Skins Never Stood a Chance (And That’s a Shame)

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

Let’s be honest for a second: the North American adaptation of Skins, a controversial but frank look at the lives of nine teenagers, never stood a chance for a second season renewal. I am not at all surprised that MTV canceled its grand experiment.

MTV released this statement yesterday:

“Skins is a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a US audience as much as we had hoped. We admire the work that the series’ creator Bryan Elsley did in adapting the show for MTV, and appreciate the core audience that embraced it.”

With this statement, MTV is essentially just covering its ass. The network greatly misjudged the kind of program its target demographic wanted to see (for starters, use slang they understand) and how to handle the show’s critics (grow a pair and stand up for yourselves).

Above all, MTV’s Skins never clicked with audiences. It never realized how this version of Skins needed to be Americanized. Instead it was often an awkward, clunky program with marred by poor casting and some terrible acting. One review rightly pointed out that because the show was set in a nameless North American city, the audience never got the sense of where the characters problems came from other than their broken homes. MTV’s Skins lacked authenticity.

I may be one of the few people who is sad this see Skins ride off into the sunset. There were times when the adaptation worked brilliantly. The episodes the centered on Tea and Cadie were two wonderful examples of this show’s potential. By the final episodes, when we saw less of the intended protagonist Tony and more of the quirky secondary characters (ChrisAbbud! Daisy!), the show found its groove. There was even some lovely character development for Michelle and Stanley (though I still hate the idea of them as a couple). Had some of the actors been replaced or maybe just given acting lessons, a second season could have capitalized on this fleeting instances of life we saw in that last episode.

Most people spent too much time comparing Skins to the original UK version. Yes, in comparison, the US version was utter crap. But how could you possibly fairly judge a television program if you are only thinking about how it doesn’t meet your expectations? I made a point when I recapped every episode to judge Skins on what it did do and not how it didn’t match up. On its own merit,  MTV’s Skins was an earnest teen drama. In a world of teen media dominated by the Serena van der Woodsens, the Pretty Little Liars, and those dumb kids on Secret Life who can’t seem to use a condom, Skins had something decent to offer.

Should Skins have ever made in this first the place? Probably not. But it is unfair that Skins was essentially bullied off the air by groups like the Parents Television Council and was never given a real shot.

What are your thoughts on Skins cancellation? Am I being too forgiving of this show’s many flaws? Do you wish Skins could come back to the US is some other incarnation? Sound off below.

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8 thoughts on “Skins Never Stood a Chance (And That’s a Shame)”

  1. Maybe one of the characters should have had a baby. Then it would join the upper echelons of television alongside Teen Mom and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

  2. if the UK version didnt exist (or come first) i probably wouldve loved it. i didnt really have an issue with the acting overall; each kid is talented in their own way. as much as i would love to see the characters develop even more, im not surprised that it wasnt renewed. i do have this to say: SkinsUS>SecretLife. the actors on SL arent that good, the writing sucks something awful. the only decent actor is Francia Raisa (Adrian) everyone else is terrible, ESPECIALLY Ashley and Amy’s Dad. terrible terrible terrible.
    On a closing note, i really enjoyed your insights. you have a spectacular way of seeing things, and thank you for sharing.

    1. You’re so right. Francia Raisa is incredible on Secret Life, especially during her pregnancy-stillbirth plot line. But otherwise the acting on Secret Life is cringe-worthy. It’s unfortunate that Secret Life, which frankly promotes an illogical message about teen pregnancy, still gets to bop pleasantly along.

      What Skins really lacked a feeling that it is was a uniquely American show; it clung too closely to the UK series.

      Thanks for your comment! I’m going to go through the UK series and recap some of the first and second series soon. So stay tuned for more of that if you are interested :)

  3. No! In my eyes, Skins was the perfect show. I have been waiting around for the second season, only to later find out it was canceled! I was highly upset. The acting from these actors I felt is what made the show… made it real. I felt like I were in the lives of these teenagers, instead of watching a TV series, like every other show. There are plenty of worse shows on TV, on MTV in fact! Like this I Just Want My Pants Back is soon sure to have the same fate as Skins. I hope that Skins can find another network to host the show, and continue with the same actors, continuing with the story that just left me hanging, waiting for more!

  4. Its not right how the new skins just get cancelled because of the show was realer than the fake shows on tv and the old farts from the PTC was afraid of showing how teens now days really are like people in Canada and America like more than half of the teens have problems with drugs and life problems that can relate to the show but i just think that the PTC just find it funny are something to have all types of fake shows on tv than something that makes parents really watch something with there teens that the teens relate too and it’ll help see how there teens really because no teens is gonna tell their parents anything at least parents can sit down with there teens and watch the show and ask the simple question do you party like that

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