There are some programmes that I review that I know where just not made for me. For example after watching E4’s new series Youngers I came to the conclusion that I am not in the programme’s key demographic. The show concerns two urban teenage friends who want to make it big as a rapper and producer respectively. While I’m not a fan of urban music I’ve still enjoyed drama series set in this sort of arena before most notably Channel 4’s Top Boy. I think my main issue was that Youngers is presented in 30 minute slots at 7:30pm in the evening. This means that the content isn’t as edgy as perhaps should’ve been and I didn’t feel I spent long enough with the characters to really get to know them.
Youngers starts by introducing us to our two leads in cheeky Jay and studious Yemi. Jay dreams of making it big as a rapper with Yemi as his producer, however this is easier said than done. This first episode is set around the pair discovering exactly how well they did in their GCSE exams. Yemi’s God-fearing mother hopes that her son has aced his exams so he receive his scholarship at a local private college. It appears as if Yemi’s mother feels that Jay is a bad influence over her son and doesn’t like the fact that Yemi has his heart set on being a music producer. Yemi’s home life seems to consist of non-stop chores and reminders that his father is working in Nigeria to pay for his education. Jay meanwhile lives much more of a carefree existence with most of his troubles coming in the form of his many girlfriends. For example this episode introduces us to tarty Jodie whose brother threatens Jay to stay away from his sister. At the same time Jay is also having a fling with Louise who isn’t aware that he has another girl on the go. Eventually the boys receive their GCSE results with Yemi getting all A grades while Jay decides not to carry on with his education.
As the episode goes on the boys begin to realise that they may not get many more chances to hang around together. This is mainly due to the fact that Yemi now has his college scholarship while Jay may be forced to work for his dad. Jay soon finds about an open mic night and suggests that he and Yemi compete in the contest. Yemi has his doubts and doesn’t think the two are good enough for the competition. Yemi’s words hit Jay hard and the two briefly fall out as Jay contemplates entering the contest on his own. Meanwhile Yemi arrives at his new college for an induction day and is invited to have a look round on his own. There he spies the beautiful Davina performing a version of Visage’s ‘Fade to Gray’ and is utterly mesmerised. He is shocked to discover that Davina is attending the college and is also competing at the open mic night. After learning this Yemi suggests that he and Jay perform after all with his friend eventually agreeing. We are then left in suspense to see whether or not our heroes succeed at the open mic night which will feature in next week’s episode.
One of the issues I had with this episode of Youngers is its length and I feel that it had this been another twenty minutes longer I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. I just felt that opening with part one of a two part episode was a bit odd as I almost felt a little bit short-changed by the story. Due to its pre-watershed broadcast , I feel that Youngers is lacking that edge that it needs. The most risqué this first episode gets is when we see Jay leaving Louise’s room following a quick hook-up. I suppose I found it a bit tame considering E4 are the channel that brought us Skins, The Inbetweeners and My Mad Fat Diary. In the place of any sort of edgy content is a lot of grime music and comic interludes mainly provided by Yemi’s mother. Youngers was so tame that it almost seemed like something that could air on the CBBC channel rather than the much hipper E4.
The fact that I found Youngers to be quite tame isn’t to say it didn’t have some merit. I found the cast of newcomers to be incredibly enthusiastic and eager to make the show as successful as possible. As the conflicted Yemi, I thought Ade Oyefeso was a very engaging young actor who really made me believe in his character. Meanwhile Calvin Demba was suitably cheeky as the womanising rapper Jay who wanted to fulfil his dream. Though she wasn’t in the first episode much I also found Shavani Seth’s to be incredibly talented especially when we heard her sing. The relatable themes of friends going in different directions and youngsters attempting to fulfil their dreams are also expressed well throughout Youngers. The whole drama really seemed to have sense of place and I’m sure that the writers had similar experiences to those of Yemi and Jay.
Overall I would describe Youngers as a promising drama. I felt all of the young leads were full of enthusiasm and were able to make me engage with their characters. The setting and dialogue seemed believable and the plot was fairly simple to follow. My main quibble was with the content which I didn’t feel was edgy enough for an E4 show. For this reason alone I feel that the target market is the young teenage crowd which I’m sadly not a part of any more. Therefore I find it hard to pass any serious judgement on a programme which really isn’t made for my demographic. But even from my standpoint Youngers is an enthusiastic, vibrant show that will definitely appeal to a young audience.
What did you think to Youngers? Did you find it promising? Leave Your Comments Below.