My wife and I been watching the UK TV show Skins on Netflix (it also seems like a bunch of episodes are available on YouTube). We’re partway through the second season and are loving it.
The story revolves around a group of teenagers in Bristol England who are going through Sixth Form (which I interpret as the last couple years of high school). Most of the action isn’t related to school however, but rather the things that happen outside.
Almost all the characters are messed up in their own unique way, and that’s a great thing. Every character is interesting for different reasons, to the extent that I find myself constantly saying, “I really love this guy. I hope they show more of him” pretty well every time a character appears onscreen. I don’t think I’ve seen a show where that’s the case as much as it is with Skins.
The diverse characters provide the perfect canvas for the show to explore a variety of issues such as drug use, mental illness, sexuality, neglect, obsession, infidelity, and death, in a direct, no-holds-barred way. The show is often dark–it’s not at all appropriate for children. But it is also very humorous, with occasional episodes that may deal with a serious issue but in a bizarre hilarious way.
Skins is a teenage drama, and as such there’s the risk of it devolving into a soap opera. It comes close to that line at some points, but doesn’t cross it. The thing that saves it is that it’s rarely about sensationalist gawking, but rather always about the exploration of the human condition.
The only time that the show suffers is when it goes completely over the top. There are times where it is just creepy, and not with a “good shivers” vibe, but rather a disturbing “you really didn’t have to go there and this adds nothing” sort of way. It packs the hardest punch not when the plotlines are extreme, but darkly realistic.
Overall, I’d recommend this show to any adult who’s a fan of gritty character-driven dramas.