In 2007 a brand new television series aired in the United Kingdom that would soon prove to be controversial as it dealt with issues such as drug use, sex, sexual orientation identity, dysfunctional families, mental illnesses and death. Despite the obvious issues a show like Skins would cause, it exploded with rapid success and soon became Bristol’s most popular teen drama. On January 27, 2011 Skins will premiere the 5th season which, due to its high level of anticipation, is already looking to be as popular as the last four seasons.
The unusual, but nevertheless clever, idea to completely revamp the characters every two seasons was chosen because the plot follows the characters through College, which only lasts two years. To have the same thirty year old people playing eighteen year old characters is absurd, so it is evident why the idea was necessary. This raised the issue of losing the fan base for Skins because people would become attached to one season’s characters and they would not be fond of the next season’s characters. When season two began it was a major issue that everyone was afraid of, but views soared and the second and third season cast members became even more popular than the original cast members. The writers are far less nervous about the premiere of the new cast the second time around.
Since the popularity of Skins has grown so much in its four years running time, the writers, Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain, took the show to the U.S which caused all the more controversy. It is one thing to enrage the U.K fans who felt as though their favourite television program was becoming a sell out, but to have literally the same script for the American version was just one step too far. Elsley and Brittain already knew the show wasn’t going to be an original in the States, so they didn’t bother writing a brand new script. On Elsley’s Twitter page, he posted that it was just a test run in America to see how it went. Needless to say the U.K Skins fans were outraged because the show could never be the same, and they felt as though they were being ripped off. Despite all the drama over the show, it aired Monday January 17, 2011 and the ratings were extremely high.
Thousands of people tuned in for the premiere of Skins U.S and it is anticipated to be just as highly popular in the States and Canada as it was in the U.K. Teenagers will have to hold their breath, however, while the creators are being investigated for child pornography. Yet, more controversy! In the United Kingdom the laws are less strict when involving nudity and young actors. There were never problems with all the sex, nudity, drug use and harsh language with the show in the U.K, whereas these issues were halted after one episode in America. One would think these issues would be settled before the show aired, but that’s just how American media works. Everyone is so eager to jump the gun.
Each episode is scheduled to air on its proper date and time, and only if there are penalties to be handed out will it be taken off the air and will fines be permitted. The investigation is still in progress, but it looks as though Skins and MTV, who broadcasts the show, will get off the hook this time. Without realizing the controversial drama the show would cause, it almost seems like America is not ready for a show like Skins. Perhaps it was a mistake for Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain to introduce the U.S to their wildly successful creation. For now the ratings will tell the story, so long as they get past the lawsuit and pornography investigation.