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New BBC Series Explores Dystopian Future After Brexit and Trump

Years & Years premieres June 24 on HBO. Created by Russell T. Davies and starring Emma Thompson, Anne Reid and Rory Kinnear, Years & Years is an epic saga that takes an ordinary family and catapults them through the next 15 years.
Years & Years premieres June 24 on HBO. Created by Russell T. Davies and starring Emma Thompson, Anne Reid and Rory Kinnear, Years & Years is an epic saga that takes an ordinary family and catapults them through the next 15 years. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

“Years and Years” is described as a parable for those who oppose Brexit, Donald Trump, and lament the “tolerant, democratic, globalized social order of the late 20th century that is collapsing around them.”

The new BBC series “Years and Years” is being described as a near-future dystopia that reflects the current political and social climates of Britain and the U.S.

Written by Russell T. Davies (“Doctor Who,” “Torchwood”, “Queer as Folk”), the new six-episode limited series debuted on HBO this week in the U.S. It has already aired in the United Kingdom.

Set in Manchester and seen through the lens of an extended family, the Lyons, the series begins in 2019 and leaps several years ahead to find the world affected by conservative nationalist movements and a second term from President Donald Trump.

Each episode propels the family a year or two ahead (ultimately stopping at 15 years), depicting how “as society changes at an ever-increasing pace, the Lyons family experiences everything we hope for in the future, and everything we fear,” according to HBO‘s website.

Subsequent storylines that emerge from this new world order include bank failures, international tensions, radioactive pollution and anti-gay legislation, which affects a gay member of the Lyons family, played by Russell Tovey.

A highly symbolic plot includes a celebrity turned political demagogue, Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson), who propels herself to national prominence in the U.K. by saying outlandish things, no doubt paralleling what has happened in the U.S. Subsequently, the Lyons family is divided in their allegiance to the new politician.

Reviews have been mostly positive, commenting on how the series is an obvious meditation on the consequences of Brexit, the 2016 U.S. election, Europe’s refugee crisis, and political figures such as Vladimir Putin.

More discerning reviews have cautioned the ideology of futuristic storytelling, stating that “speculative fiction usually tells us more about the present than the future.”

“Years and Years” is described as mostly a liberal parable for those who oppose Brexit, Donald Trump, and lament the “tolerant, democratic, globalized social order of the late 20th century that is collapsing around them.”

The new series has also been compared to Netflix series “Black Mirror”, which explores the impact of new technologies on modern society, which will be explored in the new HBO series as well.

“Years and Years” premiered June 24 on HBO, and will air new episodes every Monday at 9 p.m. Pacific Time.

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