Thursday’s TV- Review: Skins

January 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

SKINS: E4, Thursday 22nd January, 10:00pm Alert me

At last the third series about the antics of those enviously cool teenagers is zipping its way onto our screens.

Like seasoned boy scouts looking to show off their survival skills, the Skins producers are furiously rubbing together a re-hashed cast draped in familiarly skimpy outfits, pretending to study and puffing their way through a batch of fresh weed over the next ten weeks with a heap of new-ish storylines largely revolving around getting smashed and/or laid in the hope of rekindling some of the show’s old fire.

But in this bizarre analogy that I seem to have adopted in which TV producers are likened to small, cap-clad boys rubbing rocks together in the wilderness, episode one leaves you cold and doesn’t quite produce those trusty Skins sparks.

Shifting into focus among the second generation of Bristolian college kids is Effy (Kaya Scodelario). Sister of Tony (the protagonist of the first two series), she has got to be in the top five of most troubled adolescents on telly nowadays. Caked in eyeliner and determined to be dangerously beautiful, she spends the first episode challenging her male classmates to break all the rules to win fair maiden’s, er, booty. This results in a final scene that lays way for some frequent teen rutting to come.

More of the new gang includes incessantly stupid and naïve Pandora, attention-seeker Cook, who manages to get his tattooed bits out for the entire college in the first half hour, twins Katie and Emily, skater boy Freddie and JJ, a socially inept maths geek. Oh and there’s a girl called Naomi Campbell.

The problem is that without knowing them yet, you can’t help but find them all so bloody obnoxious. They strut through the corridors as if their life is choreographed and deliver repulsively self-aware one-liners as the culmination of a scene falls into place. I took to finding a spot at the bottom of the screen to fix my gaze on (usually some indecently exposed pant-line somewhere) so my eyes don’t roll upwards in scorn.

But I know this won’t last.  By episode three, this disdain is going to begin to change. With familiarity comes care. Just like the first generation of Skins, flickers of genuine concern will dart into my consciousness as a character confesses a secret or makes a real friend and I’ll stop sneering, begin to forgive the downright self-love of it all and explain it away with a confident wave of my arm as “simply stylized.”

So while episode one doesn’t quite cut it, sit tight. I’m ready for the day when I warm to the Skins crew and the show once again bursts into flames of hormonal glory.