The E4 series, Skins, became an instant cultural phenomenon when it premiered in 2007. It made waves by casting actual amateur actors in the teenage roles to give it a legitimate taste of realism. Every two seasons, the cast changed to allow for new stories, although popular characters did return in the final season.
Skins dealt with controversial subjects like abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, and more. It became the gold standard for coming-of-age stories due to its grit and dark humor. Sadly, the show has been off the air for several years now. It can never be replaced, but if you're looking for a new show that will fill the void it left behind, here are some great recommendations.
If the realistic depiction of sex is one of your favorite parts of Skins, then I strongly recommend checking out Netflix's new series, Sex Education. The series follows Asa Butterfield's character, Otis Milburn. He attempts to help his classmates figure out their struggles with sexuality.
His strange amount of knowledge comes from living with his mother. Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) is a renowned sex therapist. Like Skins, Sex Education's inclusion of teenage angst and sexuality is refreshingly honest. It is raunchy, yet the emotions are genuine. It was such a success for the streaming service that Netflix gave it an early season two renewal.
Misfits is from the same wheelhouse as Skins. The main difference between the two series is Misfits features science fiction components. But Misfits is also a British comedy that aired on E4. The series follows a group of juvenile delinquents who obtain supernatural abilities during an electrical storm.
Because of how bracingly realistic Skins was, it could be quite dark at times. Misfits can also be extraordinarily dark in the content it covers. But it's worth watching for its intriguing premise and lovable characters. It stars recognizable actors like Robert Sheehan, Iwan Rheon, Antonia Thomas, and Michelle Fairly.
Following in the footsteps of the previous two entries, My Mad Fat Diary is another British teen comedy. Like Skins and Misfits, it aired on the E4 channel. The series is an adaptation of a novel by Rae Earl. My Mad Fat Diary follows the story of Rae Earl. She is a 16-year-old girl who struggles with serious body image issues, depression, and anxiety.
Before the start of the show, Rae had spent four months in a psychiatric hospital. She kept this a secret from her best friend, Chloe. Much of the series' conflict comes from Rae trying to return to normal life.
Skins focused on teenage life. Fresh Meat is about a group of freshmen at university. I would advise watching Fresh Meat if you'd like to watch an older cast of characters. The show title refers to their status as incoming "freshers." Six students share a house off-campus due to late application.
Topics covered on Fresh Meat include partying, exam pressure, internships, dating, and more. Fresh Meat isn't as heavy as Skins. It is a more light-hearted comedy. Critics have acknowledged the beginning of the series is rocky. But as the characters develop and grow, the material becomes sharper and more enjoyable.
The InBetweeners is a British coming-of-age sitcom. Like many other entries on this list, it was an E4 series. It was extremely popular. The InBetweeners received numerous BAFTA award nominations during its three-season run. Simon Bird plays Will, a typical suburban teen. The InBetweeners follows him and his three best friends through the ups and downs of adolescence.
Much of the show's humor came from their failed attempts at dating, their bromance, and school pressures. The characters and hilarity of the show's writing charmed audiences worldwide. It was popular enough to warrant two follow-up films and an American remake.
Adapted from the British version, Shameless is the rare American remake that's better than the original. Shameless is about the dysfunctional Gallagher family. Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), the alcoholic patriarch, can barely take care of himself, nonetheless a family. The onus of caretaking often falls on the shoulders of his daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum).
At present, Shameless is the longest-running scripted drama on Showtime. It will return for a tenth season. It's not surprising when you consider the massive fanbase the series has. It is also an award show darling with countless Emmy nominations under its belt.
I don't know why MTV tried (and failed) to remake Skins for the US when they already had a similar series in Awkward. Ashely Rickards starred as Jenna Hamilton, a teenage girl trying to make it through high school in one piece. The series was narrated by Jenna's blog posts. Every episode featured her in a new uncomfortable situation.
Awkward kicks off with Jenna getting involved in an accident that is blown out of proportion. It crafts her reputation at school, and she must contend with a mean cheerleader, a pushy counselor, and parents who just don't get it. As far as MTV series go, this was one of the better ones.
Glue shares a pedigree with both Skins and Shameless. Jack Thorne wrote for the series and previously worked on both of those shows. While Glue is much different, plot-wise, than Skins, it features a similar tone. Glue does focus on the mishaps of adolescence, but it falls under the influence of a murder investigation.
It revolves around the death of a 14-year-old boy named Carl Bray. The investigation into the killer uncovers dark secrets buried in the rural village of Overton. As far as whodunnits go, Glue is particularly enthralling. The characters and mystery are well-designed. It will keep you guessing until the very end.
Created by the same man who created Skins, Dates was a short-lived but well-received romantic drama. The series only spanned nine episodes. Every episode focused on one date. The show's creator, Bryan Elsley, wanted to focus on the storytelling possibilities of dating.
When speaking with Televisual, he explained his reasoning for the concept, "Everyone knows the difficulty of spending an hour or so in someone's company that you haven't met before. It seemed to be that there was an almost infinite range of possibilities that could flow from that." Each episode is a self-contained half-hour film. But some characters do appear in more than one episode.
Succinctly put, Degrassi is essentially the Canadian version of Skins. The long-running drama follows the ups and downs of a core group of kids. It charted their growth from elementary school all the way through college. Degrassi's numerous iterations began in the '80s and continued through the 2010s. From Degrassi to Degrassi High to Degrassi: The Next Generation, it spanned more than 20 years.
Think of a problem faced by today's youth and Degrassi featured it. Homelessness, homophobia, racism, sexting, cyber-bullying, harassment, body image, and more, no stone was left unturned on this teen drama. Its most recent iteration, Degrassi: Next Class, ran for four seasons on Netflix. It is still streaming on the site.