August 18, 2008
"Skins": Salacious teen drama, UK version
I've been wanting to see British teen soap "Skins" since I heard about it last year--and it's finally airing on BBC America. The series was a big hit in the UK since it premiered in early 2007 and had pretty much the same reception as "Gossip Girl" did over here last year: total media saturation, obsessive devotion among the kids and adults interested in pop culture phenomena, early reviews showing mild confusion and disdain among critics who think it's too dependent on easy stereotypes. Then dawning realization that it's great.
The show deals with a group of teens in Bristol and features lots of sex, drugs, drinking, eating disorders, and absent parents, just like our teen dramas. But since it's British, it will be funnier, some of the actors will be merely average-looking, they'll smoke (does "Gossip Girl" still mysteriously ban cigarettes but allow every other conceivable vice?), some characters will be middle class or even (maybe) almost poor, and there will be main characters who aren't white. Plus more nudity (probably) and harder drugs (definitely). Yep, it's better.
For some background, here's the Guardian review from the show's debut, a video preview, character profiles on the E4 site, and the BBC America site. Also an Urban Dictionary definition of "skins party".
I don't recognize any of the cast apart from the kid who played Marcus in About a Boy, who's all grown up and plays the hunky popular guy. Highlights from the soundtrack include the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gossip, DJ Shadow, and The Fall.
The show started last night on BBC America and will air two episodes in a row on Sunday nights at 9 and 10. Here's the show's full schedule.
UPDATE: I finally watched it. Decent characters, nonstop funny swearing, hookers, drugs, and naked people. And dick jokes! Everything you'd want in a TV show. If you miss it on BBC America, it looks like you can watch the entire series on YouTube.
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