After finishing the 6-episode first season of Skins TV series creator’s new program, I can confidently conclude Kiss Me First is a concept that feels uniquely its own. Whether what it has to say for itself engages or flounders, however, is the question I seek to answer.
Something I would want to get across early on about Kiss Me First, for those expecting a light-heart, energetic, or “fun” series, is that the correlation between characters is their dwindling social-health, with focuses on loneliness and depression. The series focuses on dark subject-matter and is a drama above all else. A definite disappointment about the series has to do with its implementation of the virtual-reality world of Azana. Although it’s unreasonable to expect high-budget car-chases, and as suggested, as a drama, such would work with the thematic tone, I do wish they would have incorporated Azana better than what they did. By the end of the series, it couldn’t help but feel like the main selling point of Kiss Me First took a forgettable backseat, with very little worth mentionable about the scenes involving the world. It would’ve been as efficient and more budgetarily conservative to have had all the encounters in Azana happen on chat-roulette or through Skype with how little difference it made.
The characters and the conflict have their moments, both good and bad. Focusing on our main-protagonist Leila Evans, other-wise known as Shadowfax while in Azana, her performance is intriguing, but undercooked. The most interesting character is the Tess character, and the love-interest, not love-interest relationship between her and Leila, and it’s their relationship that had my attention the most.
Unfortunately, likewise, their dynamic could’ve been more effective than what it was. Imagining what could’ve been, I think, is more appealing than what was amounted to. Leila Evans is portrayed in some instances as repressed and closed-off from what she believes as Tess’ “party girl” behavior, but that simply doesn’t have a lot of time to fester. Kiss Me First tries to connect its characters as having things in common, but it simply doesn’t do enough to earn the dramatic scenes or accomplish their intentions. If you don’t care about what’s being depicted, it makes for boring, time-consuming episodes.
It doesn’t help with the way it muddies the water with a subplot between Leila and her wacky roommate (after her mother’s death) named Jonty, who serves a purpose but doesn’t serve a necessary purpose. The acting is competent, but I wouldn’t say I walked away wanting to single out a certain performance.
I didn’t walk away despising Kiss Me First, but it was composed of muddied ideas and dulled down by a rushed, unpolished execution. Most of the characters, in-particular the main-antagonist and the main-conflict, felt ho-hum and tedious, whereas the moments I did like, such as the scenes featuring Tess and Leila together, felt cut down by the rest of the series. When I found out Kiss Me First wasn’t what I expected, I approached it as a drama with an open-mind. Unfortunately, I simply don’t think it succeeded. It’s a below-average series that I can’t recommend. That isn’t to say it isn’t worth watching yourself (I’m wrong most days), but I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way for.