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 (Chris! Abbud! 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.