Did we like it?
It’s Skins without bones, or Fame with acne, but still amounted to a mildly entertaining hour of drama, nonetheless.
What was good about it?
• The calm production, which may have been rather odd for a youth drama but gave the series opener plenty of room to breathe.
• No corny indie soundtrack. We’re confident enough to predict that I Predict A Riot won’t be shoe-horned into a scene of mild unrest in a future episode.
• The wet-behind-the-ears acting won’t win any awards (apart from a consolation Tried Hardest prize) but the flaws gave it a degree of integrity.
• Ralph Brown as the acting coach, removing the stars from the eyes of any pupil who was more concerned about appearing in Heat! than perfecting their craft.
• The four central characters fell into a gang together quite naturally – a big contrast to Skins with its unbelievable chalk-and-cheese grouping.
• Aaron Johnson’s smile.
• Gina Bellman’s scary cameo role as Lila’s mentally ill mother.
• The impromptu performance of Flashdance.
• Lila’s good taste in TV. She’s an addict “because of Aaron Sorkin. And Joss Whedon. And Russell T Davies. And Josh Schwartz.”
What was bad about it?
• The character traits of the four main characters weren’t at all subtle. Aaron Johnson’s emo kid Owen has turn-on-the-tap anger issues; Talulah Riley’s Lila is too vacant and weird; Anna Brewster’s Kate is a bit too cut up about being recognised as the daughter of a famous film-maker; and Tunji Kasim never convinced as geeky outcast Joe.
• The script required the characters to come out with over-inflated monologues every time they spoke, rather than the staccato conversations most kids have. And there was very little wit in episode one.