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,


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meddow

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