1 June 2008 | bob the moo
Perfectly OK but in the shadow of Skins in most regards
A group of college students gather together at a church for the funeral of fellow student Jenny Summers. Jump to five days earlier and Jenny is very much alive but very much an outsider at her college. The drama follows her while also bringing in the experiences of the other students in the hours leading up to and after her death. BBC3 showed this as part of their re-launch to appeal to the "youth" market (although the older youth in their 20's and 30's seem to have preferred the blobs) and how you see it depends on several thing but mostly seems to depend on whether or not you've seen Channel 4's Skins.
You seen if you have seen Skins then you'll really struggle to see this drama as anything other than derivative with its young cast, dramatic narrative, drug taking and a good slice of teen sexuality. It doesn't help Dis/Connected (even the title is aimed at the youth audience) that Skins has a season to develop across where this has to ram so much into just one hour. If you have not seen Skins then there is probably a cut off point on either side of the age range that will put you off this. Of course if you are of a particular age then the sheer "youth" tone of the whole thing may leave you cold but, I imagine, there is probably also a "younger" cut-off point where those in their teens reject any "adult" version of their life.
Anyway, in between all these limiting factors there is a reasonably good drama trying to get out. The themes are interesting and mostly the characters are pretty well written all things considered but it is just the amount of stuff crammed into one hour and also the proximity to Skins that does rather rob it of the potential. The delivery is there with plenty of typical style in the direction and cinematography and the cast are good too. Grainger (Jenny) does OK considering we have to feel for her character very quickly, likewise Aikman. Ameen (Anthony) is smooth and cool; James is a preening fool but it works within the plot. Moore is solid in support while Swann carries a good bit of emotional weight.
Dis/connected ultimately plays like a pilot for a proper series but whether it will get one or not is debatable. Left on BBC3 I doubt it will have gotten that many viewers and perhaps those in the target audience will already feel like they are fine with Skins already and don't need another, similar drama. As an one-off it was reasonably good and did show potential if only it was not forever trailing in the wake of the much more popular Channel 4 drama.