Why you should be watching Twenties
Helen Archer | On 25, Oct 2020
BBC Three have recently been hitting the sweet spot with their female-led acquisitions. From Fleabag through to Shrill and the recent Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, Lena Waithe’s new series Twenties fits nicely into a growing portfolio of millennial comedy-drama.
Based on a 2013 semi-autobiographical web series, the programme follows Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs), who, along with her friends Marie (Christina Elmore) and Nia (Gabrielle Graham) are navigating life in their 20s. If that sounds a little ‘been there, done that’, what sets this programme apart from so many before it is not only the razor-sharp script, but the new perspective of the main character, a queer Black woman.
While the pilot for the series sees Hattie broke and homeless, with no solid prospects, the series quickly takes us to unexpected places. This is very much an aspirational Hollywood story. Marie is already established in her career as a film executive, while Nia is a yoga teacher with latent aspirations to be an actress. Together, they form a well-connected group trying to break into the big time.
Which all seems a little hard to relate to, but it’s also strangely refreshing to see young women ditch the ‘loser’ mentality and reach for the stars. The writing is whip-smart, exploring modern quandaries with a lightness of touch which belie their import. It’s also stylistically very beautiful, with Hollywood lit up like a beacon as a backdrop to the drama, and the characters positively glowing in loving close-ups. The soundtrack choices only add to the hipness of the whole affair. There are a few guest appearances, and the supporting cast are fascinating characters in their own right, creating a universe which is enticingly Black-female led. A new series has thankfully been commissioned – and this feels like a programme which could, and should, run and run.
Twenties is available on BBC iPlayer until December 2022
This short review was originally published as part of a fortnightly BBC Three reviews column.