A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Years and Years is a topical family drama set in the near future. It has some science fiction elements, but could be classified as "speculative fiction" alongside similar shows like The Handmaid's Tale and Black Mirror. The show looks at current political and cultural issues in England (where it's based) and globally, and imagines how they will have played out five years from now. These issues include technology, social media, politics, environmental issues, the refugee crisis and nuclear war. The result is a complex and thoughtful show that deals almost exclusively with adult themes, though some mature teens may be interested.
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What's the story?
In YEARS AND YEARS, the extended Lyons family grapples with political, social, and technological issues that affect them on a daily basis in the year 2024. Stephen and Celeste's daughter is obsessed with cutting-edge technology; Daniel becomes infatuated with one of the refugees he works with; Rosie raises two children as a single mother with spina bifida; Edith is a well-known activist who travels throughout the world; and matriarch Muriel just wants everyone to get together once a year for her birthday.
Is it any good?
More than any other show in recent memory, this series is wildly ambitious with its content: in fact, it attempts to confront just about every meaningful contemporary cultural and political issue within the confines of its six-episode run. What's even wilder is that it mostly succeeds in maintaining a unique and intriguing point-of-view while tying its sprawling, ambitious subject matter to gentle, human family conflict. One drawback: since it's a heavily idea-driven show, there's not really a single relatable character to experience the turbulent future through. In this way, Years and Years can sometimes feel more like an interesting experiment more than a compelling drama, but it would be tough to find a show with more to say about the present and the future.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the future. How does Years and Years take things that are happening in our current culture and speculate on how they will evolve years from now? Do you agree with any of the directions it predicts for the future? Which do you disagree with?
What are the current political and cultural issues that Years and Years grapples with? How does the show's depiction of these issues affect your understanding of them?
What are some differences between British and American culture? What are some similarities? Does anything on this show remind you of something happening in America? How? Do you think some of the events would be different if the show took place in America?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love drama
Themes & Topics
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