Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Skins: Volume Three

Once upon a time (like two years ago) Skins generated a huge amount of controversy, and probably with good reason. Any show featuring oversexed, drugged-up teenage protagonists will tend to garner negative press. But Skins hung in there, and kept on doing what it does, and at the time of writing it’s got four seasons under its belt, and has been commissioned for another two. MTV is also getting in on the Skins action, and they’ll be unveiling their Americanized remake sometime in 2011.

Now, other than by reputation, I was mostly unfamiliar with the concept when it came time to watch this DVD release of its third season, but Will Harris did a fine job of covering Seasons One and Two (I’m still unsure about the decision to label these season sets as “Volumes”), so I was able to play a kind of catch up through his enthusiastic takes. Turns out, though, most of that was unnecessary, as in its third year, Skins has an almost entirely new cast of characters and a new set of stories to tell. For the time being, this is apparently the plan for the show – every two seasons the cast will rotate and change, introducing a new batch of kids in their final two years of the U.K. equivalent of high school. If you’ve never seen the show before, this is as good a place as any to begin an unhealthy education.

Skins is an ensemble series, although the season does shine the spotlight on each of the major characters for an episode apiece, all while continuing the ongoing story of the group. This season showcases a complex love triangle between bad boy Cook (Jack O’Connell), his lifelong skater friend Freddie (Luke Pasqualino), and the object of their attraction, Effy (Kaya Scodelario) – the primary crossover character from the previous seasons, as she was the younger sister of Tony (previously a major player, but now gone from the show). Effy is as fucked up a teen as any you’ve ever seen, and her parents are in the midst of splitting up, which doesn’t help matters. In the season opener, she catches the eyes of both Cook and Freddie, but Cook, being the more outgoing of the pair, manages to stake his claim first. What develops between Cook and Effy can only be described as toxic, and it’s borderline heartbreaking (or maybe just plain scary) to watch the deterioration of their dignity as the season moves forward. You want Effy to go for Freddie, but as is often the case in real life, the danger Cook offers is addictive for this self-destructive girl.

Read the rest of this DVD review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.