Skins

Season 1 Episode 1

Tony

2
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 17, 2011 on MTV - Music Television
5.0
out of 10
User Rating
78 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
A group of teenagers, 5 girls and 4 boys, are introduced in this US version of the hit UK series. The first episode introduces us to Tony.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Couldn't top the rawness of the UK version. But, does pull out the stops and manages to keep one entertained.

    7.5
    Yep, that's pretty much my biggest complaint while watching the premiere - the rawness was partly missing. The UK version just really hit it off with the realism. And the fact that Nick Holt can act, well that was probably underrated at the time but it shone through during the UK premiere. The fact this show was still edgy despite the fact that there are fewer boundaries about what can be aired in the UK was explicit. Needless to say I was already expecting large cuts to the swearing and nudity in the US version (I mean come on, we're way too impressionable here in North America), but hey the crew really still pulls out all the stops on this premiere. Now it isn't so bad that all the swearing (a mere 3 bleeped out f-words compared to the 100+ in the UK version) and nudity is out. I'm not a fan of swearing anyway... but teens still certainly do swear these days, so that again brings back the point of rawness. The premiere episode does keep the viewer very entertained. One aspect of the rawness remains: the sexual quips and innuendos of "teen-life" are still there. It's raunchy, just like the UK. And it's fast-paced and includes more dialogue and probably more actual scenes than any other teen drama currently on the air.



    The story is practically the exact same. But that's fine with me, it's a well written UK pilot that the US crew knew they would have to give credit to. There were quite a few subtle differences though, which I enjoyed noting. The scenes are clearly very similar to the UK version, but the big difference in this first episode is the edited arrangement of the scenes. I actually thought it flowed better in this version.moreless
  • The grit and honesty of the UK version makes way for a very plastic and hollow experience.

    2.0
    I have seen all of the UK version so far and though I have never been a big fan (with teen brothers it is more their thing) I have always admired how honest the show is and well it is acted by the teens cast in the roles and as such many have gone on to do some great work (Slumdog's Dev Patel being the best example). I wish I could say that this show is just as good. On the surface it has the same elements but it seems that the final execution of the show has come with a more hollywood sheen combined with the goal to be smutty just for the sake of it. I'm not saying the UK version wasn't smutty but it wasn't doing it so that teen boys could get a hard-on like this one is. It served as more of a side note of a tone and mood that the show was taking in its attempt to be more than a teen soapy and rather be something that people look at and relate.



    The ep is essentially a shot for shot remake of the first ep in the UK series. Not to say that this is a bad thing, great conversions like The Office and Life on Mars started the same way. But once again its so much the dialogue or events that happened in the episode rather the execution of them. There was just nothing making you feel like these characters are real people with their own sets of goals as well as hopes and dreams. This may have to do with the obvilously terrible performances from pretty much everyone in the cast. Most of the them seem like they are simply impersonating the characters in the UK show and doing a poor effort of it. The best example of this the focal point in this pilot being Tony, the UK Tony was a scumbag too but he was at the very least a little bit likeable.



    Come to think of it that was another problem, from the outset I have no sympathy towards any of the characters we are supposed to be rooting for. That scene nearing the end where they SUV crashes into the lake, I was praying none of them would bob their heads back up again. What the show needs to do in the coming eps is come into their own and forget they are a knock off of another show and try and portray these kids to be real kids with real issues and they are not just horrible manequins they stole from an outlet store.



    Just to be clear I am not British and I am not a fan by of the old show. I am Australian and I have been of the belief that most US remakes have actually done a better job than their UK originals. Most recently Shameless has proven that and The US Office has to be in my top 5 favourite TV shows of all time. But come on, right now this show just plain sucks!moreless
  • 101

    5.0
    I came in watching this show expecting to like it, I've never watched the UK version, but it was probably better than this. I don't know where to start, at how ridiculous some of the story lines were or how absolutely unrealistic the interactions were. Maybe this element was in both versions, but I just didn't like what I watched tonight. I was having trouble relating to any of the characters, and most of them just annoyed me beyond belief.



    These characters are definitely not instantly likable especially Tony, and don't even get me started on Stanley. I'm in high school, and I don't think anyone is like this. The characters were simply not relatable, uninteresting, and just irritating. I found myself wondering if some things were actually happening. Like when they drove the truck in to the lake.



    Also the pacing was quite off too. It was incredibly boring for maybe the first half hour of the show, but then things started picking up at an alarming rate, and the character's decisions didn't make sense. Maybe I just have to watch more, because I simply am not getting it. (Also may I say, this was the worst acting I've seen in a while).moreless
  • It's not the fact that it's a UK to US program that makes the pilot poor, it's the way the pilot is done itself.

    4.0
    Trying to adapt a UK series into a US series can be hard, mainly due to the content from the original UK counterpart that has to be watered down and censored.



    UK Skins is by far very graphic, and while the US version is graphic as well, the watered down process makes it lose it's quality a bit (i.e. replacing UK Tony's naked bed spread with spiders for the US Tony).



    But that impact is not very considerable compared to everything else. This pilot could have still been rather strong considering the circumstances. Being that the creator of the UK series is running the US series as well, the creator had a 2nd shot to make things he got wrong the first time right the 2nd time. But they didn't take this oppurtinity.



    The unpleasantries of the original UK Skins pilot are still abound in the US pilot. Not only that, but unlike the UK Skins, the casting doesn't seem very good for the pilot, which is a bit concerning because that is the main attraction for the audience.



    Some changes to this version don't really have an effect positively or negatively. I found the original UK Skins pilot to be a touch weak, and rehashing that material with more programs made this pilot even weaker.moreless
  • Tony tries to help his best friend lose his viriginity.

    8.0
    It's an unfortunate coincidence that a whole bunch of remakes of British series are debuting within a couple of weeks of each other this winter, because any review any critic can offer for any of them will inevitably end up being less about the series themselves and more about the perils of adaptation, about what's different about these versions from the original British versions, and about whether there's something in the DNA of the original that just doesn't work in an American setting. So it's kind of a puzzlement to me that of the big three British remakes this January, the one I like best is the one that does least to go against its roots.



    Three of the four episodes, so far, of the American remake of Skins are practically barely Americanized versions of the original British scripts. The fourth is one that had to be changed substantially because of who was cast in the part at its center, but it's still an episode that cannily remixes lots of elements from the original series, changing just enough to scrape by in a new country with a new actor. But something is so strong about the original concept and the original structure of Skins that it doesn't matter, even if you've seen the original series. Sure, if you've seen the original, basically nothing here can surprise or shock you. But the stories are strong, the actors are sporadically very good, and the direction is great. This probably works because adolescence is adolescence everywhere. It's a time to feel alienated and overwhelmed and hateful toward your parents and other authority figures. It's a time when hormones are running rampant, and the need to chase some sort of high, often chemical, can become all-pervasive. And while Skins has gotten a lot of press in both the United Kingdom and over here about its salacious aspects-about the fact that there's a fair amount of sex and drug use-the thing the show most nails is the sense of ennui that comes with being a teenager, the realization that your dreams might not come true and the realization that your parents, irritating as they are, are fellow human beings who were once like you and probably look back at those times with a sense of loss. If you go to Wikipedia and read plot summaries of episodes, it's sometimes shocking to realize that the events listed in those summaries are literally the ONLY events that happen in a given episode. Everything else is often turned over to the gang of kids at the story's center just hanging out or partying or wandering the streets of the unnamed city they live in.



    Let's start with what doesn't work. As Tony, James Newman simply can't live up to Nicholas Hoult's performance in the original series. To his credit, he often doesn't try. But that's also to his detriment. It's far too easy to make Tony feel like one of those "only on TV" types of characters without a strong actor in the role. Tony's charisma is the thing that holds this little band of disparate friends together, and his casual manipulation of everyone in the group is almost frightening to behold from time to time. Without a strong actor, the part becomes just a casual dick, and it's hard to see why anyone hangs out with the guy, outside of his vague, alpha-male-ness. Hoult was strong enough to hold the center of the show. Newman gets better as this version goes along, but he's simply not as charismatic, and it gives the show a severe detriment. Late in the fourth episode, one character describes Tony as having the "cheat codes to life," and while Hoult was the living embodiment of that idea, Newman just sort of seems to float along, cruising on ineffability and pissing off his dad.



    An unfortunate side effect of this phenomenon is the fact that without a strong actor, some of the story developments, particularly in tonight's first episode, can feel straight out of a standard-issue teen soap or even a cheesy sitcom about teenagers who escape from various improbable scrapes by the skin of their teeth. Tonight's premiere is absolutely filled with moments like this, moments when it almost seems as if the writers want us to chuckle, shake our heads, and say, "Those crazy kids!" as if we're watching an Archie comic come to life, just filled with a lot more casual pill-popping. This version is also stripped of the original version's strong sense of place. Everything that happens seems to vaguely take place in New York City, but there's often too much of an effort to make things feel like every-city. Adolescence is the same at some base, emotional level everywhere, but the circumstances are wildly dependent on where you grow up as well, so the loss of any real sense of where this is supposed to be situated hurts the show. And finally, this being MTV, the series is scored by wall-to-wall pop music, and while it's almost all well-chosen, it can also be distracting.



    But a curious thing happens as the series goes on. The episode that has the least to do with the original is scheduled to air second, and it's a fantastic episode of television, despite some genuinely terrible moments. It gives the characters more room to breathe, letting us get to know some of the faces other than Tony. And while the acting is spotty in general, the ensemble does feature some terrific discoveries, one of whom is featured in episode two. Her name's Sofia Black D'Elia, and she plays Tea, the character Maxxie has become. So instead of a gay teenage boy who's a dancer, Tea's a lesbian, teenage girl who's a cheerleader. This has the unfortunate side effect of having the flirtation that plays out between Tea and Tony feel a lot more cliché than the flirtation between Tony and Maxxie felt, but nearly everything else feels fresh and new, even as you're sort of aware it's a remix of the original. And there's a lot here that feels uniquely American, in and of itself, like some neat business about what it means to subsume yourself into the identity of America when immigrating here and some focus on tensions between ethnic communities on the Eastern seaboard.



    And even though the series snaps right back to exactly copying the original in the episodes after that, it becomes easier to let go and just go with what's happening here. There's still a central, basic rush to the structure of Skins, to the idea that every episode is a peek into a new character's life, like Lost, sort of, but much more extensive and in depth, until you get a sense of this group of friends as both a collective and a series of individuals. You see how they fill in each other's gaps. You sense where they'll drift apart after high school. You can't quite put your finger on how they'll think of these years in 20 years, but you get the sense many of them will end up like their parents, looking back on a world they can't quite believe they were ever a part of. There's a thrill to watching the opening credits sequence and seeing the small shot at the end that indicates which character we're going to learn more about this week, realizing how extensive and deep the characters and their experiences run.



    There's bad dialogue scattered throughout. There's bad acting all over the place, flat and affectless and sapping everything out of even the best lines. And there's a sense that, yeah, you've seen this before, even if you've never seen the original Skins. But sometimes, the show just shuts up for a moment, and the music plays, and the images roll out, like a hazy dream of what was and what is and what will always be, a time when people are almost adults, but not quite, unsure of their place in things. Two friends ride on a merry-go-round and take swigs out of a bottle of vodka. A girl jumps on a trampoline as the snow softly falls around her. Kids drag each other into the lake, a boy longing for a girl he'll never, ever have, something he knows but something he can't actually bring himself to think. And when these things happen, when the camera just sits back and watches, there are moments of stark beauty to see here. Skins isn't perfect. It's not even strictly necessary. But I'm glad it's there.moreless
Sabrina Grdevich

Sabrina Grdevich

Renee Synder

Guest Star

Greg Ellwand

Greg Ellwand

Mad Mao Le Dong

Guest Star

Tenika Davis

Tenika Davis

Jamazia

Guest Star

Katie Henney

Katie Henney

Tabitha Cook

Recurring Role

Anastasia Phillips

Anastasia Phillips

Tina

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Tony performs some boxing moves when he gets up in the morning. The actor that plays Tony (James Milo Newman) actually trained and boxed in real life.

    • The mailbox outside of Tony's blonde neighbour's house reads "S SMITH". This is a little hidden tribute to the director Scott Smith.

    • Tony sees the blond neighbor getting her mail from a curbside mailbox. This is clearly an out of place prop because most urban areas (as in Toronto) use large community postal boxes, in addition to still being hand-delivered in some areas.

    • Notable Differences from the UK Version: - Instead of starting with Tony Snyder waking up (UK), the episode opens Eura Snyder outside her house
      - Tony's bed sheets have spiders on then whereas in the UK version there were naked bodies - Tony doesn't play music as he exercises while in the UK version, Tony played music quietly
      - Tony's boxers are black and white while in the UK version they were plain white
      - The lady across the street is dark haired in the UK version but blond in the US version - Just 3 (bleeped) f-words while the UK version has no shortage of swears
      - Daisy is the substitute character for Jal of the UK version; their instrument interests have changed as well: Daisy plays the trumpet, but Jal plays the clarinet
      - On the bus, Stanley watches a video of Michelle while Sid (UK) only had pictures (technology has helped a bit here)
      - Cadie is the substitute character for Cassie (UK)
      - Tea is the substitute character for Maxxie (UK)
      - Abbud's name is slightly altered from Anwar (UK)
      - Cadie pees in the bush after the ordeal instead of Anwar (UK)
      - Chris doesn't end up getting left behind when the car goes into the water while in the UK version, Chris and his girlfriend from the house party get left behind
      - Many of the actual scenes of the US version are very similar to the UK version but they are arranged in a different order

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Production: Although set in Baltimore, the first season was actually mostly shot in Toronto. MTV Canada could not get clearance to air the series because of the content, so specialty channels The Movie Network and Movie Central share the rights to air the show.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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