Welcome to W TV Membership, through which W journal chooses a tv present they’d suggest you binge-watch. This week, we’re Skins, the controversial British collection that aired 15 years in the past at this time, and is having a little bit of an aesthetic revival with Gen-Z.
Televised teen dramas reached a fever pitch within the 2000s. And whereas the subgenre of tv actually has not disappeared—reveals like Intercourse Training, Outer Banks, the Stories Lady reboot, and a handful of different teen-centered collection nonetheless gasoline our need to be transported to the dramatic lives of younger adults—that first decade of the century left an enormous affect, notably due to a community like The CW’s giant position in bringing soapy teen reveals like One Tree Hill, Stories Lady, and 90210 to our screens. However within the aughts, grounded depictions of what it really feels wish to be a teen had been uncommon—till the British collection Skins arrived on the scene, 15 years in the past to the day, and adjusted the teenager tv panorama for the higher.
For seven seasons, Skins realistically captured the sophisticated and messy lives of younger adults. The dramatic depictions of teenagers having intercourse, doing medicine, and partying, had been common for the period, and the rollercoaster romances naturally led superfans to rally for his or her favourite relationships on-line by “delivery” characters they needed to see get collectively on display. However Skins largely stands out for its openness to tackling thornier themes, together with psychological well being, consuming issues, substance abuse, sexuality, and loss of life, whereas by no means leaning on them as tropes to supply shock worth. Above all, Skins understood its viewers in a uncommon method and confirmed us that our issues had been simply as legitimate as anybody else’s.
Skins follows a bunch of teenagers in Bristol throughout their two years of sixth type at Roundview School. The casts had been swapped out each two seasons, which had been known as “generations,” to introduce contemporary narratives as a substitute of unnecessarily stretching out the tales of its characters. The primary two seasons middle on the lives of a bunch of pals led by unhealthy boy Tony (Nicholas Hoult), and within the third and fourth seasons, the story shifts its deal with Tony’s little sister Effy (Kaya Scodelario) and her pals. The ultimate era introduces audiences to a totally new set of characters, earlier than the seventh concluding season, titled Skins Redux, returns full circle to revisit some first and second era characters—Cassie, Effy, and Cook dinner—as they navigate the troubles of maturity.
The one character who stays fixed for multiple era is Effy, who begins as a secondary character within the first two seasons and is additional fleshed out within the second era, giving her the house to carry her personal fairly than residing in her brother’s shadow. An enigmatic, rebellious celebration lady identified for her grunge aesthetic, fishnet tights, and smudged make-up, she has develop into one thing of an It Lady for younger women by way of the years, initially a consultant of depressed teen women on Tumblr in the course of the Indie Sleaze period (which is fittingly making a comeback), and now having a global renaissance by way of TikTok’s rediscovery of the present.
Skins can also be distinct for its option to solid precise youngsters to play teen characters, a stark distinction from the twenty-somethings who step into teen roles in Hollywood. A handful of then up-and-coming actors had been thus solid all through the seasons, finally launching the careers of its promising solid members, lots of whom have since gone on to obtain well-deserved recognition for his or her work—Hoult, Dev Patel, and Oscar-winner Daniel Kaluuya all received their begin on Skins. The collection even acquired a short-lived MTV remake in the USA, though it actually by no means matched the cultural affect left by its significantly better counterpart, which matches to indicate that the unique Skins is really one in every of a sort.
When you ask most followers of the present for his or her favourite “era,” a debate will probably ensue (era two nonetheless holds a particular place in my coronary heart), however practically all Skins followers will agree that every one offers with the not-so glamorous underbelly of adolescence in its personal painfully reasonable, typically controversial method. The affect of Skins, 15 years on, may be felt in reveals like Euphoria, or the forthcoming gritty HBO Max reboot of Degrassi. In spite of everything these years, Skins stays a singular entry within the teen drama style, which is why many individuals, whether or not they’re teenagers who grew up watching it because it aired or younger folks at this time rediscovering it by way of streaming platforms and social media, have clung to it and given it a second life.