Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Skins - Season 4 Review

UK Airdate: January 28th – March 18th 2010

Another Generation Gone: Maybe it’s fatigue setting in, maybe it was a series of bad choices but for some reason, the fourth series of Skins just doesn’t cut the mustard like it’s previous three years had managed to. It’s a shame because while there are some good moments within this season, the bad ones seem to dominate proceedings all the more.

First of all, let’s talk about that finale – what on Earth were the writer’s thinking? Why the hell would anyone on the writing staff think it would’ve been a great idea to have ended the season on a cliff-hanger that won’t get answered because when we’re watching Series 5, it will be with a new cast? I’ve never been a fan of Cook but having his fate hang in the balance at the hands of a nutty shrink (Hugo Spear winning the best guest star this year, Will Young being the weakest as that guidance counsellor) is a bit of a slap in the face to any fan of this show and also very bad writing.

But as a finale itself, it couldn’t have lacked anymore closure if it had tried. Emily and Naomi just barely got back together, Effy’s mental state was still up in the air, no-one was aware of the fact that Freddie had been murdered and similarly, no-one was aware of Cook probably ending up the same way, thanks to Dr Foster. I have to admit that out of all the finales this show has done, this one was by far the worst of the bunch.

That being said, Series 4 had another big problem – Emily and Naomi. Of course, it’s like Sid and Cassie all over again – great in the first season but virtually destroyed beyond repair in the second, only at least Emily and Naomi did get back together but Sid and Cassie didn’t have the death of a girl on their hands either.

Having Naomi cheat on Emily with Sophia and poor Sophia die in the opening episode was something I could’ve dealt with but I hated that after it had been revealed that all Emily did for the season was constantly lash out at Naomi, who in turn waited until literally the last minute to actually show Emily how much she really loved her. I suppose I should be grateful that their relationship did generate more screen time this year compared to Thomas/Pandora or Cook/Effy/Freddie.

The writers didn’t even try this year with Thomas and Pandora. They literally broke them up in the first episode and Pandora was practically absent for the rest of the season. That might have been a good thing if Thomas and Katie had actually tried something on with each other but even that managed to be something of a dead end as well.

And then there’s Cook, Freddie and Effy. I could’ve done without knowing that Freddie had a thing with Cook’s mother but I have to admit that despite Freddie still being something of a bland character, I did have a lot of sympathy for him this season.

His episode was definitely one of the darkest of the bunch and it was actually quite horrifying seeing his attempts of trying to save Effy from herself blow up in his face. Even his death at the hands of Dr Foster was a little too brutal for my liking and I’m usually okay with brutal deaths. As for Effy, I guess her breakdown was a long time coming but in some ways I wanted to see her pull through and thanks to this season, we don’t get that pay off.

In things about the season that I actually liked, I have to admit the initial mystery surrounding Sophia and the way she was connected to Cook, Naomi and Thomas was a nice enough twist but out of those three characters, I ended up being surprised that Cook was the one to show some actual character growth.

He took the rap for Sophia’s death by drugs in order to set an example for his little brother, tried to keep Effy and Freddie together and even uncovered what happened to his friend. All in all, these things endeared Cook a lot more to me than anything at all in the third season with him and again, it’s a shame that his fate was left the way it was.

Other positive aspects of the season was Katie’s smackdown of an obnoxious WAG in her own episode, whilst dealing with her own infertility as well as JJ finally getting himself a girlfriend but there are only minor stuff in an otherwise depressing and disappointing year. The fact that we also had less episodes (with Pandora and Naomi missing out) also didn’t help matters in the slightest either. With any luck, the third generation in the upcoming fifth series will give this show a much needed boost that it desperately needs right about now.

DVD EXTRAS: Past seasons have been better on this front but there’s enough to keep fans going. A few commentaries are there along with an animated feature, a Bonus Skins Story and behind the scenes videos.


4x01: Thomas = 7/10, 4x02: Emily = 9/10,
4x03: Cook = 8/10, 4x04: Katie = 8/10,
4x05: Freddie = 7/10, 4x06: JJ = 7/10,
4x07: Effy = 7/10, 4x08: Finale = 5/10.


Jordan said...

you have very good points, however, i felt this season had amazing depth in which the rest of the seasons lacked. they are making a movie with the cast of the first 4 seasons, so that could clear up the cliffhangers. we can always get mad that it wasn't as good as the first group, but when i go back and watch the first group, i don't feel as attached as i do with the second. so respectfully, im going to disagree with you and say that the 4th season was absolutely incredible.

shawnlunn2002 said...

That's okay, you raised some good points of your own and hopefully the movie itself will resolve some of the cliffhangers but as a season, I didn't connect with it as much as I wanted, though I do like the second generation of kids.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with everything you've said. I've recently become engrossed in this series. The artistry is intense and the dialogue fathomable. But how it ate me up the ending of the 2nd generation! I nearly threw my computer at the wall!

Fortunately, as it would seem, they ARE in production of a movie, hopefully to be released some time this year (2011). Of course, the actors of the characters Chris and Freddie, will not be starring as they have died, and they "didn't want to have them to be 'ghost characters'", which I completely agree could be in bad taste. But the only definite cast members so far that will be returning for the movie have been reported as Effy's, Tony's and Anwar's characters. After all this time, all of those actors growing/aging since then, I can only imagine how they will pick this movie up to answer questions and maybe help us feel better about all those bloody cliffhangers! But, thank you so much for your review. When I finished the show, slept for 8 hours, I thought "maybe someone knows something I don't know! maybe I'm not the only one who feels this way!" And I was right. :-D