Sunday 25 August 2019

Streaming or on cable or TV at some stage and now on British DVD - YEARS AND YEARS written by Russell T Davies (BBC/HBO, UK, 2019)

Click on this link for the trailer
A six-part series made by the two behemoths of modern day English-language drama, HBO and the BBC, Years and Years sets itself in the near-future following the chaos caused by someone unknown nuking one of those artificial islands China is building in the South China Sea.

The chaos is not just the physical, which soon comes to be mostly ignored, but the political in Britain where the government responds in a way that would make it seem they have got hold of the Scott Morrison Peter Dutton Michael Pezzullo Handbook of how to exploit people's fear of the unknown, the strange, the exotic.  The countries of Europe are bunging ever more refugees and immigrants into concentration camps. Soon, in a lot of places, the age old hatreds of gays comes to the forefront and illiberal nations are persecuting that minority as well, to the apparent general approval of the populace.

More background comes in the form of  general employment conditions closely akin to those regularly exposed at 7-11, Domino's Pizza, Uber, Deliveroo and others. There are no labour unions, Ph.D's are working on factory floors and banks regularly collapse. A few rebellious and subversive spirits survive.

All of these impact in some way or other on a family of four brothers and sisters, their partners and lovers, a grandmother and two teenage daughters, one of whom has implanted her telephone into her fingertips. Fingertips are in fact a common feature of the series for they are the required form of identification along with breath, the latter being able to avoided by some unspecified dental work and the chewing of mints. The family are forced into closer contact as events, personal and political, overwhelm them.

Early on each of the four brothers and sisters has faced a disaster. The eldest son Stephen loses his house in bank collapse. The second son, following his same sex marriage, then falls for a Ukrainian refugee who is breaching his visa conditions by working in a gas station; the eldest sister sailed too close to the nuclear explosion and is slowly dying from the radiation and the youngest sister, a spina bifida sufferer and mother of two by different absent fathers, loses her job but is rejuvenated when, unlike the rest of the family, she joins the ten per cent of the population who support a plausible but ignorant populist politician, played as far more likable by Emma Thompson than Pauline Hanson can play her own idiotic and vulgar public persona.

The recognition factor is high and you might easily suspect that Russell T Davies has a big collection of newspaper  and video clippings of a host of egregious and self-serving acts performed by current politicians, bureaucrats and intelligence agencies all over the world, all the better to cower and intimidate the citizenry.

At one point someone remarks on the golden age of democracy and how its now gone, replaced by a far more malevolent and repressive system of politics and government. No one seemed to notice it happening until it was too late.

The series went out on the BBC in May and is now out on DVD in Britain.

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