I’m linking here to OH’s blog about Years and Years because I think it gives an excellent summary. I usually run out of patience when I’m reviewing something because I can’t be arsed to give all the details. I’m a Gemini (not that I believe in astrology*) and Gemini is an air-sign, meaning you tend to skip over detail and just generally waft the overall picture in the direction of your readers. To be honest I don’t see anything wrong with this in the context of a blog; if I were ever to set up shop as a paid reviewer I’d have to pull up my socks, pants and garters – in fact my underwear would generally have to be overhauled – but since I write this blog primarily to interest myself and in the hope that it will similarly interest others, I can allow myself that freedom.
Basically I thought Years and Years was terrific drama, one of the best I’ve seen in a long while and I think its power stems, as OH says, from the connection to the present; that this is not happening in some indefinite future but the seeds are being sown right here and now. This is a future we are all creating at this moment with our actions. The denouement seems to be a positive one but as Edith points out there are other comedians waiting in the wings to take over. As soon as you slay one monster another arises.
*I see no reason whatever why astrology should work. Why should there be a connection between the time you were born and your character, let alone your destiny? Even though it’s explained brilliantly in this episode of Mum, I reject it utterly. This is typical of a Gemini, apparently…
Before I forget to mention it, it’s our 26th wedding anniversary today. Yes, 26 years since we were first manacled together; 26 years on which to look back and say ‘ah, how we used to laugh! Yes, but not at the same time,’ and other such slogans from the good box. Speaking of which, the daughter gave us a great gift last year of a small box filled with post-it notes, two for each year of our marriage making fifty in all. Each day for the next 25 days we were to write something positive about our relationship and put them in the box to keep. This morning I got it out again and we read through what we’d written. It was very touching, especially this from OH: ‘Sometimes we laugh at the same time.’
Ah, laughing at the same time! I remember that… tonight we’re going somewhere for a meal, either locally or in Leicester depending on the weather. But last night! Oh my god, how much good TV drama is there at the moment? You no sooner finish one series than another pops up. Killing Eve series 2 has begun and Years and Years just keeps on going, in fact the narrative pace is so fast sometimes I wish it’d slow down a bit. But I guess that’s the point; events take over and you can’t keep up with them. The Guardian describes the series as a hybrid of Bread and Black Mirror, which I think is spot-on. In this episode a bad political situation gets exponentially worse; as climate change, bad government and economic collapse combine to produce a nightmarish scenario. No-go zones are created in cities, climate refugees are billeted on those with an extra bedroom (echoes of the Bedroom Tax there) and the daughter fulfils her dream to become a cyber-being creating disturbing and dangerous possibilities akin to having Google installed in your brain. Vivian Rook is now Prime Minister (god, how brilliant is Emma Thompson!) bringing chaos to the heart of government; meanwhile Stephen, whose life has imploded, takes a job with an old ‘friend’ and gets into something deeply dodgy. On the plus side, Muriel’s macular degeneration is cured – but at a price. She can wait three years or spend the grandchildren’s inheritance. No contest, sadly.
Meanwhile back in 2019 reports of summer have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, we’ve had cold and wet Junes before in the UK but this one takes the biscuit. All jumpers put away, all slippers consigned to the cupboard, all heaters put in sheds, all boilers turned off – all this had to be reversed as daytime temperatures plummeted to 9 degrees. Nine! It seems that as well as bringing us June temperatures in February, climate change brings us February temperatures in June.
Bloody nightmare. No wonder I didn’t sleep well.
Just when you think there can’t possibly be any more TV drama quite as good as the series you’ve finished watching (and yes I know Killing Eve is coming back but you’d have to be under a rock not to know that) along comes Russell T Davies to knock you off your feet and turn you upside down and spin you round and round. Years and Years is quite simply astonishing drama. A pinch of Black Mirror, a dash of The Thick of It and oodles of what can only be called Russell-T-Daviesness, that unique quality that he brought to Dr Who and now splashes all over this slightly futuristic drama, make this highly watchable. Emma Thompson plays against type as a nasty Katie Hopkins-ish politician, part of the political backdrop to the story of the Lyons (definitely a reference there) an extended family including a left-wing political activist, a politically naive and rather annoying wheelchair-user (good to see him casting against the usual angelic type there) and a housing worker who falls in love with a Ukrainian guy. These stories of gay love, deportation, exploitation, technology and Trumpian politics take place against the backdrop of a banking crash which propels the father (Rory Kinnear) from rich householder to cycle courier forced to decamp with his family to his mother’s (Anne Reid) huge house. Two storylines culminate in a devastating denouement in episode 4 – and it’s not over yet! There are two more episodes and since they haven’t put this up as a box set we’ll have to wait. As God intended. And quite right too.
Back in what we are pleased to call the real world, the Queen must be having interesting times trying to make conversation with You Know Who. This Tangerine Nightmare is the last person anyone wants over here (except Boris – but did you see that embarrassing video they posted on Big Ben?) but he doesn’t have the sense he was born with. If you really want to take over the NHS the last thing you should do is tell everyone. Perhaps now people will wake up to what the real Brexit game is.