How To Make the American Version of Skins Not Suck

Remember last week when we urged you to watch Skins, and how it's now your new favorite British TV show? Now there is going to be an American version, for those of you who don't speak British. MTV announced yesterday that they are developing a new iteration, to be set in Baltimore. According to Liz Gateley, MTV's SVP of series development, the network has been trying to acquire the rights for years. Original series creators Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain are coming along to run the show, and will at least write the pilot.

The history of British-to-American TV series is inconsistent. For every success story, like The Office, there are plenty of misses. Anyone remember the American version of Coupling? NBC wishes they didn't. However, MTV used to have a history of producing edgy original programming, like Undressed, and The State. So we are cautiously optimistic. The fact that the original creators will be in charge is also encouraging, and MTV might be a good fit. But to help ensure Skins' success, we have a few suggestions.

Don't set it in New York or Los Angeles.
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Skins will at least be set in, if not filmed in, Baltimore, which is a good thing. Setting the show in New York or LA will make it seem too similar to the roughly 99% of teen soaps set there, and will get away from one of the best part about Skins—that it's about middle-class, so-called "normal" teenagers. Teenagers in New York and LA have the maturity level of 25-year-olds everywhere else, and therefore have different sets of issues -- like the need for health insurance and country club memberships.

Air it late at night.
When the British version airs on BBC America, it's heavily censored to the point of distraction. Skins is a show that needs to be able to use bad words and deal honestly with topics like drugs and sex. Airing it at 8 PM will limit its ability to do so. We're not asking for a character to have an abortion (not allowed on American TV), like Jal did in season 2, but we don't want the show to be neutered by the censors, either.

Resist the temptation to put any of MTV's reality stars in it
Laguna Beach and The Hills are heavily scripted, but that doesn't mean that Whitney, Lauren, Kristin or (gasp) Audrina are good actresses. Kristin's appearance on Veronica Mars was the worst performance in the history of that show, and that's saying something on a show that featured Paris Hilton in more than one episode. Skins is a new direction for MTV, and they should stay away from any attempt at "corporate synergy."

In fact, just cast teenagers in the teen roles.
The British version started with a whole new cast in season 3 because the original cast had aged out of their roles. American television is notorious for casting twentysomethings as high school students. That's fine for shows like 90210 or Gossip Girl, but Skins takes its realism much more seriously. We hope this follows through to the casting. Plus, it would be nice to give some young actors a shot. After all, Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel got his start on Skins.

Order more than a pilot.
So far, MTV is only committed to produce a pilot. A show like Skins, where every episode is centered around a single character, might need more time to gain traction and develop an audience than a single installment allows. Granted, scripted TV is more expensive to produce than reality shows, but it would be nice to give this show the financial commitment it deserves.

We're pretty sure most of these suggestions have already occurred to Elsley and Brittain. They have a proven track record, and it's likely that the U.S. version of Skins will just feel like a 5th season of the British version. If that turns out to be true, MTV could have a colossal hit on their hands.

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MTV will ruin this incredible show, cuz everything they touch turns to ****. See, this is just an example. I can\'t write the word **** in this comment because everything in America is watered down and censored, which is exactly what MTV will do to this adaptation if they get a hold of it.
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America sucks when it comes to a lot of things and this is definitely one. They will make this show and ruin it even more than it has been with the last season. We should just take the hint and stop messing up shows already, especially Skins.
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WORST IDEA IN TV HISTORY. THIS WHOLE SHOW IS ALREADY DONE FOR.
stick with the first generation kids in the first 2 seasons. it's all you need.
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If they want to make an american version of Skins let them. I won't have to watch it, I'll stick with our own!
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It WILL suck no matter what they do. Skins is a British programme, you can't capture its intrinsic value in remaking it.
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Nothing will replace America's My So Called Life in my life, let the UK hold Skins as an original property. Wasn't Gossip Girl supposed to be the edgy competition anyways. And MTV has a poor track record with me, but I'm old, maybe they're young and savvy enough to do it. Back to VH1 with me. 1 World
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Here we go again another attempt to make a British show Americanized. And I hope they don't screw it up!
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PLZ DONT RUIN SKINS JUST WATCH BRITISH ONE!!!
its in english too(i swear it is)
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here's a way to make a version of skins that doesn't suck: don't do it. For gods sake.

Also, Paris Hilton was only in one episode of VM, episode 2.
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I am crossing my fingers and hoping beyhond hope that MTV doesn't screw this up. But I have a bad feeling about this.
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well its already on mtv, so its a few steps in the wrong direction
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If MTV is doing it, I can expect a nonminority mixed cast. Sorry MTV not thanks, I will watch the original version that I have on DVD.
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Please no don't do it. Skins is so good now and we americans will just ruin it. Plus if you are gonna do it you need it to be set on Showtime or HBO. Not regular TV. The States have way to much censorship.
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well since the show sucks on its own it would be impossible to make the dub any better.
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Thats all well and good, but how can we make the orignal British version ok SKINS not suck?
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Don't make an American version of Skins. America is great at their own original programming, they shouldn't be stealing Britain's. If it's made by MTV, it will automatically suck.
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Oh MTV MTV MTV. Why dont you just disappear and let us wipe your last 15-20 years from our memories.
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I have a feeling this is going to be another Life in Mars fiasco.
I'll stay tuned though.
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Why MTV wants to ruin Skins? plz don't. Skins is a great show and I don't think they can top the original series. I was watching MTV and then I saw a skins thingy and I was like so excited because I thought that MTV was going to show British Skins but then I realized about this and then I was like...what?
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No No No No NO!!!!!
Have American television producers forgotten how to come up with an original idea?
Bad, bad, bad idea. The fact that the British version is censored beyond belief in America, just shows that it isn't going to work because that is WHY Skins works over here because we don't care about offending people and that's kind of the whole point to Skins, the fact that it's based on REAL teenage situations, such as drug-use, sex and violence. Stuff that Americans are too sensitive towards. Not gonna work!!
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What's with the spoiler? Some people may not have seen season 2 and you just ruined that Jal gets pregnant/abortion for them!
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This isin't going to work, the british series are great and the fact of it being british helps a lot. Sorry but I don't think MTV will be able to pull it off.
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If they set it in Baltimore, they're going to have to employ a little more diversity than the original.
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no cast members who are model/actors
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this will be terrible, probably just as bad as the original series which isnt worth looking forward to, to be honest. the current program consists of a cast that cannot act one bit
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This is going to be a disaster.
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