2019 has been a strong year for television from and about Wales, and the critics at Wales Arts Review have picked the best five of the year. Included is a new dystopic drama from Russell T. Davies, a new dystopic drama from Alan Harris, a heartwarming community film from Steve Swindon, a heartwarming story of community from Sebastian Bruno and David Barnes, and a gut-wrenching dramatisation of the Aberfan disaster from Netflix.
Years And Years (BBC One; dir. Simon Cellan Jones) – “There is a Kubrikian relish to the storytelling, although this is much simpler stuff when it comes to any attempts at philosophising. We are all stupider, after all.”
The Left Behind (BBC Three; dir. Joseph Bullman) – “The collaboration of director Joseph Bullman and writer Alan Harris works brilliantly to bring this bleak reality of Britain to the fore. What we glimpse is a small shaft of light into the unseen neoliberal Britain, and onto our own prejudices.”
British Winters (TAPE/ Amazon Video; dir. Steve Swindon) – “It is fair to say that there are not too many feature films made in Wales, fewer in North Wales and fewer still which offer rolling opportunities to be a hands-on part of the production both on-screen and behind the scenes.”
The Dynamic Duo (Birdhouse FIlms/ BBC Wales; dirs. Sebastian Bruno and David Barnes) – “BBC Wales has a responsibility to commission programmes that tell the story of Wales. Nothing they have commissioned in recent years comes as close to doing this as The Dynamic Duo, a warm, respectful, funny, poignant, and sensitive portrait of two men who love their town.”
The Crown – Aberfan (Netflix; dir. Benjamin Caron) – “It is literate, bold, and believes first and foremost in its message, a message that goes far beyond those poor people of Aberfan, but a message for which they are a symbol. The fifty five minutes of drama that make up this Aberfan episode is quite simply the best thing that has been done on the subject.”
Join us on December 20th when we announce our number one choice for 2019 in Welsh television and film.