The premiere episode of MTV’s “Skins” was basically a shot-by-shot remake of the original British pilot. And just like the original series, each episode is titled and focused on one particular character — their personality, the people closest to them, their family life — typically they’re the first shot of the show.
It was from the first shot, then, that we knew MTV would be softening the edges of their version. British Tony had a comforter and matching pillows covered with a man and woman’s naked bodies. American Tony’s comforter was covered in spiders. Spiders, really? We guess we should be thankful that it wasn’t Spiderman. Now, that would have been troubling. But, it was also a smart move by the creative team. It told us to let go of our previous expectations. This is a different show.
The first episode follows Tony (played by James Newman, an unknown like the rest of the cast) as he tries to get Stanley (Daniel Flaherty) laid. Along the way, we meet the rest of the gang, including Tony’s closest thing to a girlfriend, Michelle (Rachel Thevenard), Tabatha, the rich girl with a crush on him, and we have a brief intro to his mother, stepfather and his very quiet, though messed up younger sister, Eura (Eleanor Zichy).
In the original, Tony is handsome, confident and entrances his friends to do his bidding. In the MTV version, co-creator Bryan Elsley tells Deadline.com that “this will be a much more vulnerable and easily-damaged Tony in the USA show.”
We’re fine with Tony being more vulnerable and different in the remake (because we don’t demand that they be exactly alike), but the thing we loved about the first generation (the cast switched every two seasons in the original series) was that the crew had chemistry and made us care about them.
“Skins” isn’t just about being gritty, overtly sexual and rebellious, which is what most people seem to be focusing on (cough, the PTC). It’s about the relationships and when it comes to that, we think MTV is on the right track.