Do you want to hear a story? Of course you want to hear a story. Why else would you have clicked on a blog post written by me if you didn’t want to hear a story. So here’s a story: When I finished reading the final Harry Potter, I said to myself, “Heather Anne, you know this is the last book you will ever read, don’t you?” And then — because I’d been up reading for a whole night — I answered myself, “Yes, Heather Anne. This is the end of magic.” Because, really, what could possibly be a better story than the best story ever written? Answer: Nothing.
Which is to say I understand why your Feelings about Skins USA turned to FEELINGS about Skins USA when the first trailer dropped yesterday. There was a whole lot of: “It will never be UK Skins!” Which: True. And despite the first look at the first episode, it’s not trying to be UK Skins. And a whole lot of: “They will never be able to recreate Naomily!” Which: Also true. And they’re not trying to do that either. Wrong generation, for starters.
Actually, I think Skins creator/showrunner Bryan Elsley can be a little more succinct:
Or how about a second Skins USA trailer to prove it!
Hey again, Tea! I see you there, being adorable.
And I see you getting your swerve on.
And getting it on again. (Hi, other Teenage Lesbian.)
I know you Skins fans are cautious — because you’ve experienced magic and how can anyone ask you to go back now? But consider this:
The source of authentic, organic, moving stories is the storyteller. There are storytellers who are in it for fame and fortune, storytellers who are in it to push their own agenda, storytellers who suck and storytellers who don’t give a s–t. You know how I know? Because I watch American TV. And there is some of the s–ttiest s–t to ever be s–t on American TV right now — especially when it comes to lesbian and bisexual characters. First of all, where are they? Second of all, the ones we do see are mostly used for Sweeps week titillation and supporting roles where their sexuality is never explored. It’s that (shitty) climate that allowed UK Skins/Naomily to fall through the vortex of dismay, right into our hearts. And the source of UK Skins/Naomily? Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain.
Yes, there are some similarities between the US and UK versions. Yes, there are stricter Standards and Practices in on this side of the pond. Yes, I miss Naomily too. But when a guy who has proven his commitment to characters — gay and lesbian ones, especially — introduces something to American TV and says, “Please give it a chance,” you can bet your Curly Wurly bar I’m going to give it a go.
I’ve talked to a lot of TV writers and showrunners in my day, and Elsley is more committed to getting it right than anyone I’ve ever met.
I conducted a Twitter poll this morning, asking for a show of hands about who was going to give US Skins a chance. Dozens of people voiced their support. This one was my favorite:
In Elsley We Trust.
I mean, Harry Potter left Hogwarts, but that doesn’t mean all the magic got sucked out of the whole world. So who’s with me? Raise your hand if you’re going to be awesome and give Skins USA a fair chance? (If it sucks, I promise you, we’ll hate it together.)