Gossip Girl encountered its fair share of criticism about its sex, drugs, and other vaguely inappropriate content when it premiered last Fall. But frankly, the Upper East Siders have nothing on the cast of Skins, the British show that premieres Sunday on BBC America. This show takes the limits of American TV and stomps all over them — and that's even without the edited-out language and nudity.
Skins, which just wrapped up its second season in the UK, is the rare show about teenagers that's actually written by people who remember well enough what it was like to be one: The show's writing staff has an average age of 22. The main character is Tony (played by Nicholas Hoult, aka the little kid from About a Boy — just try to get your mind around that one), the hottest and most popular guy in town; he, of course, has a gorgeous girlfriend, Michelle, to go along with his status. And then there's Sid, Tony's nerdy friend, who enlists Tony's help in losing his virginity in the first episode and somehow ends up buying a large quantity of weed. Sid's maybe the most relatable character of the bunch, but the one I loved the most in the first episode was Cassie, a spacey, anorexic, drug-addled beauty who thinks everything in the world is beautiful — except, possibly, for herself.
My UK friends told me the show builds slowly but deserves all its buzz (and acclaim, including a prize at this year's Rose d'Or festival) by the end. The first episode left me wanting another, so it's a good thing that Sunday's BBC America premiere will have two episodes back to back starting at 9 p.m. EDT and PDT. To watch the US preview — and then the original UK preview, which looks oddly like an Abercrombie ad with more drugs and puking and is probably NSFW — just
Photo courtesy of BBC America