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‘Spinning Out’: Tv Show Review

Content warning: this article contains spoilers for season one of Spinning Out

The series also deals with issues of self-harm, mental illness, and sexual abuse.

Behind the glitz and glamour that goes along with figure skating there is the tough and gritty reality of what a skaters life is like off the ice. Spinning Out goes beyond the sparkly costumes and makes you think that behind every bright smile, there could be something much darker.

Kaya Scodelario plays Kat Baker, a young solo figure skater recovering from a traumatic, career ending head injury. After failing to qualify to be a coach, Kat finds another chance to continue skating, the catch is she must skate with Justin Davis (Evan Roderick) as one half of a pair all while trying to keep her bipolar disorder secret from the world. You can feel Kat’s fierce and unyielding love for her craft as the concept of never being able to skate again is unthinkable to her.

“Skating is like breathing… and if I stopped, it’d feel like drowning.”

 

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With ridiculous plot developments at every turn, I considered Spinning Out to be captivating, entertaining and wonderfully binge-able.

There are times when this series is so hilariously dramatic that it moves into the realm of soap operas; there is a sudden emergency glaucoma surgery, characters completely ignoring the advice from sports doctors and specialists resulting in dangerous injuries, and that’s barely scratching the surface.

I found the drama to be part of the shows charm as it reminded me of all the classic and overly dramatic shows we all used to enjoy like Gossip Girl, The OC or One Tree Hill. What makes this series different and standout from these other shows, is that it discusses the more intense themes of racism and mental illness.

I thought Spinning Out was beautifully shot. The snowy backdrops and variances between soft and harsh lighting combined with the quick, sharp camera work during the skating sequences sucks you into the world of the gorgeous sport.

The feeling when Justin lifts Kat above his head and she looks down at the ice beneath her is so immersive. Her terror at the concept of falling is portrayed in such a way that you are right there with her not just watching on a screen, I felt everything she was feeling in that moment.

 

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The chemistry between the lead characters was so electric and different to anything I had watch before. The relationship between Carol (January Jones)and her two daughters, Kat and Serena (Willow Shields), is heartbreaking but also moving, with the intense and at times resentful love between the family even in moments of conflict.

There were times in the show where I genuinely hated nearly every character for their actions and the things they did, but I think this is a really interesting concept as none of the characters are so obviously good or bad, they have moments of both. So, watching this series, there will be one second where you are rooting for them and then suddenly they do something that makes you despise them.

One of my favourite characters was Svetlana Efremova as Dasha, Justin and Kat’s coach. She was so compelling in the role and her being an unexpected mother figure to both Justin and Kat was critical to the characters development with Justin’s mother having passed away and Kat’s being emotionally neglectful.

You continue to fall in love with Dasha as you see more of her and her backstory comes to light. I admired Dasha for everything she had gone through. For me, she was the highlight of almost every scene she was in.

 

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Going into my first time watch Spinning Out, I thought it was just another run of the mill sporting series, but it not only made me more interested in skating, it also really got me thinking about the pressures from parents, coaches and your peers to be the best and to win no matter the consequences.

The mental and physical strain that I saw the characters go through reminded me that sports, such as figure skating, are cutthroat sports and any sign of weakness can be exploited and makes a difference between winning or losing.

Spinning Out was riveting and intense, and although the series has now been cancelled, I feel that it has definitely made an impact in the world of sports related dramas.

If you or anyone you know are experiencing mental health issues please contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or the Black Dog Institute.

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