It has been announced that two of the most beloved stars from the third generation of Skins, the best-ever British teen show, have been cast in ABC's new drama Recovery Road. Those teens are Jessica Sula, who played Skins' prim beauty Grace, and Sebastian de Souza, who was the brooding loner Matty and makes me feel like a dirty old woman (sorry). They are excellent.
In Recovery Road, which is based on lifelong YA novelist Blake Nelson's book of the same name, Sula will play the lead character, Maddie, a drug addicted high school student who is forced to go to rehab. De Souza plays Stewart, another addict and her and my love interest. In the past, de Souza has been delivered
from the heavens to our screens via The Borgias, the Showtime show, but who the hell subscribes to Showtime. Recovery Road will be the first American-broadcast show for Sula, but it's not the first for many of their Skins cohorts, and thank god for that, because we really need the Brits to continue exporting these actors to our shows, thank you very much.
Skins was special and spectacular for many reasons, not least of which because it cast real teens through open calls across the country. Some of the leads had acting experience before—most notably, Nicholas Hoult (who played randy hottie Tony Stonem) and Dev Patel (who played goofy nerd Anwar) are both rising stars Stateside. But for the most part, Skins' spectacular combo of realistic writing and real-kid antics (drugs! sex! raves!) worked because of the tenderness of the cast, Sula and deSouza included. They were unaffected and wore their emotions plainly, raw as real teenagers are. And as they've grown, they've become equally excellent adult actors, with real shots at international fame. We've seen them on Game of Thrones (Hannah Murray, Joe Dempsie); in Snowpiercer (Luke Pasqualino); in The Maze Runner (Kaya Scodelario); in Unbroken (Jack O'Connell); in About Time (Will Merrick). For some of us, spotting ex Skins stars has become an armchair hobby, in hopes that their careers will flourish and we can be reminded of some of the magic they had on that now-cancelled show. (Where is Mike Bailey aka Sid?!)
It is also possible that the fanaticism among adults for Skins is confined to the United States (we tried to make our own version; it failed miserably for a multitude of reasons, not least of which was its sensationalism, antithetical to the heart of the show). A friend of mine grew up in Bristol, where the show was set; I asked him once if he liked it and he shrugged and was just like, "Not really, cause that was basically my life growing up so why would I need to watch it on television." (Paraphrased.) It must be nice to have a teen life that is so rife with the most awesome raves and ecstasy! I suppose that is why he is an internationally renowned DJ and I am sitting here writing you this blog. It is also a good point to tell you that Skins had the best music and theme song, courtesy director/producer Segal, and it shifted every season. Series five was my favorite version.
Ugh bring back Skins. And Matty. And Freddie. And Cook. Ugh.