I am writing this review with absolutely no personal bias. The fact that the new lead character beat me to the role of Lyra in the Golden Compass has absolutely no bearing on the opinions and viewpoints you are about to hear.
So I opened up Skins Series 5 Episode 1 on 4OD, Youtube. I had to wait for a few adverts, but I was prepared to suffer because I like Skins. I was very pleased that the opening had remained largely unchanged because it is a defining aspect of Skins and is truly representative of its vaguely depressing, occasionally light-hearted and sometimes even surreal style. I don't give a huge shit about the opening but I thought I should start my review with some pretense of wisdom and taste.
Onto the story. In a decreasingly subtle and and ever typical Skins fashion, the episode starts with a main character getting ready for college. Franky is an androgenous looking girl who dresses as a clown nearly. I will not judge her acting yet, as all she has done is looked moody and performed basic actions such as putting on trousers.
The climax of the episode comes questionably early. The dressing is complete, and she now proceeds to leave the her house. Following her down the stairs, we get the impression that she has just moved here, and can only assume that she is a 'new girl'. Then, as she reaches and opens the door, two males wave her goodbye, giving inane and generic 'new college' advice. Franky has stepped outside. She is on the threshold between the safety of home and the unfamiliar, endlessly threatening realm of 'new college.' Now she says it - 'Bye Dads.' Sweet Christ. She has two dads. What a bountiful resource for exploration of a character's home life and, no doubt, a significant factor in storyline to come.
After that life changing bombshell it goes downhill from there. There were about forty minutes left, all of which were bland, awkward and confusing. I can't remember exactly what happened but it was predictable and disappointing. There are some other characters: two pretty ones and a load of dog-looking ones. Franky gets dolled up, then undolls herself again because of identity and self expression and other stuff. Humiliation, enigmas, misery. Random and unnecessary drug taking followed by running and spinning around in the shopping centre. That scene was fairly uncomfortable to watch and basically pointless.
I couldn't really get into it, but whether this was because of the empty storyline or the acting I don't know. The acting was diabolical. Possibly the worst acting I've ever seen. You know the acting is bad when you get the overwhelming impression that you're watching a bunch of actors, acting. It felt like Dakota 'Blue' Richards (Franky) was reading her lines for the first time. And that she had reading difficulties. I struggled to place 'Mini's' weird accent and this unnerved me greatly. There might have been other characters but I kept forgetting if I was watching Skins or that thing on BBC Switch called 'The Cut' which is so crap it's almost good.
It was disgustingly bad. I had to watch it again to make sure it really was that awful, and it was. I shall be watching next week's episode because there is nothing on TV at the moment, but I am disappointed and betrayed.