Skins - Complete Series 1 - 4 Box Set DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 9.0
Audio 8.0
Special Features 10
Total 8.5
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 1927 Minutes
Classification:
 R18+
Reviewer: Simon Black

8.5


Skins - Complete Series 1 - 4
Box Set

One of the most memorable, edgy and frenetic British dramadies of the past decade, the cheeky, chirpy series Skins offers, upon first glance, a rather bleak view of contemporary teenage life.  Death, suicide, drugs, sexual confusion, teenage pregnancy, delinquency, psychosis, the loss of faith and eating disorders are only a smattering of the topics explored throughout, and that’s just the first season.  The show is all far from doom and gloom, however, and there’s more than enough vitality from the singularly adroit cast to ensure the writing flirts with pathos, but never quite succumbs to it. 

Skins follows a rigid if somewhat unique structure; every two seasons revolves around a different generation of British high schoolers, and each episode is both named after and devoted to a different character.  Seasons One and Two revolve around the popular, cocky Tony (Nicholas Hoult), his misfit buddy Sid (Mike Bailey) and their crew of ragtag cronies which includes Tony’s long-suffering girlfriend Michelle (April Pearson), the beautiful, eccentric Cassie (Hannah Murray) and part-time Muslim Anwar (Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel).  Throughout the course of the hormone-ridden series friendships are tested, copies amounts of drugs and alcohol ingested and the storyline builds to a singularly dramatic conclusion whose effects are felt long into the second season, which is also excellent, if darker and slightly less satisfying than its predecessor. 

By the beginning of Season Three, the members of the original cast are all growed up, and the new Queen Bee is Tony’s sexy, popular younger sister Effy (Kaya Scodelario).  The characters of the second generation are an emotionally complex bunch, to say the least.  Effy is a complicated blend of darkness and light, and a complete contrast to her innocent, sexually naive bestie Pandora (Lisa Blackwell).  A trio of close friends both dominate and propel much of the on-screen drama, namely rebellious Lothario James (Jack O’Connell), laid-back stoner Freddie (Luke Pasqualino) and the autistic JJ (Ollie Barbieri).  Crucial impetus is also provided by twin sisters Katie and Emily Fitch.  Outwardly identical, their inner world couldn’t be more different; Katie is a homophobic social climber and Emily spends much of her time struggling to come to terms with her lesbianism and the (seemingly) unrequited love she has for the passionate and ambitious Naomi (Lily Loveless). 

As you will have no doubt gathered there’s plenty going on in the world of Skins, and with a 32-hour runtime this four volume, 12-disc box set won’t see you getting bored anytime soon.  It’s a first rate presentation for a first rate show, and the set is complimented by an absolute slew of extras that will doubtless please long-term fans and offer all the more incentive for the uninitiated to take the plunge.  Some of the plotlines occasionally take a surreal turn and the occasional unfortunate soap opera cliché also surfaces, but on the whole the writing is top notch, the cast are superb and as both a drama and a comedy Skins is one of the most successful, enjoyable and consistent shows ever to spawn from Old Blighty. 

Audio & Video

The 16:9 widescreen transfer is well nice, innit. A vibrant and defect-free image prevails throughout, and though the audio is only a 2-channel it’s a spirited and perfectly commendable affair, complimented by a cutting edge, indier-than-thou soundtrack featuring the likes of Florence and the Machine, Santigold, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Bon Iver and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 

Bonus Features

To call it a bumper crop is something of an understatement.  This 12-disc monster of a set is brimming with top notch bonus content, including cast and crew audio commentaries, audition footage, deleted scenes, cast and crew interviews, promo spots, Video Diaries, Skins Shorts, Christmas with Skins, and plenty more.  All in all there are many hours worth of extras, making this an absolute must-have for fans. 






 
 



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