Though many people may be familiar with the U.S. version of Shameless, starring William H. Macy, the original UK version is what started it all. It ran from 2004 to 2013 for a total of eleven series and 138 episodes, earning several British awards including the highly coveted BAFTA.
The show is about the Gallagher family, a large family from Manchester whose mother deserted them and whose father is a drunken lowlife. The children often have to rely on each other to get through everyday life, and the show focuses on their misadventures with the colourful characters in town, including a family of gangsters, the local brothel, the bar patrons, and more.
This is classified as a soap opera in the UK, but it is most definitely a comedy. It has wacky and bizarre storylines that a soap opera would put to use for dramatic purposes, but Shameless doesn't take itself too seriously. That's not to say it's completely without drama or heart; quite the opposite, but the moments of levity are frequent. It's a very funny show, and it's one of my favourites of all time.
I find that the first two series are completely different from the others. This is because they're more about ntroducing the Gallagher clan and what their life is like, as well as putting focus on two characters who are only going to be there for the first 12 episodes or so. It really gets into a groove after that, so if you're not impressed straight away, I would encourage you to wait a little bit to see what the show really has to offer.
The acting is great, particularly from David Threlfall, who plays patriarch Frank Gallagher. He is always a joy to watch on screen. The supporting cast is so varied that you are bound to find characters whom you love and those whom you hate. This may even end up changing from year to year! That's the fun of this show.
I would highly recommend this for fans of British shows. If you go into this expecting anything at all similar to the U.S. version, you will be sorely disappointed, but if you keep an open mind, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
These reviews are the subjective opinions of ChickAdvisor members and not of ChickAdvisor Inc.