Screening Culture / TV Shows

The Best British Original Teen Shows

The Inbetweeners title card image, also used a...

The Inbetweeners title card image, also used as the album cover for The Inbetweeners Soundtrack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest two new programmes to be aired in the UK with a teenage audience in mind are: Utopia and My Mad Fat Diary. Channel 4’s Utopia is a six episode thriller which follows a group of young people who come into the possession of a graphic novel manuscript which is supposed to have predict the disasters of the last century. My Mad Fat Diary is a tiny tiny bit more upbeat, being a semi-autobiographical account of Rae Earl who was in a psychiatric ward for four months and suffered from obesity. Told you it was a barrel of laughs. The E4 production is set in 1996 and has a groovy 90s inspired soundtrack to go with.

We used to have to rely on the US for British teen dramas, which I still tend to do now, or we would have to deal with watching UK shows for a broad adult audience, but now more and more British shows are being marketed for the teens. Hurray for us! To celebrate this momentous occasion of teen revolution here are a few of the best British controversial teen shows over the past decade:

Misfits:

Out of all the shows, this one is considered a lot of the peeps’ favourite. This sci-fi comedy centres around six young offenders who are doing their community service when a lighting strike zaps them, rewarding them with unique superpowers. There has currently been four seasons of Misfits to date with one of the biggest criticisms of the series being that actors are leaving the cast so many newbies are having to fill in their shoes. This is a very funny show and one teenagers can’t help but cringe at. No doubt there will be an American remake of Misfits at some point.

Skins:

After Misfits, it’s Skins which had teens in the UK in hysteria. The series began in 2007 where it followed a group of teenagers in their sixth form in Bristol, South West England. There have been six series broadcasted with the final seventh to be shown this year (2013). The term, ‘Skin Party’, referring to drink and drugs partying, has become a big part of UK culture and during the Easter holidays in 2007 a girl advertised on her Myspace profile that she would host a ‘Skins Unofficial Party’, referring to the party in the first series’ trailer. Two hundred people turned up to the party causing a staggering £20,000 worth of damage. The US did attempt an adaptation of Skins in 2011 which fell flat due to sexual controversy.

The Inbetweeners:

It’s clear that E4 pwnes when it comes to teen shows, one of the most successful being The Inbetweeners. From 2008 to 2010, Will, Simon, Neil and Jay thrilled in the UK and even went on to have European success. The four geeks got so big that they even had their own movie in 2011 which is now the highest grossing British comedy of all time. Instead of dragging the series on for the cash they left it at three seasons with eighteen episodes in all.

Pramface:

Not as controversial as the others on the list, Pramface centres on Laura and Jamie who have a one night stand and end up having a baby together. BBC Three’s sitcom attempt to rival E4 is easy watching and shows the struggle of the two teenagers taking care of their kid.

Fresh Meat:

Watching Fresh Meat is basically like watching The Inbetweeners Simon (Joe Thomas) move on from high school to freshers, basically because he’s in the show being a fresher and all. Here we have six students who all missed the deadline for the fictional Manchester Medlock University accommodation so they rent a flat together. As well as beloved Simon, the show stars comedian Jack Whitehall and there are two seasons at the moment with a third to be released in the Autumn of 2013. If you are in Glasgow on the 8th of February 2013, then you might want to attend a free Masterclass with the writers of the show, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong. You can find out more about attending by clicking on this cap-locked word here: #FRESHVEG

Other shows for the teens of Britannia are: The Fades, Some Grils, Sugar Rush, The Mighty Bush and the IT Crowd.

What is your favourite British Teen Show? Or would you rather watch a US teen show?

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