Paul Abbott
Comedy, Drama

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Shameless - Review

This Review was written following only one rule - binge-watching the tv-show for around 10 hours with a lot of popcorn and then wirting down the thoughts - so you can trust this review is honest and truthful.

"Shameless" expands on its U.K. TV predecessor

Showrunner John Wells developed "Shameless" for the Showtime network from the British TV show of the same name which was a rating hit for Channel 4. The show details the life of the Gallagher family which is headed by an alcoholic single father who has largely abandoned his children to fend for themselves.

The first season of "Shameless" begins with the Gallagher family struggling to survive when the father of the family, Frank has taken his $700 disability check and disappeared. The eldest daughter of the family, Fiona decides to enjoy a wild night out with her friend and neighbor, Veronica which ends in a club as the pair try to get as drunk as possible.

Fiona panics when her purse is stolen from the club and a young man decides to step in to try and catch the thief. although he is unsuccessful, the young man, Steve decides to pay for Fiona's drinks and tries to make the night out better for her. Eventually, Steve takes Fiona home but the pair are interrupted when Fiona's father, Frank is brought home by a local police officer. Steve begins to panic the father will be unhappy with him but a clearly drunk Frank falls onto the kitchen floor and falls into a deep sleep with a box of crackers for a pillow.

Fiona believes she will never see Steve again and explains this to Veronica before she is shocked by his return with the offer of a real date. Steve refuses to take no for an answer and continually returns with gifts and more offers of a date aimed at the unwilling Fiona.

In the meantime, the six children of the Gallagher household are continuing with their everyday lives which include part-time jobs and trying to get through each school day. Two of Frank's sons, Lip and Ian share a room with Lip becoming concerned his brother is gay when he finds evidence he may be. Lip is determined to make sure his brother is not gay and sets him up with a friend he tutors and he believes will force Ian to look away from his homosexual feelings. What Lip does not know is Ian is already in the midst of an affair with his boss, storeowner Kash who is desperately trying to hide his feelings for Ian from his wife.

Worn down by the continued efforts of Steve to woo her, Fiano eventually breaks down and agrees to a date which reveals more about Steve's true self than either imagined. Frank remains an enigmatic figure in the lives of his children moving in and out of their world and giving his opinion on almost every aspect of life. Eventually, Frank reveals he believes he is being punished for the death of his wife by being tied down by his six children, who are really being brought up by Fiona. Frank explains he would get more money for his children if he was a woman as the authorities do not want to deal with him because he is a man.

"Shameless" was adapted for U.S. TV by John Wells who had spent much of his career working in showrunner roles on "ER," "Animal Kingdom," and "The West Wing." The former writer for "Trinity" and "Southland" has spent much of his career based in California with his John Wells Productions company working from offices at the Warner Bros. Lor in Burbank, California.

In the U.K., the role of Frank Gallagher was embodied by David Threlfall and William H. Macy in the U.S. Frank Gallagher is one of the iconic roles of recent time on the TV with Macy continuing his success which began with roles in many Broadway plays. The breakout performance for William H. Macy came in The Coen Brothers movie, "Fargo." Over the course of his career, Macy has won Two Primetime Emmy's and Four Screen Actor's Guild Awards along with an Academy Award nomination.

Emmy Rossum plays Fiona Gallagher in "Shameless" and continues the career she began in 1997 with her work in the soap opera, "As The World Turns." Rossum has taken a range of different roles, including the lead in a TV movie about the life of screen icon Audrey Hepburn. After her performance in Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River" in 2003, Rossum showed off her singing abilities after auditioning personally for Andrew Lloyd Webber for a role in his movie adaptation of "The Phantom of the Opera."

"Shameless" is a co-production between John Well Productions, Warner Bros. Television, and the Showtime Networks with the show broadcast by Showtime. The adventures of the Gallagher family are streamed via Amazon Prime with Showtime reporting it had the largest debut on the network since the 2003 release of "Dead Like Me." British writer and creator of "Shameless," Paul Abbott is given an executive producer credit and worked closely with John Wells to make sure the show retained a sense of reality. An early deal with HBO is reported to have fallen through when the network asked for the show to be located in the Southern States of the U.S. or a trailer park. Both Wells and Abbott vetoed this idea as they felt the stereotypes this would feed into had been overused and did not fit with the spirit of the British version of "Shameless."

The show has been given generally favorable reviews by professional critics and viewers who gave season one an aggregate rating of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The show proved such a success that Emmy Rossum became a darling of the critics over the course of the first season as her performances improved as she grew into her character. The standard of the acting and writing has been praised as improving over the course of the first eight seasons with an average rating of over 90 percent achieved on Rotten Tomatoes.

The British version of "Shameless" proved a similar success in the U.K. to its American counterpart with creator Paul Abbott stating the show is based on parts of his own life and family. The role of Frank Gallagher has become linked to actor William H. Macy but he was not the first actor to accept the role of the head of the family. Woody Harrelson initially accepted the role of Frank only for a switch from HBO to Showtime forcing him to leave the production before filming began. Another casting change came about after the pilot episode when Frank's love interest Shiela changed fro Academy Award-winner Alison Janney to Joan Cusack.

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