BBC’s Years and Years: The Future is Loading

Russell T Davies creates a BBC drama starring Emma Thompson and Russell Tovey

As the future descends into a spiral of decline, we witness a rapid change in times through the eyes and experiences of one ‘normal’ family. Through the every-man. Because the future hides from nobody…

Russel T Davies: a modern J.B.Priestley, explores the tragic self inflicted consequences of ignorance, a lack of socialistic values and a disregard for the neighbour we were meant to love. What is the cost of idly shunning humanity? What is the cost of watching the world as you know it turn into a carnivorous beast?

The dystopian drama doesn’t fail to force us back into reality. It’s not surprising that some would rather cover their eyes while the world crumbles apart.

‘I used to be bored by politics, those were the days.’

[Daniel Lyons]

Incredibly yet horrifyingly realistic to our potential future, the 15 years of insightful messages strengthens the guilt of your every action. The future could well be a living hell. Yet we continue passively digging ourselves deeper into this hole.

One of the few TV productions that has brought tears to my eyes and anxiety to my mind. Viktor- yet another victim bruised by injustice and worldwide revolts- a refugee fleeing Ukraine, persecuted for his sexuality. Finding a refuge within his love for housing officer, Daniel (Russel Tovey) acts as a lifeboat for the both of them, as the pair embark on a journey through the sea of fear that is the world. 

Now with each corner turned, the world is blocked by catastrophes closing in on them. Davies explores the vitality of being a proactive, freethinking member of a society slowly indoctrinated with fascism.  Encapsulating the Lyons family inside a microcosm of misfortune as tragedy strikes all around them, and they, like everyone around them, are struggling to keep their heads above the violent waves.

Daniel Lyons embarks on a life- threatening quest with Viktor Goraya

It becomes an uncompassionate and isolating world- feeling the consequences of everything, tripping over itself with pace. Running so fast it nearly forgets a nuclear bomb that sent everything into chaos: an artificial island destroyed, radiating brave heroine Edith and consequently limiting her years of bold activism… sending Daniel into a frenzied enlightenment about the man he loves and bringing mother Celeste to shower her transhuman daughter with support.

We witness the dramatic progression of technology integrated with our everyday life. This escalates over each episode until ‘transhuman’ Bethany transforms from hiding under mildly creepy Snapchat filters to… well, uploading her whole being onto the cloud (the technology is still changing as I write). Meanwhile, parents Steven and Celeste struggle to keep up with the straining changes as their relationship lies under pressure, resulting in Muriel (played by the spectacular Anne Reid) unexpectedly taking her great- daughter-in-law under her wings. 

Determined to prove her disability is no hindrance, assertive single mum Rosie knocks barriers in order to protect what she loves most. Driven by passion and fire, her fighting spirit knows no bounds. Much like her sister, Edith Lyons. 

A freedom fighter. An activist. A warrior. Under the many human values Edith encompasses- her goal remains the same until the very end- fight to restore goodness. Free spirited and positively wild, her love and connection extends towards the wider world. Willing to risk her life, this brave woman is a true heroine. I guess it must run in the family.

Joining them all together, a knitted rope- Muriel. Insightful, bold and warm, she acts as head of the clan. A charming figure, her past experiences in this world an asset to their mission of both tolerating and, seemingly impossibly, progressing. Gran’s wisdom grounds her: drawing everyone back into the terrifying reality in which they live. She takes a firm stand towards injustice in her almost apocalyptic speeches.

‘Beware of those men, jokers and tricksters, for they will laugh us into hell’.

[Muriel Deacon]

Campaigns turn into protests turn into riots… the future descends into a passionate madness

One of these tricksters being the wonderfully chilling Vivienne Rook (cast by Emma Thompson) an allegory for the state of the world around them. A brutally lethal women rises in power as half the nation stands by, silent in protest, the other half blindly cheering on her self- made ‘Four Star Party’. Ruling as queen over a mountain of controversy, Rook does not ‘give a f*ck about refugees’ living in absolute poverty, and wins the public over with her blunt truth of only wanting her bins to be taken out twice a week. A secret advocate for genocide and fundamentally egocentric, it’s clear she is what the nation want- scary, isn’t it?

Although the journey was deeply meaningful, the ending was almost over compensated, trailing off into complacency. A heart-in-the-mouth roller coaster with a cliché conclusion: everything will be just fine in the end. 

Years and Years spiked my anxiety, making me beg for humanity to open their hearts with compassion. Consequently opening of their eyes and the vacant food banks. A utopia is slipping further and further from our grasp, spilling into the puddle of the very last iceberg, flying with the last wing of the dying butterfly… who’s next?

Images were taken from BBC’s Years and Years  

©AJMwrites2019 all rights reserved


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