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I have never watched the British version of this show so I cannot
comment on the original. I was under the impression it was a new
I have to admit that started watching because I have always been a fan of William H Macy. However, viewing Macy in this kind of role was startling . I had always seen him in more conventional-almost typecast - parts. I knew that Joan Cusak was a quality actress which lent the project some further credibility.
At first the show seemed to be almost forced. The plot seemed bizarre, and unbelievable. It seemed awkward. Its quite common for shows to take time to develop chemistry when the actors haven't defined their characters yet. The same can be said for the writers.
However, I had never seen anything like it. In that regard it was dynamic and worth the time. The young actors soon found their roles and by the 5th episode I found myself thinking about the show every day.
Now I cant stop watching. Im addicted. The actors are fantastic. The plots are far more developed. The supporting players play a big part in the series, and new characters keep rotating in flawlessly. The show has evolved .
And just for the record, Im getting really sick and tired of people trashing the show because in their minds it doesn't measure up to the original. Its not supposed to be the original. If you don't like it, stick with the British show.
I was halfway through the American series before I even KNEW there was
a British series. I think a was a little disappointed that we didn't
create it, but I was also happy that it was one of the few shows that
we copied without ruining it. When I checked some of the user reviews,
I was surprised to see how many thought the show to be appalling. OK,
not everyone will share my love for the show, but to rate it SO badly?
But when I looked, the author of nearly every bad review was a fan of
the original show. This simply sounds like a case of liking what you
know. "I don't care how good their cooking is. It ain't as good as my
Once I finished the American series, I gave it about a month to settle in and then started watching the British series. But I'd like to think that I was objective enough to judge it on its on merits, and not simply that it's different than what I'm used to.
Since, as many have pointed out, the script is nearly word-for-word identical, the difference lies mainly in how the actors portray the characters.
So I'm going to give my character-by-character head-to-head appraisal of UK vs. US. I'm going to use the character names rather than the actors' names for simplicity. Starting from the youngest...
Little Debbie: UK wins this one hands down. No contest. She steals every scene she's in. Who can not fall in love with this girl???
Carl: This one's close, but the UK one is (at least in the first season) a little more deranged and fun to watch.
Ian: Another close one, but this goes to UK, too. US Ian is somber and good looking, but UK Ian always seems a bit panicky, and the wide-angle closeups of his face make him look pretty bizarre.
Lip: This is solidly with the US. I like US Lip's darkness. He seems more responsible and intelligent. UK Lip is just kind of impish and unsure. You can depend on US Lip and he offers some of the only real family support to Fiona.
Kevin: Dead heat.
Veronica: Very different performances by each, but in the end, I like them the same.
Fiona: This was a difficult one to call, but I'm giving it to the US. And this is probably because I saw them first. I just like her better. Hard to put my finger on the reason.
Frank: Sorry, UK, but I just don't like your Frank. I understand the character is usually drunk, but he seems that way even before he starts drinking. He seems clinically stupid. US Frank (Macy) is equally as obnoxious, entitled, selfish and deluded, but he only seems drunk when he's drunk. At other times, his pontificating is fun to listen to. You feel good about hating the guy, because he's like this by choice. With UK Frank, you have to pity him. I feel like I'm laughing at someone who's mentally challenged.
I've grown up with the original Shameless. It's a fast paced
Comedy-Drama like no other, in that it lends itself perfectly to both
without apology or hesitation.
Whereas the British original finds it's characters living, fornicating, screaming and jumping in the revelry of zero-expectation in a rigid class system, the American remake masterfully equivocates the triumphs and the tribulations of a lower class family existing on the edge of acceptability at the heart of society in a flawless, delicate and shameless manner.
The pilot introduces the characters, much like their British counterparts, not in an effort to garner their sympathy but simply as a statement of fact. The aspiring teen marine struggling to hide his homosexuality only fears losing the love of his brother, the absent drunk dad who loves his children but through the haze becomes a heckling prophet - a Shakespearean fool who sees through the thin veil of sanity and order, a young woman struggling to keep the family together seeing a way out through a handsome highwayman. These people are not bad even if they do bad things. Society has forgot about them and for that they couldn't care less for it.
The whole cast is tremendous but William H. Macy rises to the occasion with the father, a Frank Gallagher straight out of a bar in Memphis at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday, last orders, don't interrupt him because he hasn't finished yet, he's got to tell you what's wrong with the world before he wakes up and it all ends. You would believe this guy was a war vet or something with the confidence and delirium at which he pontificates.
No matter what your race or background you can take something away from Shameless. Most television that likes to call itself Comedy, Drama, or both, tends towards a particular demographic, offering an escape fantasy for, say, the 'off-beat' teens in Glee or the sexually deviant young adults in True Blood or the repressed housewives in that show about the repressed housewives.
As the designated guardian's new boyfriend takes a seat at the head of the table, he pushes Frank's legs aside as he crashes drunk on the floor. Shameless doesn't escape anything, it lives in the world it is given and every so often reminds you, during those joyously chaotic scenes, that the sweetest lemonade is almost bitter, so it's just as well every episode is only an hour for you to laugh, cry and enjoy.
Moments of anarchic jubilation inter lap, run over and sometimes juxtapose flourishes of near-the-bone reality, served eloquently on a fresh platter to which America needs to to have the stomach for.
Many of the reviews on here are complaining about how much the U.S. version copies the original. I've not seen a single episode of the original and, to me, the U.S. version is well acted, entertaining and perhaps one of my new favorites. I could care less that it's word for word from the original because this is all new to me. The actors portray the characters amazingly and I feel the storyline represents struggling families realistically. Each character will remind you of someone you know or have known. So for those who are like me and you've never seen the original, I absolutely suggest checking out Shameless, the U.S. remake. I look forward to seeing the rest of the season and maybe one day I'll even check out the original.
For the record, this review is coming from a person who has never seen
the UK version.
I think this show is very good. It has many great qualities. Great characters, touching story, and interesting plot. Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy are hilarious, and the rest of the cast is simply terrific. The story is very good as well. The family is so dysfunctional, its hard to resist. The characters are very well-developed and likable. Each episode is great and its interesting how many bad situations this family manages to get out of without getting in trouble.
A lot of people don't like this show because of its minor flaws, but if you look past those flaws, you will find this very enjoyable.
I highly recommend it.
I cant seem to understand the hate for the American version, i am a huge fan of the Original series, actually the preview for this got me into the original series! after watching the pilot of this, i can say its gonna be good, and its something America needs, besides another "reality series" whether you're watching the original or American remake its still a good show. however there are a few things changed in the American remake and they are very subtle changes, like Ian being interested in the military and Liam being black, those are the only huge changes. there were allot of drastic changes made to the original series which made it much better, such as getting rid of some characters and adding a bunch of new ones. lets just hope this remakes gets to live 7 seasons.
Note: I have not seen the UK version.
I wasn't sure what to make of the first episode of Shameless. I wasn't sold on the characters and the direction seemed directionless. In fact, it wasn't until the third ep that my eyes were opened. It's as if the actors have found their mark and the characters have come to life.
While the ensemble cast is solid, and Macy is at his irascible best, it is the performance of three of the actors which makes Shameless something special. Emmy Rossum, as the 'adult' glue that holds the family together, has rightly received the most press. Her role requires a combination of strength, resolve, humour and vulnerability - qualities that would thwart a lesser actress. Rossum is able to convincingly bring it all together with fire and sexuality in addition to her other qualities.
Equally effective in his role as the younger brother Lip, Jeremy Allen White brings a world-weary innocence to his character. Blessed with a malleable physiognomy, White is at once rascal and protector of the brood. White makes us want to know Lip better. That's rare.
In a smaller role but probably my favourite is Emma Kenney as little sister Debbie. Her deadpan wisecracks supply the laugh-out-loud moments while her heartbreaking scenes of longing for parental love bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened soul. She can act toe-to-toe with Macy and still steal the scene.
The rest of the cast is almost as good. Their performances would be wasted, however, without a tight script and fluid - but not frenetic - direction. The third episode brought all these pieces together in a fascinating show. Whether the writing and direction can sustain this level of quality over a season we don't know. What we do have for now is some of the best ensemble acting you will see on TV or on film.
I don't leave reviews very often but I had to for this show. I have not seen the UK version and don't really care to because this show is just top notch. I had never heard of this show since I work overseas but ended up catching the 5th episode and absolutely loved it. I told all of the guys in the fire station about it and ever since we have had to catch up on all of the previous episodes. Everyone in the department loves this show and that is a hard thing to do. All of the characters are just great and have so many flaws. William H. Macy does an awesome job as the dysfunctional father. I gave it the highest review I think a show can receive because I don't think there is a perfect show, but this comes darn close. I definitely recommend this show.
I'll start by saying that if you have watched the UK version of this
(Which by the way was made by Channel 4 and Company Pictures and NOT
the BBC as these other reviews suggest) You probably won't enjoy this
first episode. Its a straight transition of the script with some
However having seen shows that were changed beyond all recognition I can say that is a good thing.
The cast are excellent in their roles and the story which is far from the usual tame fodder of American drama is handled with honesty and realism. The characters mostly have their own interests to consider as well as the kids trying to keep their family together.
William H Macy is ideal in a role which doesn't allow him much initial screen time but I'm sure future episodes will focus on him since Frank is such a fascinating character. Can't wait for episode 2.
I don't know if you can call 2011 the year the BBC invaded American
television, 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.
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