Skins!

Feb. 24th, 2010 04:05 pm
meddow: Lix Storm (Default)
[personal profile] meddow
I have fallen in love with Skins. This is a big deal because I hate teen dramas. I loathe them with every fibre of my being. Of course, there always have been exceptions, I loved Roswell back in the day (but the sci-fi gave it a pass, and it was written by the guy who later did BSG) and Popular (which was deliberately subversive of the genre), and I watch Glee. But generally, I hate teen dramas.

Really the thought pattern for me even watching Skins was because it hired both Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison (who turns up in the forth series), and I figure any show to hire two actors from The Thick of It couldn't be that bad. By the time the Cat Stevens scene happened, I was in keyboard-mashing love with the show.

It's freaking good guys, and I think the two main reasons: tonally its spot on and the characters are fantastic.

Some of the storylines are quite over-used in the genre but it never comes off as very special or moralistic. My favourite example is Sid's episode in the first series, which features an attempted suicide by one of the other characters. But that's not the dramatic crux of the episode, the episode is about Sid growing up and committing to something – his history essay. So the show doesn't end on a downer about the attempted suicide and that effect on everyone, or even Sid dealing with his family issues, it ends on Sid doing an all-nighter and taking responsibility for his life. Each episode focusing on a character and it focuses on what's important to that character, even if it's not hugely dramatic material, and that way avoids melodrama. It's quiet genius. Although that doesn't stop it from having some truly devastating moments (Oh my god, Sid's second series episode – guh. I was spoilt and it still hit me hard).

And the characters are brilliant. Sid and Jal I love in particular. Poor sex-obsessed Sid comes off as a bit of a loser on first impressions, failing his courses, living in the shadow of his best friend Tony, hopelessly in love with Tony's girlfriend Michelle, completely oblivious to Cassie's affection to him and he's kind of the butt-monkey for the gang (kind of literally in the Russia episode). But as the first season goes on, the show really becomes the Sid-is-awesome show, because Sid's got a good heart and uses is to be there for all his friends and he develops his own kind of wisdom about the world and stands up for himself. Basically, I love him and rate him up there with Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley and Clyde Langer.

Jal meanwhile is the dependable one who has her future carefully mapped out, but not in an annoyingly precocious Rory Gilmore way. In fact, Jal's become pretty bitter at the adult world because they're all, compared to her at least, pretty useless. Of all the characters in the show, Jal's the one with her head screwed on the best. But the writers actually get that just because she has her head screwed on, doesn't mean she's any less likely to muck about with the other kids, get drunk or fall in love. And I love the writers for having the guts to end her storyline the way they did.

And the other characters are great too. Tony's the biggest wanker on the show, but you really care about him anyway, particularly when the show uses his relationship with his little sister to begin his redemption. Cassie could be annoying, but isn't. You do feel bad for Michelle being trapped in the stereotype of being the pretty one. Sadly Anwar and Maxxie as characters don't get the attention they deserve, but Maxxie in particular gets his own moments of awesome. The adult characters are just as quirky and messed up as the kids.

Also there's a couple of musical and dance moments that beat anything Glee has come up with so far (watching Skins has strengthened my disappointment in Glee), the humour is hilarious and deliciously risky and occasionally wonderfully surreal, it's gone one of the of the most bonkers car chases ever, and did I mention Peter Capaldi shows up as Sid's foul-mouthed loser dad (in other awesome casting, Bill Bailey and Mark Heap both show up in the second series).

My only real criticisms are that the second series isn't quite as good as the first (although some of the episodes are as good if not better than the first). And with the almost complete change of cast for the third series has me not really rushing to watch it (I understand it had to be done, but I'm actually taking it worse than a regeneration).

So you should watch Skins. And if all my rambling hasn't convinced you,


Date: 2010-02-24 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oddrid.livejournal.com
cool I've been meaning to check this out! thanks!

Date: 2010-02-24 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
It's well worth it.

Date: 2010-02-24 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] airie-fairy.livejournal.com
"he's kind of the butt-monkey for the gang"

I love when he finally tells himself to admit it, his friends are fuckheads. <3

"not in an annoyingly precocious Rory Gilmore way"

I loved little Rory and her big dreams...but Jal's do come off more naturalistically. Rory seemed almost to be going down a checklist. And whiel she was obviously bright, I was always convinced she was more studious/ambitious than she was preternaturally intelligent.

"You do feel bad for Michelle being trapped in the stereotype of being the pretty one."

Michelle is amazing, because she has the disappointingly adolescent trappings but she makes them so poignant because you realize she's trying so hard to be good and that it's more her age and her situation than her being thoughtless. She's deeply loving and sympathetic a person to balance out being the needy girl. I adore that moment at the dinner table in s2 when she snaps at Cassie for being so immature about inevitability. (And I love Cassie, despite the brief foray she took into being terrifyingly cruel, so I mean it in no hateful way.)

I found Chris grating in the first season (except for his episode), but he improved in the second once the actor stopped playing everything like he was on a wide-eyed sugar high. Anwar I have problems with because he was mostly cliche combined with an awful friend to Maxxie, who in turn is such a sweetheart.

"one of the of the most bonkers car chases ever"

I WANT THAT TO HAPPEN AT MY FUNERAL.

"My only real criticisms are that the second series isn't quite as good as the first (although some of the episodes are as good if not better than the first). And with the almost complete change of cast for the third series has me not really rushing to watch it (I understand it had to be done, but I'm actually taking it worse than a regeneration)."

YES, in its entirety, to this paragraph. My ultimate s2 disappointment was probably with the rehashing of the love triangle (square?) and all it wrought, because so much more and else could've been done with Sid's dad's death's aftermath and the Sid/Cassie relationship. But there was still such wonderfulness, especially in the first half of s2.

See, regeneration coping skills only apply to Doctor Who, 'cause it's built into the show. I don't have to think of anything else that way. Everything else, I love my characters where did my characters go I want my characters back how dare you.

Date: 2010-02-24 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] airie-fairy.livejournal.com
Also, Sid's tend to be my favorite episodes of each series. I have one or two other really beloved ones from each year, but he seems to be a constant in absolute fantastic, definitiveness of episode. See, he makes me talk funny.

Date: 2010-02-24 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Sid's episodes are my favourites as well. I may be biased cos of the casting and my Sid love, but both seemed to be fantastically done and both really showed the show's flare for originality. Take for example, the shock death in his second episode has been done before by other shows, but the show managed to make it original (and even more gut-wrenching) by having the body right there so you felt the absence of the character in Sid's life that more acutely. Actually, that episode actually really did a number on me. I was spoilt but it still left me too devastated to do anything else the rest of the evening.

I found Chris grating in the first season (except for his episode)

I was dreading Chris' episode in the first series as I like Chris in small doses but I figured too much Chris would be an awful thing, and was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed it.

I was disappointed with Anwar. It's not often shows have Muslim characters and I would have loved a good exploration of what it is to be Muslim and one of the lads at the same time, but what we did get in series one was superficial and he was practically a non-entity in series two except for the Sketch thing, which was just...I don't know what they writers were trying to do there.

See, regeneration coping skills only apply to Doctor Who, 'cause it's built into the show.

Oh, good :) If it's only limited to DW, that doesn't make me a hypocrite for being all 'hell no' about series three. I will watch sooner rather than later I think. The fact Chris Addison is in it is too tempting put it off too long.

Date: 2010-02-24 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] britfan1013.livejournal.com
I'm currently DL'ing and watching series 4 which is much better than series 3. :) Glad you are enjoying. I've been rewatching episodes of the first 2 series, mainly Sids. :)

I love all of them except for Anwar for the reasons you said but I still like him sometimes. lol.

Date: 2010-02-24 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
I've heard series three is a bit disappointing. I'm glad to hear series four it better. Sid's episodes are the ones I've re-watched the most. His episodes are the best :)

Date: 2010-02-25 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolatepot.livejournal.com
I really liked the first two seasons, but I was so attached to the cast that I didn't bother looking at S3 and S4. I may have to look up the Cat Stevens scene, though, because IL Cat Stevens.

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