It has taken months and months for Australia to get the best drama of the year, but Years and Years (Wednesday on SBS) is finally here.
Creator Russell T. Davies never disappoints (the original Queer As Folk, the rebooted Dr Who) but this is his masterpiece. Set around a diverse, multi-generational family, the story begins in 2019 before then moving, year by year, into an uncertain future where populist politician Vivienne Rock (Emma Thompson) is swept to power. In other words, imagine a smarter, more dangerous version of Pauline Hanson, but better dressed and blonder.
Politics aside though, this show is more than just a warning about so-called civilised societies with a vile, violent vision for its future. That’s because Years and Years also has much to say about where technology could be leading. This is a profoundly moving production, and since watching all six episodes, I have not been able to stop thinking about it.
It seems odd that Foxtel’s “home of HBO” and BBC First both missed out on this exceptional co-production between HBO and BBC. Instead, they have Catherine The Great (Sunday on FoxShowcase), a co-production between Sky Atlantic and HBO. Dame Helen Mirren plays the controversial Empress of Russia, with supporting roles played by Aussies Jason Clarke and Richard Roxburgh. As expected with a cast like that, this is a good historical epic, but the first episode is slow, to say the least.
That’s not something you can say about Fat Pizza: Back In Business (Tuesday on 7mate) which explodes back onto screens with even more energy and riotous humour than when it first aired on SBS back in 2001.
At this point I should declare that I once played a personal trainer (who called beautiful Annalise Braakensiek a “fat bitch” before being cooked and eaten by Bernard King) and then a condom in the Fat Pizza movie (no typecasting there). Regardless, I have watched and enjoyed most of Pauly Fenech’s TV series (Swift and Shift Couriers, Bogan Hunters), stage shows and movies (which culminated in the cinema epic that was Fat Pizza vs Housos in 2014), all of which have been made on the smell of an oily rag. Respect.
How can anyone today say that political correctness has gone too far when this rude and crude comedy sends up every sexuality, disability and nationality going (with an African gang now included to keep things topical). It succeeds because it was inclusive before that was even a thing, and everyone on the show is in on the joke.
Fat Pizza’s supporting cast is still a who’s who of sports stars, singers and comedians (Anthony Mundine, Angry Anderson, Garry Who etc), while several original characters are back Sleek The Elite (Paul Nakad) and Bobo (John Boxer). There is nothing, however, more special than seeing the legendary Maria Venuti, still playing Bobo’s Mama, and still bitch slapping everyone. More please!