Skins: Volume 2

Skins: Volume 2
Now that Slumdog Millionaire has made Dev Patel into one of Hollywood's brightest new stars, and even fodder for many tabloids, his roots are beginning to show more and more. He's spotlighted on the case of the second volume of British teen soap Skins despite a scant supporting role. As Anwar, Patel is a rebellious Muslim who defies his parents' stern customs (under their noses, of course) in order to party it up and have as much sex as possible, after his sexual awakening in the first season. But on a show where each of the teens get their own episode, Anwar is left out for a good reason — somehow he's the least intriguing character. Picking up six months or so after the first season, we find manipulative hunk Tony (Nicholas Hoult of About A Boy) recovering from being hit by a bus. He's lost some motor skills, some memories and worst of all, his mojo. Girlfriend Michelle has abandoned him in search of some cheap thrills, which leads her to Tony's pathetic best friend Sid, who after a misunderstanding with his love (Cassie) quickly jumps at the opportunity. There's also Maxxie, the token gay lad whose pursuit of a dancing career is closely watched by neighbour Sketch, a devilishly homely stalker. Most intense of all, however, is hedonist Chris, who has risen out of familial abandonment to find love with the musically gifted Jal, though a life-threatening hereditary illness stands in the way of their happiness. The second season of Skins doesn't shy away from the controversial, tell-it-like-it-is depiction of English teens restless, horny and apprehensive in Bristol. But it's definitely been tamed, which isn't a bad thing. Instead of brewing up increased discord, the focus shifts more to character development and fleshing out each storyline to reflect the confusing point in their lives where they will soon reach adulthood. Sure, it may not carry the momentum and thrills of season one but it allows these kids to breathe for once. This approach is best utlized in the Chris/Jal arc, which gives the series the heavy emotional upshot needed to move on to season three's all-new direction. Instead of the usual looks behind the scenes, the extras are an unconventional assortment of character featurettes that don't add much to the overall story. One amusing episode celebrates Christmas from the have-not perspective of Anwar and Chris but like the rest of the bunch, there isn't anything to these additions. (BBC/Warner)