Years and Years: Season 1 – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

The family waiting to see if Edith's digitization was a success.
63.37% (1)

While Years and Years starts on a high note, as you grow indifferent over the future the characters go through, it pushes you to realize how complacent you’ve become of your own.


Network
HBO, BBC ONE
Creator(s) Russell T Davies
Genre(s) Drama, Horror
Good If You Like
  • Watching How A Dystopian Civilization Begins
Isn’t For You If You
  • Want A Deep Personal Connection To Characters
  • Feel You Could Grow Indifferent To Bad Things Happening
Noted Cast
Rosie Ruth Madeley
Daniel Russell Tovey
Muriel Ana Reid
Vivienne Rook Emma Thompson
Viktor Maxim Baldry
Stephen Rory Kinnear
Celeste T’Nia Miller
Edith Jessica Hynes
Ruby Jade Alleyne
Lee Callum Woolford
Lincoln Aaron Ansari
Bethany Lydia West

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Years and Years Season 1 Summary

Beginning in 2019 and ending in 2034, we join the Lyons family as they go through trials and tribulations thanks to the rise of nationalism, environmental catastrophes, immigration crisis, and so much more. All the while, in many of their personal lives, they find themselves humbled, left feeling toss aside, or enduring because suicide is something they aren’t capable of. So, instead, they struggle to find reasons to survive. Often being forced to look towards the family for motivation.

Highlights

Rosie Talking About Being “Fixed” & Her Issues With Her Dad

Rosie (Ruth Madeley) talking to a guy she fancies.
Rosie (Ruth Madeley)

Unlike most of her family, who can either be downers or, in the case of Daniel, such a fool that he makes you roll your eyes, Rosie usually is on the up and up. One could even say she acts almost as a comic relief at times. However, this isn’t to say she is a clown. In two instances, Rosie gets real with the audience, and in that, we see a different side to her.

The first time is in episode two when there are conversations about medical advancements. One of which could, for Rosie’s condition, Spina bifida, make it so she could possibly walk for long periods if not be able to need a wheelchair no longer. But, in talking about the idea of surgery, or something similar, we’re presented with a touching moment of love for oneself and acceptance of one’s person as a whole. Whether or not someone else thinks something is a flaw or an asset.

Yet, while she says that in episode two, this is followed by a breakdown in episode three in which she believes her dad left due to her being born different from her siblings. Thus not only explaining her issues with her dad but reminding you how long and how hard it must have been for her to accept she is not only different from most people, but her differences might have been a factor in her family’s dissolution.

Muriel’s Speech In Episode 6

Muriel before giving a speech to her grandchildren.

By episode 6, while you may still feel a sense of shock and horror from time to time, you may settle into the mindset of “New s***, different day.” Yet, as Muriel notes, complacency is the problem. You buy items at low prices, often without a care for the person whose wage keeps them in poverty, and that is why that item is cheap. As automation takes over, you don’t care about the jobs being lost. You barely spoke to the ticket taker, cashier, or any of those people anyway. And it is because of that general lack of community and compassion that monsters are born, can become gluttonous, and even if they die, something comes along feeding off their carcass and becoming strong enough to continue where they left off.

Low Points

Vivienne Rook Is Such A Small Part Of A Cleary Bigger Thing

Despite Emma Thompson playing the character, Vivienne Rook is such a small part of Years and Years. Then, when we actually see her engage a character, specifically Stephen, you are pushed to wonder if she is just a puppet and not the puppet master? Leading you to wonder who is behind the scenes, especially towards the end when Vivienne is running down a strange hall, and Edith swears by a conspiracy theory.

On The Fence

You May Eventually Get Used To The Worst Case Scenarios Presented

At first, the idea of America going to hell, financial markets collapsing, and environmental events is terrifying as they are likely to happen soon. However, after a certain point, you almost feel like the show is coerced into escalation and if it doesn’t up the ante, the fear dissipates, and you can easily become complacent. Which speaks a lot to how life is for many now. Yes, nationalism has made it so both sides are more aware of what is going on and perhaps politically active, but how long will it last?

Take, for example, here in America, the pursuit of gay rights. Taking note of what is said in the documentary Kiki, once white men and women got their right to marriage, they abandoned the rest of the fights to be had. So when it came to trans rights, AIDS, and issues regards those at the crossroad of dealing with homophobia and racism, they were left to fend for themselves.

Leading to the question left by the show in a way: When the monster who is the face of the oppression is gone, where will the heroes go and what will they do? Assuming if, in the first place, they were heroes or just disturbed by how drastic their life changed and not for the better.

I Won’t Say The Lyons Family Are The Easiest To Connect To

BBC One/ HBO’s Years and Years: Cast, Characters & Descriptions (with Spoilers)

Outside of Rosie, I wouldn’t say anyone in the Lyons family has the development or personality you’d want to latch onto. Muriel, while she has her moments, generally is gruff. Daniel, as he pursues Viktor all over the world to get him back into the UK, becomes such a fool you can’t help but pity him. Especially as you wonder if it is love or lust which makes him go so far? With Stephen, he is so dry that watching him likely exfoliates your face. Then, when it comes to his wife Celeste, her life is so wrapped up in reacting to him or Muriel that you barely feel like you get to know her. I mean, we don’t even see a member of her family once, and outside of one episode, maybe, they aren’t talked about either.

Continuing on, Edith is like Stephen, though her activism makes her a tad more interesting, and as for Muriel’s great grandkids? HA! Ruby and Lee we learn a few facts about, the entire season, and that’s it. Lincoln’s sole claim to fame is, thanks to Edith, they seem to discover they either like being feminine or are trans.

Leaving Bethany. At first, she seems like one of the few kids worth noting since she wants to become digital. However, while she takes steps to become so, the sci-fi element isn’t played up all that much. So while she does become useful for what Edith plans towards the end of the season, up until then it is like she is waiting on the bench, occasionally practicing her swing, just waiting to be called up.

Years and Years Season 1 Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

Lee (Callum Woolford) watching TV.
Lee (Callum Woolford)

I’d submit that maybe the point of the Lyons family being as they were was so they seemed normal and could easily be anyone. Yet, with that comes a disconnect sometimes which, as the world goes to hell, doesn’t make you worry or feel bad for them. If anything, at first, you worry about yourself and the idea this all could happen in a few years. But, as that fear wanes, you continue to watch in hopes the show may provide hope in some way. Which, it kind of does, but in a realistic fashion. That is, with every monster defeated, another waits for its turn.

Leading to why this is being given a mixed label: The good thing about this show is that it doesn’t outstay its welcome. The bad thing is, with an underwhelming set of characters, halfway through an already short season it was starting to feel like it could be a long journey. Yet, with a handful of moments towards the end worth sticking around for, Years and Years proves itself to be something to watch until the end.

Has Another Season Been Confirmed?

This is currently supposed to be a limited series, but anything can happen.

Thoughts On Another Season

This is a limited series so there won’t be another season but, if made into an anthology, I’d love to see what was going on in America with an American family. That alongside families in other major world economies.

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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 1, Episode 6 [Series Finale]The show ends at 2034 and the 5 years covered bring about drastic change not just for the Lyons family but also the UK – can you guess how?
Director(s) Lisa Mulcahy
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Air Date 6/18/2019
Introduced This Episode
Lincoln Aiden Li
Yvonne Zita Sattar
  • 2029
  • The Fall of Rook’s Government: Edith, Bethany, Viktor, Yvonne, Celeste, Muriel, Stephen, Rosie, Vivienne, Yvonne
  • 2030 and Beyond: Edith, Bethany, Vivienne, Rosie, Stephen, Lincoln
Season 1, Episode 5We reach the year 2028 and between a housing crisis, floods, and more, so comes the question of how will Vivienne Rook handle it all?
Director(s) Lisa Mulcahy
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Air Date 6/11/2019
Introduced This Episode
Woody Kiernan O’Brien
  • Welcome to 2028
  • As It All Goes To Hell: Muriel, Celeste, Bethany, Stephen, Rosie
  • The Erstwhiles, Revenge, Following Precedents: Stephen, Vivienne, Bethany, Viktor, Edith, Woody
Season 1, Episode 4After a rather tame episode 3, things ramp up more, and on top of revolutions, there is a death on the show.
Director(s) Simon Cellan Jones
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Air Date 6/4/2019
Introduced This Episode
Fran Sharon Duncan-Brewster
Jonjo George Bukhari
  • And The World Continues To Implode
  • Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures: Rosie, Jonjo, Edith, Fran, Daniel, Viktor
  • Karma Strikes: Stephen, Celeste, Muriel, Daniel, Viktor
Season 1, Episode 1 [Series Premiere]Years and Years may potentially be one of the most memorable shows of the summer, if not the year.
Creator(s) Russell T Davies
Director(s) Simon Cellan Jones
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Air Date 5/14/2019
Genre(s) Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Good If You Like Seeing How The Present Becomes a Dystopic Future

Shows Focused On A Family Vs. A Bunch Of Disconnected Characters

Political Satire

Isn’t For You If You Want To Watch Something Optimistic About The Future
Introduced This Episode
Rosie Ruth Madeley
Daniel Russell Tovey
Stephen Rory Kinnear
Lincoln Aaron Ansari
Celeste T’Nia Miller
Bethany Lydia West
Ruby Jade Alleyne
Vivienne Emma Thompson
Ralph Dino Fetscher
Muriel Anne Reid
Edith Jessica Hynes
Lee Callum Woolford
Season 1, Episode 2After the events of the last episode, bad turns worse as the US spirals, the world heads towards authoritarianism, and yet another crisis.
Director(s) Simon Cellan Jones
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Air Date 5/21/2019
Introduced This Episode
Viktor Maxim Baldry
  • The Bad News Is: Bethany, Celeste
  • Roll Back The Clock: Viktor, Ralph, Daniel, Edith, Muriel, Celeste
  • A Humbling Experience: Celeste, Stephen, Vivienne
Season 1, Episode 3The rest of the world is set aside as we come upon 2026 and between a death in the family, elections, and grave mistakes, the Lyons family are dealing with a lot.
Director(s) Simon Cellan Jones
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Air Date 5/28/2019
Introduced This Episode
Lizzie Shannon Hayes
Elaine Rachel Logan
Steven Craig Gazey
  • The Year Changes, But Things Remain The Same: Edith, Stephen, Celeste, Ruby, Lincoln
  • Like Father, Like Sons: Steven, Elaine, Stephen, Viktor, Daniel, Rosie, Edith
  • What A Wonderful World: Lizzie, Bethany, Vivienne, Celeste

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