I just finished watching season 1 of BBC's Skins, a sexy, realistic look at middle class teens in suburban England, on DVD. The series goes way further than any similar American show at realistically portraying the experience of being a contemporary teenager. It's full of sex, violence, and drugs. All the stuff I remember most from my teenage years.
Some of Skins' characters are new to television. Dev Patel (from Slumdog Millionaire) is Anwar, who trying to find his place in society as both a teenager who wants to have fun and a Muslim. One of his best friends is Maxie (the super cute Mitch Hewer), a gay tap dancer who struggles with his friend's faith more than his own sexuality. One of the most powerful scenes for the first season involves Anwar's conservative father and Maxie. The other characters deal with traditional teen stuff from anorexia to low self esteem. It's great television.
Skins doesn't follow a traditional narrative, each episode focuses on different character and flows freely from story to story. It's the kind of grown-up story telling that teen shows usually don't receive. The cast is uniformly great and you may notice Nicholas Hoult, the boy from About A Boy, is now all grown up and the most popular boy in school.
The show has been quite controversial, apparently British teenagers now throw 'Skins parties' where they do drugs and have sex. My bet is they had those same parties before Skins premiered, under a different title.
Skins has just entered it's third season on the BBC, but for now those of us in the USA can only get season one on DVD. The second season is scheduled for release in the states on April 14th 2009.
Note: In America Skins was shown on BBC America, but it is a Channel 4 Production. Thanks for the note.