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The Televangelist: Back To School Viewing

You would never had had the back-to-school-blues if you went to one of these fictional high schools.

If you're going to have to revisit high school, I would suggest considering someone else's. Preferably fictional. Believe me, it's a lot more fun. And though television's obsession with youth culture, usually fixating on those tricky late-teen years, has produced more than its fair share of schlocky hokum (like the fleeting amusements of "90210" -the original and the new one- "Gossip Girl" and "Popular"), there have also been series with superb writing that tackle difficult themes (such as "Freaks and Geeks" and "Friday Night Lights," arguably two of the greatest series ever made, high school or no).

From among the latter set, I've gathered a few selections to consider (or reconsider) for the rental queue that almost make you wish you were back enjoying those (potentially frightful) times. They're bold, well-conceived ... and just down right fun:

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"Skins"
?The opening montage of this highly successful British series introduces viewers to a Ferris Bueller-like character, Tony Stonem. Tony is seen pulling a multitude of elaborate pranks on his father, one of which is to aid his younger sister as she comes home from what is clearly a wild night out. Booze, sex, drugs and constant partying is the name of the game among a close-knit group of Bristol teens, each of whom is given their own point-of-view episode throughout the season.
?Instead of falling into familiar trite and outrageous patterns, the show has an astonishing amount of well-wrought humor and pathos. The actors, too, are appropriately aged - no 30-year-old high school juniors here. Now starting its fifth season, "Skins" boldly changes up the complete cast every two years, so don't get too attached. Nah, forget it, you won't be able to help yourself. Dive-in. As a bonus, the first two seasons are currently streaming on Netflix Instant.