Teenage kicks

The new vs. old _Skins_ debate has been done to death and I’m not about to resurrect it. However, I do feel a very brief summary of events is in order. The general consensus is that the first two seasons of _Skins_ were excellent, so even when they discarded the original cast, although obviously distraught, I obediently tuned in to season 3. The new generation Skins was a bit of a shock to the system but once I had adjusted to the new group (who were essentially the same characters as before, but with far less depth and much worse acting) I could just about enjoy myself, at least when Effy wasn’t on screen. Whilst I still mourned the loss of Tony and the rest of the gang, I understood that their reign was over and I admit that, at the time, I was glad Skins was continuing. Series 3 was mediocre but because I think Freddie’s quite cute and the lesbian red-headed twin has potential, I waited with anticipation and perhaps disproportionately high hopes for season 4.

I’m the type of person who, having pledged my allegiance to a show, sticks with it through thick and thin. That being said, though, we’re only on episode three of the new season and already I feel that my interest is waning. Not only is season 4 lacking the depth of the previous seasons (which is really saying something considering that season 3 was about as deep as a pancake), but it barely makes sense. The holes in the plot are big enough to see daylight through, and unfortunately all I can see on the other side is the faded memory of a once great piece of television.

There appears to be a basic storyline with a few plot twists clumsily dispersed throughout, but they just haven’t bothered to fit it all together. Scenes are somewhat disjointed, dialogue is laughable at worst, average at best, and even the characters look bemused and indifferent (though this could be a product of their late night, binge-drinking lifestyles). I won’t try to demonstrate to you just how tenuous some of these plot points are; I have trouble understanding what exactly the purpose of it all is, and I’m a person who suspended my belief in logical TV narratives somewhere around the third series of Lost.

I sit back and watch with a distinct feeling of bewilderment. But before I have a chance to point out many more of the errors in continuity and general realism, various characters, without warning, start to tear off each other’s clothes and I find myself distracted from my disgruntled thoughts by what is truly the definition of a gratuitous sex scene. Now, before you suggest that perhaps my issue is that I’m some sort of prude, let me reassure you that the hedonistic lifestyle of these troublesome youths is what initially drew me to Skins; the sex, drugs and partying were glamorised yet gritty, and underpinned a much deeper story, the inclusion of which appears to be something of an afterthought in this new series.

I really can’t imagine that a great deal of preparation and thought went into season 4. It all feels a little slapdash and superficial. It seems the producers think that the _Skins_ name alone is now enough to carry the show, but what they’ve forgotten is that that name was only made because of the quality and ingenuity of its initial content.

I feel slightly harsh criticising the acting skills of the cast but I think it has to at least be mentioned. Of course, they’re only working with the exaggerated caricatures of characters they’ve been given, but even I can see that they’re not a patch on the original line up (Yes, I know I promised I wouldn’t hark back to the glory years but think about it, are any of this lot going to be guests at the next Oscars ceremony like our beloved Dev Patel?) There’s not much point in me lamenting their lack of dramatic abilities, however, as the poor kids are already unemployed. They’ve actually hit the legal drinking age, which means it’s time to find a new cast. Series 5 will see another bunch of hopefuls take handfuls of nondescript pills and dance the night away at those wild parties that made the show so infamous in its heyday. Maybe this is just what _Skins_ needs; alternatively we could end up witnessing the proverbial flogging of a dead horse (if we aren’t already).

I’d like to tell you that my _Skins_ viewing days are over but I’m just not that strong. I really loved _Skins_ and I live in hope that this series, like the last, may at least get slightly better as it goes on. I have a strong suspicion that it won’t but since I enjoy procrastination and am not the biggest fan of Evolve, for now _Skins_ will remain my Thursday night entertainment (and I use the word ‘entertainment’ loosely).


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