Years and Years – The future is now

Broadcast last spring in the UK then the US,
this warning British tv-show is coming on Canal +.
A show you should watch if you don’t want to miss the future.

By Perrine Quennesson

Reading time 4 min.

Years and years


Years and Years could be summed up to a mix between the familial This is Us and the dystopian Black Mirror. But the show is far more complex than this. Produced by BBC, with a little help from HBO, the Russel T Davies series (who previously made the gay tv-show Queer as Folk), focuses on the Lyons family living in Manchester during the year 2019. Daniel is about to marry Ralph, Stephen and Celeste, his brother and wife, worry for their daughters, their sister Rosie is looking for the next man of her life while the other sister, Edith, is engaging in humanitarian causes. Theirs parents are dead but the grand-mother Muriel is still watching over them. The usual family… Meanwhile, the controversial politician Vivienne Rook is more and more exposed.

The tv-show is quite pro-technology
as long as you know how to use it

Right after introducing the characters, the show forwards to 2024. From then, each episode jumps a year to end in 2029 for the great final. But it is more anticipation than science-fiction. Inspired by our world, Years and Years tries successfully to imagine tomorrow’s. And it is not pleasing : economic, migration and climate crisis… Reality strikes you, seeming inevitable. Far-fetched and alarmist ? The news prove the opposite : Vivienne Rook, like a crossover between Donald Drumpf, Marine Le Pen and Boris Johnson, performed by the immense Emma Thompson, becomes the UK prime minister  in the 2020’s. Released in June on BBC, Boris Johnson moved to Downing Street in July. As it actually goes faster than expected, the show really gives you the impression to watch a documentary from the future.

Everything is not all dark though. The Lyons could be anyone, far from superheroes, more like a Doe Family enduring the world they unknowingly conceive through their vote. Emotions pass through the highly likable characters of this family. With them, we question ourselves about the great deals of our time : transhumanism, family structures, the growing importance of technology in our everyday lives… The series also approaches social matters with an unexpected angle. It is especially striking when the audience starts following migrants, becoming them. It reminds us that the feeling of safety we live in could quickly change without us lifting a finger.

There is also hope in Years and Years, the future Vivienne describes being realistic, even concrete, it is actually not a fatality. For instance, the show happens to be, unlike Black Mirror, quite pro-technology, as long as you know how to use it.  Great tv-show about individual responsibility leading to collective one, Years and Years exhorts us to help each other and to be suspicious of nowadays clowns.

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