Picking up six months after the end of Skins maiden season, this second series maintains the terrifically high standard set by the first. In its basic form a drama about teenagers, the trick to Skins is that it sidesteps the many, many clichés of the genre, and instead offers gritty, quite brilliantly written television.
Whats more, Skins is viewing that pulls no punches. By turns very funny, gripping and dramatic, it picks up the story of a group of under 20s in Bristol, dealing with issues of religion, sexuality and sex, among others. But it does this through a cast of three dimensional characters (each facing tough challenges of their own), suitably well realised by the primarily young cast. A selection of guest stars, including Harry Enfield, Bill Bailey and Shane Richie also appear.
But is the second series of Skins better than the first? Yes, not least because its willing to take risks, to evolve and darken the narrative a little, yet still remember to put its characters at the fore. Its still a show that may baffle an older audience, but stands as a shining beacon as to what Channel 4 can achieve when it backs proper British dramas. Roll on series three. --Jon Foster