Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Finally, a show that tackles ‘modern issues’ subtly and with style. That doesn’t preach to the audience or presume them to be fools.
Anyone who has listened to the podcasts will know that I have very little patience for the ‘woke’ phenomenon sweeping television and movies these days. Hopefully you’ll have realised that my issue isn’t with the social issues themselves (which are of supreme importance) but rather with the method of delivery. I suppose it’s why I don’t like condescending people.
Years and Years is not a condescending person. Only Russell T. Davies (henceforth, RTD) could come up with a show that perfectly illustrates many of our current fears and nightmares without feeling like a sermon from the pulpit. Without feeling like the show is trying to plunge a knife into the heart of our most dreaded insecurities, our personal failures.
RTD’s mission is simple: predict a possible scenario for the next 15 years and follow a family of diverse characters through that period of time, documenting their experiences as the years go by.
And what a staggering achievement this programme is. As much as hyperbole irritates me, I can’t help but feel hyperbolic about Years and Years. I’ve been waiting for a programme like this to come along since 2016, when the entirety of media decided to fight the ‘rise of populism’ in a typically brutish manner. (Think, Team America.)
This show tackles it all. Immigration, sexual equality, gender identity, body choices, racial issues, politics. But it manages to show the human behind the decisions at all times. The characters make mistakes, and in some cases take actions that are undeniably awful – and yet – you understand why. You wonder whether you wouldn’t have done the same, had you been in their shoes. There aren’t any broad stroke denunciations to be found here, blessedly. The world of Years and Years is slowly falling to pieces – a situation we currently find ourselves in – but it isn’t ‘fascists’ or ‘communists’ behind it, it’s everyone. It’s the technocrats and the bureaucrats, the conservatives and the progressives. Everyone has a hand in the game and nobody seems to know how to win without killing everyone else. Lethal poker.
This programme – and I do not exaggerate here – will speak to people with closed minds, previously unreachable by the landed blows of previous attempts. Where shows like Doctor Who threw a drink into the face of the ‘ideological enemy’ and then asked them to rethink their views, Years and Years sits down to have a deep, philosophical chat. It listens and then it expounds on its views, reaching out to people who – perhaps – haven’t reacted with anything but anger for a long time.
People tend to lash out when they’re attacked, don’t they?
I could go on about the technicalities. The programme is shot beautifully. The music is truly superb. There’s an all star cast. Etc. Etc. But none of that really matters. The true star of this show is RTD, who has woven a nightmare world with a message of hope – it doesn’t have to be this way. And it won’t be, if we talk to each other like human beings for once.
I’ll say no more. I daren’t spoil it for you. Watch it.