’ And I will write out what I think is going to happen to test my psychic powers. And then I find out I was wrong.”
It was not a difficult decision by the executive producers to bring Haddish, Chao and Richardson back for another season. Miller describes Haddish’s character as being the Hercule Poirot of the series. He also thought the chemistry between Chao and Richardson was so good that they should be in season two.
The new season of “The Afterparty” also stars Elizabeth Perkins, Zach Woods, Paul Walter Hauser, Poppy Liu, Anna Konkle, Jack Whitehall, Vivian Wu, John Cho and Ken Jeong.
In one way, the large ensemble cast of actors who can easily handle comedy reminded Jeong of his days on “Community.” There was one big difference.
“I think what was different was on ‘Community,’ we kind of started out as relative unknowns for the most part, like back in ’09. And here, everybody has led their own projects and they’ve won their own Golden Globes,” Jeong says. “They’ve won their own awards.
“So this felt more like this ’92 Olympic dream team of basketball players where everyone was just a star and everybody had this harmonious working relationship. I think what struck me the most was just how collaborative every single person was. And it was really one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Cho has found himself being part of a strong acting cast on various productions over the years. The difference for him was that he’s never been involved in any other project where he was with that talented cast in the same scene shot in so many different ways.
The multiple genre approach is what made the project appealing to Cho.
“The principal pleasure for me this summer was sitting back and watching all of these amazing actors do their thing. I learned so much. I was so entertained,” Cho says. “It was just so delightful every single day. And I think this is what really separates this from virtually anything I’ve done. It’s a very unusual situation and it was just a real genuine pleasure.”
Miller stresses that while “The Afterparty” has a unique style due to all of the genre styles used, it is the cast that is the key to making the show work.
“It really all comes down to the characters and what their story and what their point of view is and how the characters see the world and what seems to fit for them,” Miller says. “It’s sort of this weird chicken and egg thing where you’re figuring out how can each character tell a distinct story in a distinct style.”
The biggest concern for the executive producers was keeping the cast members in the dark as to the identity of the killer. It was necessary to give them all of the scripts so they could know the best way to play their character. All that did was make every cast member become convinced they were the guilty party.
Miller jokes that 10 different endings were shot and the best one will be selected for the finale.
The real solution will be revealed on June 23.