|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:
- I love British TV shows, and this was to be a very true adaption of a hit British show.
- 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
- 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.
- God, I wish I was 16 again... who doesn't? Great Times!!!!
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!