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Skins - Series 7 (2013)

10th September 2013

All six episodes of the seventh and final series of the drama about the chaotic lives and loves of a group of young people. This time round the show follows three characters from previous series - Effy, Cassie and Cook. Having moved on from college they are now dealing with the pressures and dangers of living in the real world.
Kaya Scodelario, Lily Loveless, Kathryn Prescott, Jack O'Connell, Hannah Murray, Kayvan Novak, Lara Pulver
Comedy, Drama
2
4 Hours 48 Minutes
12/08/2013

Entering dark new territory, series favourites Hannah Murray, Jack O'Connell and Kaya Scodelario return for a final last fling. With compelling new territory and more adult and uncompromising settings, the series aims to go out with a bang. As the programme's audience has matured, so has a series which is prepared to shock and leave no social boundary unexplored.

Now in their early twenties, the party's over and they're starting out as young adults, struggling to find a direction and focus in unforgiving times. With three new stories, split over two seperate episodes, each iconic character has their own distinct title: Skins Fire (Effy), Skins Pure (Cassie) and Skins Rise (Cook). Lily Loveless (Naomi) and Kat Prescott (Emily) also appear in guest roles.

  • Fire - Effy (Kaya Scodelario) has a dead end job as a receptionist for a leading London Hedge Fund. But as she stumbles across crucial financial information relating to a troubled deal and embarks on an affair with her wealthy boss, she finds out that she has bitten off more than she can chew. Her flatmate Naomi (Lily Loveless) tries to stop Effy from ruining her life, but Effy cannot be reached; until tragedy strikes
  • Pure - Cassie (Hannah Murray) is adrift, alone and invisible in London, trying to make sense of her life. Slowly she realises that someone is following her. Cassie turns towards the unknown. A strange and poignant friendship is carved out of mutual loneliness, but can it survive exposure to the real world?
  • Rise - Jamie Brittain - Cook (Jack O'Connell) has a job delivering drugs to Manchester Revellers. When he is asked to help his employer's girlfriend find a house and finds that he is irresistibly attracted to her, he sets off a train of events which will lead him into a world of savage revenge and a confrontation with his own violent past.

Given that the Skins series was shot in High Definition throughout, it goes without saying that, without the compression restrictions of digital television, Series 7 looks stunning on DVD. Not only is cinematography simply breath-taking, the visuals are gobsmacking gorgeous too. Images are pin sharp with some wonderful levels of detail, especially during the "Pure" episodes, oodles of rich and deep colours plus some superbly reproduced dark scenes with solid black levels. Quite why this series hasn't been released on Blu-ray is beyond me as the results would have been simply stunning - and worthy of paying the extra for.

Sound wise, the restrictions of digital television mean that we're only presented with a 192Kbps Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Whilst this could be considered a little disappointing, it still manages to produce an extremely involving soundtrack that really helps make each episode even more compelling viewing. The dialogue is crisp and clear whilst the music and the various sound effects are well balanced.

Using a similar design to the cover artwork, the menu system is pleasingly animated and scored with the episode themes and various cut scenes playing in the background whilst accompanied by some eerie music. Episode wise, they are spread across two discs and each disc allows the user to either select a single episode from a sub-menu or watch them all in one go.

Unfortunately, extras wise, there's not a jot to be had here - and I certainly don't count subtitles as being an extra. As this series was to be last, where were the interviews with the cast and crew - past and present? It's a massive oversight and, considering that earlier releases contained Interviews with Cast and Crew, Featurettes and Deleted Scenes, this vanilla release is a slap in the face to the fans and simply a hurried release to coincide with the final screenings on E4.

At least the complete journey box-set offers some value (assuming fans don't already own them - which is fairly unlikely). It's a real missed opportunity to bow out on a high and round off the series with something special.

Written by series creators Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain with Jess Brittain, the first series of Skins was broadcast on British television channel E4 in January 2007. It detailed, occasionally in rather graphic detail, the lives of a group of sixth-formers at Roundview College in Bristol. As tends to be the case for home grown programmes from Channel 4, it proved to be a controversial and ground-breaking show with sex and drug use prominent along with exploring other issues such as dysfunctional families, mental illness, death and bullying.

With the six previous series set mainly in Bristol, the change of scenery to London and Manchester gives the final series a new and different twist. Whilst I haven't seen any of the other series, there's certainly no reason why other people like myself can't join this series and enjoy the results. With the different locations it has a refreshing feeling of a completely different drama series not unlike something akin to Silent Witness or Accused. Sure, it probably helps to know and understand the characters backgrounds, but it's by no means a necessity - and it makes the series even more enjoyable for it.

I'm not sure whether I'd enjoy the earlier series, but as a standalone series, series 7 is utterly superb and a thoroughly enjoyable watch. With thought-provoking story lines and superb cinematography (which is all the more remarkable for a television series), it’s a must see – even if you’re not a fan of the Skins world. Highly recommended.

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