Millions of people are watching Emma Thompson's terrifying new TV show, Years and Years.

In 2019, the world’s already a scary place.

Climate change, wars, political scandal, refugee crises – it’s pretty grim.

But if we continue on this current trajectory, it’s likely to get much worse. That’s what one of 2019’s best new TV series makes very clear.

Check out the Years and Years trailer. Post continues below video.

Video by SBS

I began watching British six-part series Years and Years on a flight across the Tasman and upon landing, having only made it halfway through, I frantically Googled how I could watch the rest of it in Australia. I couldn’t.

I’d already told everyone in my life to watch it ASAP so that left me in a bit of a pickle. Then, just a few days later, I received an email letting me know that it was coming to SBS from November. Phew.

Years and Years follows a pretty ordinary Manchester family, the Lyons, beginning on one crucial night in 2019. Then we watch their lives play out over the next 15 years, against a backdrop full of absolutely terrifying technological advancement, nuclear threats, immigration issues and Trump-esque politics in the UK.

years and years
Image: Supplied/SBS.

It's like Coronation Street meets Black Mirror, which is perhaps the weirdest mashup you can imagine, but it works.


Each episode progresses over a couple of years, and watching it, the scariest thing for me was just how realistic it was.

Years and Years doesn't display future society as a totally dystopian hellhole. In fact, a lot of it is recognisable. There's a very helpful home assistant, like Alexa, but better, yearly get-togethers at Grandmas, and a myriad of typical family and relationship issues to work through.

The UK is dealing with the very soggy effects of climate change, an influx of refugees from Ukraine, and a failing economy.

There's no flying cars, but there is a way to implant a phone chip in your hand. The changes feel subtle enough to be believable, coming to what feel like inevitable conclusions based on the world today.

years and years
Image: Supplied/SBS.

There's also Emma Thompson. And anything with Emma Thompson in it is worth watching.

She plays Vivienne Rook, a populist politician who takes approximately 200 leaves out of President Donald Trump's book.

She starts off as a laughable, controversial-for-the-sake-of-it figure, declaring she "couldn't give a f*ck" about the conflict between Israel and Palestine on national TV, causing outrage.

Everyone shrugs her off to begin with, but the wealthy businesswoman positions herself as a "women of the people" and prides herself on saying what others can't, or just won't, leading to a rapid rise in power. Familiar?

years and years
Image: Supplied/SBS.

The series sounds very doom and gloom, doesn't it? And I know that we're all pretty keen to reach for things that help us escape from society, but I swear: you need to give it a chance.

The premise is bleak, but the story is not totally hopeless.

years and years
Image: Supplied/SBS.

Sure, the world is falling in around them, but the Lyons family also deliver a heap of lovely, fun and laugh-out-loud moments. The world throws a lot - and I mean a lot - of crap at them, but despite it all, they just keep plodding along.

It's interesting to imagine how you'd react if you found out your entire life savings were wiped out by a banking collapse in the space of eight hours, a patrolled fence was put up around your housing estate, or your activist sister returns after narrowly missing a nuclear blast.

Years and Years is equal parts terrifying and touching. I have absolutely no idea how it's going to end, but you bet I'll be watching to find out.

Years and Years airs Wednesdays 9.30pm on SBS and on SBS On Demand.