Nicholas Hoult as Tony Stonem
Mike Bailey as Sid Jenkins
April Pearson as Michelle Richardson
Joseph Dempsie as Chris Miles
Mitch Hewer as Maxxie Oliver
Larissa Wilson as Jal Fazer
Dev Patel as Anwar Kharral
Hannah Murray as Cassie Ainsworth
and Kaya Scodelario as Effie Stonem
I wrote about the first series collection a while back (located here and could have been better) and on the whole I was very impressed with it. My opinion on the show has in fact improved a little as I think it's probably the best new British show in a long time. (British TV needs it's own version of HBO, seriously).
Skins is an ensemble style show that bases each episode around one of the characters while some of the others provide supporting roles depending on the relationship between those characters. It's a nice method of delivery that highlights how a group of friends orbit around each other in different amounts. It also gives each of the characters a chance to shine on screen.
Speaking of the characters, some of them have changed a lot since last series. Tony in particular is seriously different, partially because of events from the previous series and partially (I suspect) to make him more sympathetic. While he was an amazingly entertaining ass last series it was also difficult to understand why on earth anyone else tolerated him being around them any more. My favourite characters remain the same this series - Sid and Effy - and they both get some fantastic stories. Effy remains the manipulative and brilliant dirty little stop out that she is and Sid gets the most touching storyline (for me) in the show.
The tone in the second series is a lot more downbeat than the first series, there are less of the truly comedic moments and far more sad moments. Sid's story in particular is very touching, but so are Jal's and Cassie's (not that I can really stand Cassie). Overall though the change in tone does make the show feel different, this is a show about growing up and the change reflects that without going too far away.
As always some of the best parts belong to the various guest actors who turn up, mostly playing the parents of the children. This series we have Bill Bailey (Black Books), Harry Enfield (Harry and Paul) Morwenna Banks (Various including Harry and Paul), Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing) amongst others along with a brilliant performance from Peter Capaldi as Sid's father. These roles are a brilliant decision that gives the show a great deal of extra draw, they provide familiar faces for the British viewer without stealing the limelight from the young stars.
Unfortunately almost the entire cast of the first two series will not be returning for the third, I dislike major overhauls like this. Essentially you are being given a new show with an attempt to pretend it is the previous show. So the second series is probably where I will call an end to my Skins watching. I don't want to get invested in a whole new set of characters just to lose them after two years. Maybe the new cast won't result in a shark jumping moment, but I shan't be about to find out. While this next series will give us a return of Effy, as far as I'm concerned my Skins journey ends with the poignant final episode of this series. I am open to changing this opinion but we'll have to see.
I think it could have been handled better if the next generation had been at least given cameos in this series. Perhaps they could have also been younger relatives of the current batch and their friends. But instead we have an almost disconnected group of new kids arriving next season and that's just too much of a jolt for me to accept in any show. Boston Legal struggled because of cast overhauls, it's foolish to break the rapport the viewer has with the cast in such a major fashion. As such I think it's a mistake.
The Other Stuff:
The second series comes boxed in a standard plastic DVD case. While there advantages to this, it's durable and cheap to produce, there is also a large issue for me - it doesn't match up with the first series's cardboard sleeve + box at all. I don't mind either style, but I just wish the packagers would pick one and stick with it. It's not hard to do, Red Dwarf managed it with 8 series, so did Seinfeld's nine seasons. Come On!
There is a reasonable amount of extras in the set. Including behind the scenes footage, interviews, bonus stories and a trailer amongst others. It's not a bad little collection, but I mostly thumbed through it rather than actually paying close attention to the stuff.
Running Time: 460 mins
Subtitles: English HOH
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
And this weeks winner is play.com who have the set up for £14.99, this works out at only 3.1ppm. Nowhere near as impressive as the previous series. But still respectable for a British show (as they are always a lot shorter than the American ones).
The Final Word:
As far as I'm concerned right now Skins ends with this series, it's been a fantastic ride and this is a superb product that anyone will enjoy watching. While I'm not convinced the show will survive the switch in cast (viewing figures were down in the second series anyway) the first two series have been a superb ride and I've enjoyed watching both of them immensely.