This week we are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the debut of Skins, inarguably the greatest teen show of all time.
The transition to a new cast from Skins’s original gang from Seasons 1 and 2 was easier than it could have been because of Effy (Kaya Scodelario): Tony Stonem’s party-city little sister, whose quiet force added a mystique even in a minor role. With Effy as the star character and centrifugal force for the next two seasons, the show was fully devoted to chaos, showing an even darker side of teen life than before. Effy was self-destructive and impulsive, which manifested in a kind of mania by the end; she was the eye of a hurricane love triangle between devoted, grounded boyfriend Freddie (Luke Pasqualino) and her spiritual match, the troublemaker Cook (Jack O’Connell), who drank too much and had a pair of decrepit hands tattooed on his ass which, for some reason, made Effy want to fuck him.
Seasons 3 and 4 were marked by a truly bizarre twist that no one could have predicted: the unexpected murder of Freddie at the hands of the jealous therapist who is stalking Effy, a death later avenged at the hands of Cook. It was confusing and absurd, but it also didn’t fully matter since Season 4 was ending, and it had been characterized by subtler, tenderer moments, including a storyline in which Emily, the younger of a twin duo, comes to terms with being gay and falls in love with Naomi. Their romance was far better fleshed-out than Maxxie’s gay storyline in the first two seasons, and would set the stage for the gender fluidity and sexual experimentation explored in the final generation.
Jack O’Connell, who has often spoken publicly about the way his real-life teen years mimicked those of Cook’s, clearly became this generation’s biggest star; he has been directed by Angelina Jolie in Unbroken, Jodie Foster in Money Monster, and will portray Alexander McQueen in an upcoming biopic. (O’Connell has also, for some reason, been cast in a weird amount of wartime period films, including ‘71, Unbroken, Private Peaceful, and HHhH.)
Kaya Scodelario—who, during their time on the show, actually dated Jack O’Connell in real life—was set to be another breakout star, though she’s become more famous at a much steadier pace in the U.S. than her cohort. She’s had a stream of roles in several extremely British movies—The Clash of the Titans remake, Shank, Wuthering Heights—and is now going for that Hollywood money, set to complete her leading role in the very good, teen-oriented Maze Runner trilogy and replacing Keira Knightly as the swashbuckling-but-pretty character in the Pirates of the Caribbean series with the forthcoming Dead Men Tell No Tales. Weird factual anecdote: she’s married to a dude who’s played both Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson.
You’ll remember young bae from his star turn as a martial arts killa in Snowpiercer, and/or the first time you felt super weird. Luke Pasqualino was in The Borgias, which I guess a lot of people watched, but should be more famous. This year he will be in a film dramatically titled Solar Eclipse: Depth of Darkness, which is apparently about Partition and the assassination of Gandhi. Word, word.
Kathryn Prescott’s complicated portrayal of Emily Fitch ensured her continued roles, including the lead on MTV’s Finding Carter and a newer role in 24: Legacy. On Skins, she acted alongside her IRL twin sister Megan, who is now doing her thing as a bodybuilder.
Other Second Generation Characters: Naomi Campbell (Lily Loveless, who’s a quite successful British actress of TV and film); JJ Jones (Ollie Barbieri), Pandora Moon (Lisa Backwell) and Thomas Tomone (Merveille Lukeba), WHERE ARE YOU NOW MY Gs?
Tomorrow, we’ll get into the PATHOS of the Third Generation.