| 13 January 2004 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    Fresh and Exciting

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    A different way of telling a story

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    The film makes a home in your brain and the only cure is to see it again.

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    A story that's too fascinating to pass by...

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    Quirky and inventive, yes. Entertaining, somewhat.Look, I lived and worked in the UK for 3 years, but I cant understand bloody half of what these people are saying. I may be somewhat jaded since I was introduced to this series via the Showtime version, which IMHO is a far superior implementation than the original, and if you haven't seen it yet you need to check it out cause its the best thing thats happened to cable since the Sopranos.The only reason I was able to follow the storyline in this series is because of my familiarity with the US version. It basically follows the same plot lines, in different sequence, but without that baseline, I never would have known what the hell was going on here.One of the biggest issues with this show is the character Frank McEvoy is just not likable at all. He's a total scumbag with no redeeming value whatsoever, compare that to the Bill Macy character on Showtime, who is also a total scumbag, but with charm and a certain appeal. Anyway, I could go on and on but I wont. One reviewer mentioned the fact that this cast is much less attractive than the US cast, and thats putting it nicely, they are hideously ugly. Bottom line, this is not a show that will appeal to a mass US audience, primarily due to the language and cultural barrier. This thing has very limited niche appeal, but if you love British cinema or BBC telecasts then it may be worth checking out. Thats not a money back guarantee.

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    If Frank Gallagher was not so much of a caricature then this series would have got a 10 from me. Threlfall is a terrific actor and he makes the most of Frank but it is just too over the top. The ease with which he beds women is ridiculous given that he is so awful. It just interferes with the realism of the rest of the plots. The other weak aspect is Maggie O'Neill's portrayal of Frank's partner, Sheila. She really goes for it in a ludicrous performance which just gets on my nerves. The other actors in this are wonderful - Anne-Marie Duff, James Macavoy and the rest of the Gallagher kids are fantastic and always believable. Maxine Peake is such a consummate actress it is unreal - every character I have seen her portray has been brilliant whether comedy or drama. The stories in Shameless are well put together with the usual attention to detail which Paul Abbott is known for. I came very late to this series (this week I have watched series 1 & 2 on demand- thanks Virgin Tivo). Colleagues and my daughter kept telling me how good it was and I can now agree. I have just started on Series 3. I see that the Maguire family are about to take a larger role in this series and that is a pity as they have no redeeming features at all. My daughter is over the moon now I am hooked. Editing this post now after finishing series 7!!! I have watched all seven series in a week and a half!!! I still stand by my assessment but just love the way the stories have rolled out and progressed.Frank is the only consistent character with little development but the Maguire family have been terrific addition to the cast as has various other introductions. Regular characters have left in a very real and natural way and the quality of the writing has been maintained. Even the occasional lapses into fantasy have worked (even though that is usually a sign that they are running out of ideas). This comes second only to Dexter in my estimation- an extremely enjoyable watch.

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    It annoys me how much people go on about Shameless 'not being what it used to be'. Of course it's not! If Shameless had stayed the same, you would all be complaining that "it's all just the same old stuff repeated another series later". Shameless lost cast and that is a good thing! Yes, the characters were brilliant, but Shameless is true to life and people do not stay in the same estate, city, town, village forever. I hate it when people get upset that they haven't brought Fiona or Steve or Kev or Veronica or any end of characters back - would you go back to Chatsworth? No. So please can everyone stop looking at the programme as if it should go back to how it was. Shameless has changed and evolved and adapted but still deals with important issues (drugs, poverty, mental illness, addiction), still has brilliant actors and still produces gripping story lines. The humour is not clichéd, it is subtle, as all good comedy should be. 3 million people are not wrong - there is a lot in Shameless to love! it is by far the best thing on TV at the moment - much better than anything the US has to offer.

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    John Frame

    Thank God for DVD's! - I only started paying attention to Shameless part way through the second season here in Australia. It aired on the alternative public access SBS TV channel in the time slot which was previously occupied by the USA version of "Queer As Folk" and by "Oz" (both hard core dramas).What got my attention was the unapologetic nature of all the story-telling, the superb acting and the slightly surreal camera work and treatments (a la the original UK Queer As Folk - which is still my favourite all-time TV series).The clincher for Shameless as being unique and valuable is that, right from the first episode, we see a gay son who's sexuality and personality is not only integral to his family's life, but he is also never portrayed as being any more dysfunctional than anyone else.I'm also relieved to see a family, even a fictional family, which has gone through many of the same experiences as my own (both good and bad). Familial love and solidarity go a very long way toward making life enjoyable.These shows are often hilarious and are of consistently high quality. Each episode is enthralling and satisfyingly self-contained. Shameless thoroughly deserved the BAFTA for Best Drama Series.I admit that the strong Manchester accents and colloquialisms make occasional dialogue difficult to comprehend, but it wasn't made for me (i.e. Australians) and I am damned glad that it hasn't been dumbed-down to appeal to an international audience.

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