As we all exchanged Steve Carell memes earlier this week in celebration of that version of The Office's 10th anniversary, I suddenly noticed that we now live in a very, very post-Office world. Though some might disagree, I don't think that such a statement could extend to the show's creator Ricky Gervais. After all, he managed to follow up The Office with Extras — every bit as funny and nuanced as his David Brent material. In 2009, he co-wrote and co-directed the criminally underrated The Invention of Lying, a smartly crafted vote for atheism in the form of a high-concept comedy.
Derek, the most recent entry in the Gervais catalog, provides a more straightforward attempt at the warmhearted goodness that was always at the root of The Office. Though Gervais has received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his turn as retirement home worker Derek Noales, the series itself hasn't started the same sort of cultural fire we've come to expect from his work. But that's okay. Though nowhere near as groundbreaking as The Office or incisive as Extras, Derek successfully approaches sentimentality without wallowing in it.
Following two characteristically concise seasons (already available on Netflix), the new one-hour special will be available on April 3.