Sometime last week, while paging through my blogreader of choice, I encountered posts on two separate blogs about two separate teen-skewing shows. The first was a post about how cool the British teen superhero show Misfits is. The author stated that it kicked the asses of Heroes, The Cape and No Ordinary Family combined, and that it was what X-Men: First Class could but probably wouldn’t be. I logged that info for later use, and this week, finally did a search for the show online, intent on catching up with past episodes and judging its quality for myself.
Sadly, no eps were available online. I’ll have to grab the bittorrent sometime.
The other show I read about was the new MTV teen series Skins. The article had nothing to say about the show content, it was more about how its suggestive nature caused Taco Bell to pull out as a sponsor. This got me curious–I wanted to know what was so controversial about it that would make sponsors pull out while they have no problem sticking around for Jersey Shore and other lowbrow offerings. I had no intention of actually watching the show, of course, I was just interested in finding out why it’s supposed to be so shocking.
Of course, when no eps for Misfits were available, I had some reserved-for-watching-teen-shows time on my hands.
The premiere episode of Skins can be found on MTV’s site. I watched it, and have no idea what I even think about it, much less how to review it. First off, it’s incredibly obvious that I’m not the target demo for this show–it’s full of scandal and hijinks that will really only appeal to teens and pre-teens. Mainly, teens defying authority, dealing with adult issues and having lots of sex. But oddly, some of the writing sounds like an adult trying too hard to emulate teen-speak. I wonder if real teens grimace or roll their eyes when they hear such a pained effort. It comes off a little hokey, but maybe your tolerance for stuff like that is a bit greater when you’re twelve or thirteen.
To me, the most interesting thing about Skins had nothing to do with its subject matter. The show is apparently a port/clone of a British series–and despite having an American cast, it still feels incredibly British. It sounds American, as in, every character speaks American English and uses American slang. But every visual–from the characters’ wardrobe to their homes to the grey drabness of their lower-middle-class town–screams UK. If you turn the sound off and just watch for a while, you’ll swear you’re watching a show on BBC America. The adults all look especially British–the main kid’s dad looks like he’s channeling Vinnie Jones, all the way down to his buzz cut and rage face. I wonder how American kids will take to a show that looks so different than what they’re used to. Yeah, the unique look sets it apart from other US teen dramas, but will it also make it less relatable to your average suburban kid?
The premiere episode wasn’t awful. It had a few scenes that made me chuckle, a few that were semi-shocking and a few that were titillating, but nothing I saw made me want to watch another ep. I am a little curious about the British version, though–I’m tempted to find that show’s premiere and compare it with the US remake. But I don’t think I’ll be setting my DVR to record this each week. If you strip out the rougher language and over-the-top sexuality that basic cable allows, and ignore the distinctively British look and feel of the show, it’s still just another teen drama, with the same storylines you see on everything from One Tree Hill to 90210 to, hell, Vampire Diaries. It will be interesting to see well the American teen audience embraces this show and whether it can last with advertisers jumping ship on it.
Have you seen either of these two shows–Misfits or Skins? If so, let me know what you think. This site won’t have too many posts about teen dramas, but if Google somehow brings you here with interest in one of these, weigh in! My comments are a barren landscape and could use some action.