Years and years series review: “this is the world we built” | LeMagduCine

Definitely, the series of the year 2019 like to show us the end of the world. This allows us to show the state of our current fears. Fear of nuclear power that gave us Chernobyl Where Dark. Fear of the socio-economic-political Apocalypse of our Western world in the British series Years and yearsby Russell T. Davies (creator of Torchwood, queer as folk…).

Literally, it can be said that Years and years is a series of anticipation, in the sense that the writers took the current social, political and geopolitical situations and imagined what it will be like in 5 to 10 years. The series begins in 2024 and each episode takes place in a different year. This makes it possible to see the evolution of the situation over the long term, and to show how small choices, minimal renunciations can have disproportionate consequences.

Years and years invites us to follow the Lyons family, a family of the good English bourgeoisie. And each member of the family will allow us to develop one of the aspects of this agonizing future.

Thus, with Daniel, we explore the increasingly tense situation of migrants. Daniel Lyons works for Manchester Housing Services, a job that brings him into contact with the many migrants who arrive in England from the most dangerous areas of the planet. He will thus meet Viktor, a Ukrainian who had to flee his country. Over the course of the episodes, Daniel and Viktor will be the victims of migration policies and of these conflicts that put human beings in situations as absurd as they are dangerous, at the mercy of unscrupulous smugglers or xenophobic governments.

Throughout the six episodes that make up the series, we witness the irresistible rise of Vivienne Rook, demagogue politician whose character seems to be a mixture of Nigel Farage and Matteo Salvini. Each intervention is deliberately shocking, to prove that it does not belong to the usual political class. She claims to speak in the name of the people by saying aloud what many would think quietly, and claims to be close to the people. In this name, she proposes solutions that endanger democratic practice (such as passing an Intelligence Quotient test before giving the right to vote). Increasingly popular, she even seduces several members of the Lyons family, such as Rosie and Edith.

Stephen, meanwhile, allows the series to focus on social downgrading. Having an excellent financial situation, he will lose everything in an instant in the collapse of the banks and find himself in the case of an “überized” worker, obliged to accumulate up to 11 underpaid mini-jobs in order to be able to survive. And accept everything, even humiliation, to get a job.

New technologies have become more and more important, all members are permanently connected to each other, and communicate above all by audio-conferences. But Bethany, one of Stephen’s daughters, wants to go further: fanatic of the virtual world, she wants to make her life there. She declares herself to be trans-human and wishes to abandon her body or, at worst, improve it by a whole series of computer processes. Which will not only have advantages.

Clearly, the world of the future as seen by the creators of Years and years Is dark. Climate change, unilateral nuclear attack, collapse of the Western democratic model, everything comes together to describe a scary future.

Certainly, we must not forget two or three lighter scenes, even frankly funny (see what Edith does with the remains of her father…). And these many moments of life which are so many poses in the unfolding of events: family reunions, moments of intimacy… The characters are all perfectly drawn, characterized, they are endearing, complex and never caricatural. The interpretation is remarkable, full of finesse and intensity. The rhythm is very fast thanks to the multiple situations and the carefully arranged ellipses.

The major subject of the series is finally revealed in its last episode, during a memorable speech by the grandmother, Muriel: the theme of personal commitment. What do we do when our country, our culture is collapsing before our eyes? What are we doing to prevent illiberal governments from taking power? What are we trying to ensure that our country does not move away from its democratic values? Muriel shows that the choices we have to make are not only made in the voting booth at election time: changing the world is also done through our consumption choices, our daily actions, our way of expressing our possible refusals.

When Stephen is looking for a new, more stable and better paid job, his employer says he only wants “a minion who says yes all the time”. And Stephen forces himself to swallow his personal opinions and, worse, what he knows to be true, in order to comply with the demands of his boss. In no way does the series condemn this perfectly understandable attitude. But this is to illustrate the idea that democracies crumble because we let it happen. The Vivienne Rooks (Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban and others) only profit from their ability to lead a socio-political discontent that everyone buys into at one time or another (Edith, great political activist and fighter for human rights man, however declares that she supports Rook because she will bring down English democracy).

Considered too alarmist by some, Years and years presents, however, an unfortunately realistic situation and forces us to face the possible consequences of our current decisions. It questions us about our attachment to the democratic and human model of the West, so abused these days.

Years and years: trailer

Years and years: technical sheet

Creator and Screenwriter: Russell T. Davies
Directed by: Simon Cellan Jones, Lisa Mulcahy
Cast: Anne Reid (Muriel Deacon), Rory Kinnear (Stephen Lyons), T’Nia Miller (Celeste Bisme-Lyons), Lydia West (Bethany Bisme-Lyons), Ruth Madeley (Rosie Lyons), Jessica Hynes (Edith Lyons), Russell Tovey (Daniel Lyons), Emma Thompson (Vivienne Rook)
Music: Murray Gold
Cinematography: Tony Slater Ling, Stephen Murphy
Editing: Billy Sneddon, Jonathan Lucas
Production: Jonathan Leather
Production Company: Red Production Company
Distribution company: BBC
Genre: drama
Number of episodes: 6
Length of an episode: 58 minutes

United Kingdom – 2019

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Years and years series review: “this is the world we built” | LeMagduCine


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