I was first exposed to this new show through the many gifs, the many quotes and general love from Twitter. I then went to watch the trailer on Netflix and my first reaction was ‘this looks a lot darker than Twitter made out’. Yet, despite this, I gave it a go. Netflix’s figure skating soap Spinning Out is a complex, heart-felt family drama about how ambition, mental illness, athleticism and competition can push an individual to the edge. At the same time, however, it has the cliché, cringy romance Twitter had obviously been sucked in by. And lo and behold, so was I (let’s not talk about the amount of times I have watched the competing skate routine…it’s way too many).
Created by Samantha Stratton, a former skater herself, Spinning Out takes a fresh, almost graphic approach to the Olympic sport. Starring Kaya Scoldelario, known for her role as Effy in Skins, the show follows Kat Baker, a young figure skater traumatised after a gruesome skull injury on the ice. Alongside this, she also deals with poverty, an abusive bipolar single mother, a history of self-harm and bipolar disorder herself. Scoldelario successfully plays the troubled Baker as she attempts to succeed in a world that seems to be against her. The actress from start to finish works in the struggle of a mentally-ill individual whose talent and passion lies with a sport that doesn’t take well to any sort of illness, mental or physical.
As a show, Spinning Out allows you the opportunity to really become immersed and connect to the characters, knowing them on a deeper level. One character that I was particularly interested in was Kat’s mother, Carol played by January Jones. Depicting a woman who has been beaten down by life, driven out of competitive skating due to pregnancy and contending with the evils of mental illness, she is everything Kat worries of becoming. And as you would expect, she longs to live vicariously through Kat’s success. It is this relationship with her daughters in particular that paints an accurate representation of a family who has to deal with psychotic episodes, depression and the fights and struggles these create. It’s an accurate representation of the struggles of mental illness and the impact this has on a family and for me, this was one of the best parts of the show.
I watched the whole season straight through which was quite literally an emotional whirlwind from me yelling at the TV, crying while simultaneously smiling.
Spinning Out is a show with excellent writing, acting, skating and drama with a very equal balance that leaves you falling hard for the great character development, deep story and great acting performances. I watched the whole season straight through which was quite literally an emotional whirlwind from me yelling at the TV, crying while simultaneously smiling. made me feel, it made me understand and made me think. The TV version of The Cutting Edge with the biggest Tessa and Scott vibes, it is about dealing with mental health issues with the added bonus of a romance between Kat and Justin Davis played by Evan Roderick.
I definitely recommend this show to anyone who’s looking for a deeper emotional show about mental health, about romance, about skating and about struggles.