'Skins' scandal: lots of hype with far too little ingenuity

By Tatiana Craine

Winter just got a lot hotter with the long-anticipated premiere of the American “Skins” on MTV. Supposedly a reimagining of the eponymous original hit show from the U.K., this version brings American viewers the same storylines with about as much verve as a wet sparkler. Fizzling in comparison to the original show, MTV’s supposedly revamped adaptation has none of the brilliance and freshness that made “Skins” famous in the first place. Sure, anyone unacquainted with the now-iconic show might be a little shocked and maybe vaguely entertained-but good luck finding any heart in this show.

The U.K. version of “Skins” premiered in 2007 and skyrocketed to fame, chronicling the drug-stained, sex-soaked, drama-filled lives of teenagers in Bristol. A winner of multiple British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, the show brought real teen issues to the forefront of television with a cast of characters that audiences could simultaneously love and despise. The kids could do awful, outlandish and radical things, but there was an element of strength in their stories that overruled their outrageous antics.

Unfortunately, MTV transplanted all those wild shenanigans into the U.S. without more than an ounce of emotional worth. The characters seem about as enthralling as playing with a piece of soggy cardboard, and resetting the original storylines in these new characters’ lives makes for minimal believability.

Worse yet, concerned parents worry that the show depicts teens too darkly for younger audiences-and even more, that it’s child porn. In an upcoming episode, one of the characters runs fully naked down the street after taking a slew of erectile dysfunction pills. The set-up sounds a bit crazy anyways, but the fact that the actor is under 18 has many adults wondering if the show crosses the boundary into more pornographic territory.

This all begs the question: can the U.S. version of “Skins” make it? Yeah, it can. But if you’re looking for a more quality show (with great British accents), then stick to the original.