A powerful political leader who stokes anti-immigrant fears and weaponizes an increasingly polarized community? Where have we heard that before? Years & Years may be a new HBO limited series that depicts a dystopian near-future in which Emma Thompson plays a charming and controversial government leader who threatens to tear Britain apart, but it feels alarmingly relevant to today’s political landscape. The limited series even begins in 2019, before venturing decades into the future to examine what those dangerous policies have wrought.
Years and Years Trailer
It just goes to show what hellish times we live in that for the first 10 seconds of this trailer, I couldn’t tell if this was a true story or not. I don’t know enough about British politics to comment on that, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Years & Years were a not-so subtle commentary on Brexit. However, when Thompson’s politician proposes that all voters take an IQ test, it’s a jarringly similar proposition to the voter ID wars begin waged in U.S. government politics.
But then Thompson’s Vivienne Rook whips out some glowing device and that’s when Years & Years starts to feel like a Black Mirror episode, complete with terrifying real-life Snapchat filters (which I could totally see happening in the future) and strange devices implanted in people’s palms. The story unfolds through the eyes of the four siblings in the Lyons family: Stephen (Rory Kinnear) and his wife Celeste (T’Nia Miller), who try to make a life for themselves while living at the center of the storm in London; Daniel (Russell Tovey) a gay housing officer who wonders what this means for him and his partner; Edith (Jessica Hynes) and Rosie (Ruth Madeley), the youngest siblings who are attempting to achieve normalcy as the world around them changes to frightening degree.
The show debuted in the U.K. earlier this week and will run through mid-June, finishing right as it makes its way over to HBO. The six-part series was created and written by Russell T. Davies, a former showrunner of Doctor Who whose Golden Globe-nominated A Very English Scandal debuted on Amazon Prime Video last year.
Here is the synopsis for Years & Years:
Created by Russell T. Davies and starring Emma Thompson, Anne Reid and Rory Kinnear, Years & Years is an epic saga that takes an ordinary family and catapults them through the next 15 years. As society changes, faster than ever, the Lyons will experience everything we hope for in the future, and everything we fear. They’ll fall in and out of love, and grow old, fall apart and come back together, while constantly looking forward.
Years & Years premieres on HBO on June 24, 2019.
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