I don’t know if you can call 2011 the year British television invaded America, but it comes darn close. The first of the shows to premiere in the new year will be Showtime’s version of the British award winning Shameless. Shameless follow Frank Gallagher, played by William H. Macy, and his not quite normal family. For instance the youngest of the Gallagher clan is quite obviously not Frank’s yet that isn’t even the family’s biggest concern. Nor would it be the fact that in order to make ends meet and keep the electricity from being turned off all the kids chip in including the youngest daughter who takes up a collection that is supposed to be turned into Unicef. Yeah those are problems alright, but like I said they aren’t the Gallagher’s biggest problem. Their biggest problem would be Frank and his inability to stay sober long enough to pay more than his bar tab at the neighborhood pub.
With that being said the first 21 minutes of Shameless doesn’t detour much from the British version and that’s ok. Instead of feeling as though I had seen it before (which I had) I just felt as though I was being introduced to a new slightly (overly) dysfunctional family. This was mostly in part to the cast who not only owned their roles they owned whatever scenes they were in and I don’t say this lightly. Not once during the preview did I feel as though this was a family I was supposed to pity and feel bad for. This was a family I wanted to know and to hang out with. Luckily for me starting Sunday January 9, 2011 I get to hang out with the Gallagher family.
Now I don’t know whether or not it was intentional but each of the actors and the locations the show was shot at is reminiscent of the original in terms of the feel of the show. Because like it or not Abercrombie & Fitch and bright sunny skies were not going to cut it for this ensemble drama. The only way to pull it off is to embrace it for what it is trying to be; a down in the slums gritty drama. To force it into some cleaned up for television version would have caused the show to be a laughing stock. Or maybe a hit and run would be a better term. The show you see once just to say you did and then never return again. If Shameless had been on any other network I would say with very little doubt that I saw it living past the first season, but I think Showtime is the perfect place for it and hopefully they continue to let it be the dark horse it is so obviously starting out as. My final rating is and yes I know I haven’t seen the full episode yet:
Get the tattoo already!
Until next time,