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January 18, 2011

Skins USA Vs. Skins UK: How Did MTV's Show Stack Up To The Original?

Skins - Original British Cast 
I have been eagerly anticipating the new MTV series 'Skins' for a few reasons. Here are a few notes on why I couldn't wait for it to start:
  1. I love British TV shows, and this was to be a very true adaption of a hit British show.
  2. British TV shows know how long they will be on before they ever start filming., so they know how long they have to tell a story arc. It is never cut short or made as it goes along based on ratings
  3. Teenage shows always attract me... probably because I was a high school teacher and I am intrigued  by the always changing and spontaneous thought process of the teenage mind.
  4. God, I wish I was 16 again... who doesn't? Great Times!!!!

    'Skins' - U.S. Cast

There are other reasons why I liked the premise of the show as well. The British show was created by a father and son team (Bryan Elsley and Jaime Brittain) and featured writers who were under the age of 20 in order to get a proper prospective into the teen mind. The show also featured relatively unknown teenage actors and actresses that could be taken for real teens... no 25 year olds playing sophomores and already established actors making it hard to see them as someone new (like if they had Daniel Radicliff, everyone would only see Harry Potter).

These reasons lead me to begin watching the first season of 'Skins' on Netflix Instant. After watching MTV's 1st episode, boy am I glad I did. It's not that MTV did anything wrong... its quite the opposite. The MTV show is almost a mirror image of the British original. Instead of a gay male dancer named Maxxie, MTV has a lesbian cheerleader named Tea. Other than a few minor race & name changes, the cast is pretty much identical. Here is where you should make the decision to watch the British version... if its almost exactly the same, why not watch the original?

'Skins' - U.K. Cast

The British cast is also much easier to identify with.... Tony is the guy everyone wants to be and Michelle is his girl. Sid is his sad sack best friend that is Tony's complete antithesis... and you love him for it! Chris is fucking mental and has no parents around... Jal is the black girl who comes from a family with a famous musician father but is down to Earth and there for everyone. Cassie is the crazy nut, and Anwar is a Muslim with an all white group of nut job friends who make his religious life a living hell (Anwar is also Dev Patel of The Last Airbender and Slumdog Millionaire fame!). His best friend is the aforementioned Maxxie, who is gay and wants to be a professional dancer. Their personalities are so different, yet this crew is loyal and true to each other. Amazing... you can't help but love these degenerates.

L to R- Cassie, Chris, Michelle & Cassie, the full cast, Cassie

Sid and Chris are my absolute favorite characters, as I was like a cross between the both of them. I was a comic & movie geek, but also popular and full on craziness as a teen... a bit of both. Michelle, played by the lovely April Pearson, is a breath of fresh air and a hipster beauty. There are only 9 episodes in the first season, and 9 in the second as well. There were 5 seasons total, but the story shifts to another set of teens including Tony's younger sister Effy in Season 3. Yup... you read that right... they switched THE WHOLE CAST OF A WILDLY SUCCESSFUL SHOW BETWEEN SEASON 2 & 3 BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS DRAWN UP.... ratings did not cause them to force the issue and keep the teens past the believability of their own age. They just brought in a new crop... and continued to win!

On another note, season 1 ends with one of the best 10 minute segments I have ever watched in TV history. Ever. I put it up there with the best season-enders I have personally ever seen... and I have seen a lot of TV! I won't spoil it at all, but they answer all the questions and cliffhangers that hung over season 1 and it all ties up beautifully... yet, at the same time springs you towards season 2 with so much anticipation. In my humble opinion, after watching only the first 2 seasons of the British versions of 'Skins', I can honestly say it is the best teenage show I have ever watched. Better then anything I have ever seen that was like it, and better then those shows in every way. I know that's a bold statement, but I am hooked.

Now, the MTV show seems destined to follow the exact same path as the Brit show... but here is where I implore you to give up an afternoon and watch Season 1of the original show. You will love it... and thank me for telling you to do it. I will be watching the MTV show, and it looks promising... but those guys on the MTV version got some big shoes to fill!!! Now get your ass up and add 'Skins' to your Netflix Instant Que asap... and thank me later!


  1. I completely agree. Best teen drama ever, at least season 1 and 2. Just watched the first episode of US version which is exactly the same as original. I just loved the original characters so I wont watch US version further. But it might be a good show also if you dont know the original skins guys.

  2. I agree that the original skins is the best teen drama ever. The cast is incredible and believable. There is a realistic, original, dreamy rawness to the UK Skins that the American version just lacks. I tried to go into MTV's Skins premier last night with an open mind, but I couldn't get into it at all. Everything about it felt forced, the dialogue was ridiculous, the characters lacked the likeablity and charm of the original cast, and even though the it was basically a shot by shot of the original, the cinematography felt home made and off. I literally felt like I was watching some Youtube video made by high schoolers attempting to spoof the original. And one of the most irritating things about the MTV version, is that they have the characters saying the f word and then have it bleeped out. It is a scripted show!! Its not like a reality tv show where they don't have control over what they say... but they put the f word in there to try to be 'cool' but when you have to bleep it out you just look like idiots. I so wish that a different station had the chance to have done this remake...maybe HBO or Showtime could have done some justice to the original, but MTV has turned it into a joke. I am have an original Skins marathon tonight in hopes of forgetting the atrocity that is MTV Skins.

    1. I completely agree, is just the US looks so fake and plastic, the characters don't look real they just like what they are... actors and actresses, they look too faked, too pretty to be even relatable,

  3. I couldn't agree more... but one question: Who is this and why are you signed in as anonymous? All you gotta do is sign in with a gmail or aol account on the right and become a follower... please??? Thanks...

    As far as the show itself, MTV did a better job with it than I expected. There are some intresting changes that they made, like shifting Maxxie (a boy) to Tea (a girl) that will dramaticall tilt the storyline... I'll stick with it for a bit and see how it shakes out. Looking forward to starting Season 3 of the UK Skins this week... Effy rules!!!

  4. I hear 'Skins; has been getting a lot of press. 'Taco bell' and other (wholesome?) advertisers are pulling ad spots from the show's time slot and the annoying PTC has been sending letters to the FCC claiming that the show is child pornography.

    Any press is good press they say.

  5. As a British teen, I completely adore the original skins. I find that the format of the show is much more suited to a British audience.
    I have american family, and as far as I'm aware, the issues tackled in skins aren't as present in the US as they are here in England, such as drug abuse and mental disorders. I hate to say it, but I did find that the American accents took away the gritty reality aquired so effortlessy in Bristol, and I felt like I was watching yet another episode of '90210'.

    I feel it could be expected for the american press to disaprove of the show, as Americans seem to be less accepting of the issues raised in skins, such as drug use and underage sex, whereas in Britain, the whole of society accepts that they are now a part of everyday life. I can safely say, that I know very,very few people who haven't taken drugs, or had sex under the age of 15/16. For this, skins was targeted successfully at a BRITISH audience.I really don't understand why they can't just show the original as oppse to this remake in the US, give the americans an insight into a typical british teen life, rather than fabricating an american version which is most likely to relate to viewers in select circumstances.

    On a final note, I can't wait for Thursday, when series 5 is realeased with the new characters (: let's see if this one can top the beutiful performances given by the 1st and 2nd casts

  6. I love the original Skins. I grew to love all the characters. I think it would be great if we saw the original cast again though. Not as teens but as adults. Maybe Jal in a concert or something, just to bring them back a bit.
    I haven't seen any if US Skins but I don't think I want to because if it's just the same it won't really hold any mystery

  7. chris was so awesome i almost cryed when he died i got into skins that much i dont really like any of the new skins the first one was the best EVER

  8. Skins US is the worst thing that I have ever seen! Everything is weird and wanky and just weird, not made to be 'Americanised' ... Seriously uk shouldn't adapt American shows, America shouldn't adapt uk shows. Different humour, ideals, vibe...