March 8, 2008
Skins is over. It’s a little bit sad. Here was a perfect example of what a teen drama should be. Forget the niceties of Dawsons Creek, the spoilt rich kids in the O.C. and One Tree Hill. Start thinking Heartbreak High and you’re getting a little bit closer.
This show is very.. real. Real in the sense that these kids lives aren’t all rosy. There are some pretty far flung adventures that I imagine the majority of teens wouldn’t have experienced. But this is a telly show after all – it’s got to be interesting.
There’s quite a bit of drugs involved in the program – mainly smokables but occasionally pills and powder. There’s also a teacher/student sexual relationship, which doesn’t have any negative ramifications. In other words, there’s a lot of instances in this program of kids behaving badly.
How excellent, then, was it that SBS picked up this program rather than a commercial network (or even possibly the ABC). Anybody remember Californication? (Don’t worry there’s a second season of this coming) There is no way that Skins is tamer than Californication. If conservative, middle-aged parents actually watched SBS (more than World News and Inspector Rex), I don’t think they would like what they see. I think that perhaps being the ‘Special’ Broadcasting Service, parents often just turn a blind-eye and hope that their kids don’t realise that there is television not from 7,9 and 10.
But I’m so glad that the family groups didn’t try to shut this one down, because there are a lot of very important issues brought up in this show that are handled with care and a realness that forgets the icing sugar.
Each episode focuses on a different main character and tells their story, providing insights into their family life and inner torments. Cassie is struggling with an eating disorder, Jal faces the pressures of being gifted, Chris is abandoned by his parents and has a massive crush on his teacher, Sid’s parents separate, Islamic Anwar refuses to continue being friends with former best friend Maxxie because of his sexuality.
Tony is the manipulative alpha-male and Sid his submissive sidekick. Sid is in love with Tony’s girlfriend and doesn’t see that Cassie is in love with him. Cassie and Sids characters are the most likeable and evoke the most emotional response, due to their often unrequited generosity and selflessness.
The program is beautifully shot and the music is very independent (i.e. good!). The theme music by ‘Fat Segal’ is thoughtful and electronically ‘now’, whilst The Gossip’s ‘Standing in the way of control’ is the perfect signature turne. However, much of the music in the television show has been replaced by new tunes in the DVD release (I imagine due to copyright/royalties).
Season two is currently showing in the UK, but we probably won’t get it until next summer. The DVD release will surely come out quicker than that, but until then, go out and grab series 1 on DVD and (re)watch a very memorable television series.