Lifelines (Cyswllt): An intimate Welsh slice-of-life drama offering a snapshot of life under lockdown now streaming in the U.S. and Canada on MHz Choice!

Lifelines is a time capsule, perhaps to the fullest extent of the definition, with cameras rolling concurrent to when the series is set in April 2020. And “cameras” is a loose term since the actors filmed themselves at home with phones and laptops as scripts were being written almost in real time. This is all in the name of capturing a more intimate mini-set of stories unfolding within the larger elephant-in-the-room drama of COVID-19 lockdown. The cast itself is brilliant and features Mark Lewis Jones and Catherine Ayers who also star together in Living a Lie.

Set among an interconnected group of characters during the first two months of the pandemic in Wales, we get the closest of close-ups of their lives. Sisters connecting with an estranged father. Anniversaries and pending births celebrated. Work gossip discussed. Councilors encouraging their patients. Parents comforting their grown children. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, with incredibly relatable laments about not caring how productive some mutual acquaintances have been during lockdown (We don’t care what color you painted your damn bathroom!).

In the end, Lifelines is a weirdly hopeful series – especially from our view here in 2022. It’s quite a wonder without the writers or actors knowing how long lockdowns would be or how long the pandemic would last, that the stories portrayed are captivating enough to drown out the fear and anxiety we can all assume was there. It’s a bit like eavesdropping on someone else’s life from that time. It may be too soon for some to wander back into early 2020, but it certainly is compelling.

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