This entry contains Full spoiler for years and years which broadcast their final on HBO tonight.
Years and Years a limited-edition series that presents the next 15 years of life in an increasingly dystopian vision of England and around the world was aired in the UK a few days before its premiere. The series by Russell T. Davies, largely inspired by the anger over Brexit, was not long in coming when Boris Johnson, the Brexit's best cheerleader, was elected Prime Minister last week. Johnson has more of a political background than years and years "fictional detestability against a prime minister, Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson), but moreover he is most of what Davies warns about television in those six hours.
And they are often brutal six hours to sit through. Davie's vision of the future is relentless, including a second term for the Trump administration, a nuclear strike against China, global financial disasters, authoritarian riots, and more. All of this seems absolutely plausible, since Davies simply recreates the slow-motion characteristics of tragedies that are already happening and shaking off in the present. Every day brings a new horror, and we grimace and move on because so many are coming. Or maybe because, like the fictitious Lyons family in the series, we're in the pot like the proverbial frog and the temperature is rising so slowly that we do not realize it's deadly until it's too late to protest. The peculiarities of Davies' predictions ̵
The Lyons clan proves one of the two notable mistakes of the miniseries. Davies and his team have assembled a massive cast, including Russell Tovey as Daniel, a Manchester official who falls in love with Ukrainian refugee Viktor (Maxim Baldry). Rory Kinnear as Stephen, a financier who loses everything in one of the accidents; and Jessica Hynes as Edith, a political activist who witnesses the nuclear detonation. But the characters feel thin about these strong performances. Her various problems – Stephen goes bankrupt, Viktor is deported to his increasingly dangerous and homophobic homeland, Rosie's neighborhood is subject to draconian new regulations – are designed to give a human face to the political issues that dramatize Davies. But apart from the Danny / Victor romance, in which Danny drowns and tries to cross the English Channel on a raft of undocumented immigrants, they have the opposite of the intended effect. Stephens bankruptcy is presented in such a strange way – he moves his money only in the morning, he tells his bewildered wife Celeste (Tia Nia Miller), which is why he left the entire proceeds of the sale of their home in a single account just before the collapse of this bank overnight – that it reduces a global financial disaster to a stubborn mistake of a complacent idiot.
There are also regular trips to the land of Black Mirror as Stephen and Celestes daughter Bethany Lydia West) decides that she is "transhuman" and dreams of one day putting her entire consciousness on the Internet. Black Mirror Charlie Brooker certainly has no copyright in warning of technological co-dependency in the near future. But the subplot of Bethany often had the impression that it exists in a different series than, for example, the one in which Edith explores what Rook's government is up to.
Bethany, however, proves to be crucial to the climax of the series – and the other big mistakes. Stephen, overwhelmed by the grief over his brother's death, cruelly relocated Viktor to one of the concentration camps set up by the Rook Administration. Bethany finds it out with her new technological implants, and she and Edith team up not only to rescue Victor, but also to reveal the horrors of these places to the whole forgetful country. The plan is perfect: Viktor is liberated, the camps are closed, Rook is arrested (and there are conspiracy theories about what happens to her), and although the world is not fixed, there is at least hope again. The sibling's grandmother, Muriel (Anne Reid), observes another political opportunist who runs for office, uncomfortable – Rook in various packaging – but a dying Edith, who suffers from cancer from the radiation she has suffered, paints for the most part the nightmarish vision of the series in the past tense as something that happened and ended gratefully. "We lived through it," she says. "That's all."
Both the conclusion of the main story and the epilogue with Edith work on Davies' side like a nerve failure. In the time since the program aired in America, we've seen news material and photos of the camps run by the Trump administration along our southern border. They are disgusting on a scale in which people are almost comfortable in years and at the same time, reporting has no bearing on the survival of the camp. Sunlight has not proven to be a disinfectant for Davies, and others promise that this will always be the case. The idea that things can largely normalize after our present misfortune is certainly not impossible. But at the end of a show that was systematically as unscrupulous as our world collapses and can collapse over the next decade and a half, the most optimistic ending sounds very wrong.
It's easy to understand where Davies is from. These are such dark times that you can not hold him or others responsible for our better natures triumphing over the selfish amorality of this current political moment. And years and years do not end only with sunshine and rainbows: Notre Dame is restored, but the Leaning Tower of Pisa collapses, and the last scene leaves it unclear whether Edith's ghost was successfully digitized before her death. Still, it felt like the show was finally going to collapse, as if I had finally gotten used to the grim, but believable vision of what we all face.