With so many top quality TV shows available to us in such high volume, it’s only natural that we simply don’t have time to watch them all. It’s a lovely problem to have, but it is still a problem.
Between that and the modern urge to binge-watch rather than stick to a one episode per week viewing schedule, it becomes very easy to forget about certain shows.
Before it was broadcast, I became aware of Years And Years, the latest BBC Drama from the pen of ex-Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T. Davies. I had every intention of watching and yet I forgot, until after the last episode was screened.
Had it not been for some articles appearing on my social media feeds about it, the chances are it would have just passed me by completely.
But thankfully, those articles did remind me, and over three nights, I watched all six episodes.
And I’m so glad I did.
Years And Years Review: What’s It About?
Starting in 2019 with the birth of one of their own, it’s about the Lyons family from Manchester and how all their lives progress over the next 15 years, in the face of technological advancements and a changing socio-political environment.
Years And Years Review: Who’s In It?
Oh it’s a who’s who of British TV stars, many of whom have previously worked with RTD on other projects, including of course, Doctor Who. There’s Russell Tovey, Rory Kinnear, Anne Reid, Jessica Hynes, Emma Thompson and many more.
Years And Years Review: Is It Any Good?
Considering the talent involved it’ll come as no surprise that I enjoyed it; in fact, I thought it was very good, and even a little bit worrying.
By that, I mean it pulls no punches about where our society currently is and how easily things could change for the worse.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone yet to see it, but RTD takes a very ‘Worst Case Scenario’ view in his writing about how things may change in the near future, with global conflicts, economic unrest, refugee crises, food shortages and on a UK level, how easy it would be for the public to be caught up in the cult of personality with our politics.
It makes for very dark viewing, but it’s entertaining and hopefully wakes some people up to the dangers that – as a result of their votes in future elections and/or referendums – they could prevent in the future.
If I was to criticise the show, it would be for two things…
The first is that I think it’s maybe one episode too long. While each member of the Lyons family has their own story that unfolds over the 15 years, they all sag a little bit at different points. I think that if I hadn’t binge-watched the show, and instead had kept to one episode per week, I might have got a little frustrated by the pace in the middle.
The second is that the last episode became maybe too detached from reality and instead felt like a season finale of Doctor Who. Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining, but it goes back to that ‘Punch-the-air-tastic’, “Everybody lives, Rose!!” style of Doctor Who writing that in this show felt a but far fetched. You could have easily imagined David Tennant’s Doctor taking the place of Jessica Hynes character at the detention centre, for example.
But those are mild criticisms, and there was plenty about Years and Years that did hit the target. For example, I loved that the advancements in technology were presented as having happened, but not in such a way that the show became about them. I also thought the little nods to the changes in how and what we’ll be eating were brought in.
Most of all though – and again I’m keen not to spoil anything – I enjoyed the development of the relationship between Celeste and Murial. The way it completely changed over the course of the series summed up RTD’s strength as a writer. It was subtle, but heart-warmingly executed.
On the whole then, if you’ve not seen it, then make sure you do, and if you have seen it, did you agree with me?
As always, any opinions are welcome.