• People are comparing the coronavirus pandemic to the plot of SBS series 'Years and Years'. (HBO, SBS)Source: HBO, SBS
"It's a UK show about societal collapse coming to rich countries."
Samuel Leighton-Dore

16 Mar 2020 - 11:00 AM  UPDATED 16 Mar 2020 - 11:06 AM

Family members crowding around a laptop on the dining table, waiting for news updates on a global crisis.

That's just one of the take-away images from SBS series Years and Years to have become all-too familiar around the world in recent days and weeks, as people begin to bunker down in an attempt to "flatten the curve" of the coronavirus spread.

The Russell T. Davies series, which premiered on SBS late last year, is a somewhat dystopian (although, seemingly less so the longer time goes on) drama which has been likened to a more realistic - and therefore more terrifying - version of Black Mirror.

The critically acclaimed six-part series, starring all-round icon Emma Thompson, is set in 2019 Britain and follows its central characters through until 2034 - giving viewers a bleak glimpse at some of the challenges humanity might be forced to confront over the coming decades.

In the series, Donald Trump has just won a second term, the US has launched a missile, the international refugee crisis is worsening, and panic around the climate crisis is escalating. Not only that, but technology has reached the point where phones have become 'skin plants' and humans are able to download their bodies to 'the cloud' as data, becoming trans-human.

While the show doesn't focus directly on the threat of pandemics, it is a sobering portrait of a first world country's response to societal collapse - and, with growing confusion and hysteria around national responses to COVID-19, some viewers are having trouble forgetting it.

"I’m not the only one who’s been thinking about HBO’s Years and Years during this whole thing, right?" One social media user tweeted.

Another Twitter user wrote: "So no one should watch HBO's "Years and Years" this week, probably."

They added: "It's a UK show about societal collapse coming to rich countries. Through the eyes of a family going through it."

Other disaster-themed shows and movies people are watching, or deliberately avoiding, include Chernobyl, Contagion, Handmaid's Tale, and Black Mirror.

You can watch Years and Years now on SBS On Demand.

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