Shortly following its 10th Birthday, Skins has recently been the talk of many a recent news website and clickbait provider. Even on All4, its Boxset is currently being advertised all over the website. Although this is supposed to be a throwback, it isn’t for me because I only got into Skins relatively recently, but I’ve had a great experience of it nonetheless.
In case you are one of the very few people who’s never heard of Skins, it follows the sex, drug and spare-time-abusing lives of a group of 16 and 17 year olds in Bristol. Every two seasons there is a completely different story-line and a new group of characters are instead focused on, as the previous group have ‘grown-up’.
“[Cook’s] ultimate act of redemption at the end is borderline Shakespearean in its tragedy”
And what has naturally come with the show changing characters every two seasons, making those two seasons almost an entirely different show, is criticism. The popular opinion is that the ‘generations’ of Skins characters and their plots gets progressively worse, and this seems to be what happens with all things, except when we think about the rare case of Star Wars Episode V being better than IV, which it definitely is.
For me though, it’s difficult to say whether Series 1 and 2 are ultimately better than Series 3 and 4. Seasons 5 and 6 can probably be fairly unanimously agreed to be the worst, with the odd episode that offered something different to what Series 1, 2, 3 and 4 offered, like that of ‘Rich’, and so metal heads around the country were suddenly feeling more represented. The two parts of Series 3 and 4 that made it better than Series 1 and 2 for me were the ending, which I won’t spoil, and the wonderful character of Cook. As the extremely arrogant anti-hero of the group who is somewhat sociopathic, Cook provides a dynamic that Series 1 and 2 didn’t really offer as much. If someone were to tell you that they didn’t like Cook’s character, they obviously haven’t seen the entire two series and his ultimate act of redemption at the end, is borderline Shakespearian in its tragedy. Having said this, I haven’t seen Jack O’Connell, the actor who played Cook, in very much recently, and I fear he may be cursed with always being seen as Cook and any attempt to try and express his range as an actor may just be criticised.
“With adults portrayed as pretty much evil villains, [Skins takes you back to] the mind set of your 16 year old self”
I’m not sure why I never decided to watch Skins when everyone else was, around the time they were also the same age as the characters in the show, but I’m really glad I have now. It’s very easily accessed on All4, which you don’t even need a TV License for, so I’d suggest at least giving the first Series a watch. It’s had a profound impact on British television and the representation of teen issues in them. With adults portrayed as pretty much evil villains, go back to the mindset of your 16 year old self and check it out. And even if you’ve already seen it, have yourself a wonderful nostalgic experience.