Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Shameless: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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Few things make me more nervous than when someone has the bright idea to adapt one of my favorite British TV programs into an American version. For every successful translation ("The Office"), there are dozens of failed attempts ("Coupling"). So when I heard that Showtime was preparing to drop "Shameless" with William H. Macy, Joan Cusack, and Emmy Rossum--I got very very scared. Not because of the cast, but because, to me, "Shameless" is a quintessentially British show. The original version is an absolutely lunatic bit of brilliance that has all the elements to be a crashing disaster and yet balances them so adeptly, so audaciously, and so precisely. Instead of pushing into nightmarishly precious, overwrought, and quirky territory--somehow the show succeeds spectacularly. Don't get me wrong--the show is precious and overwrought and quirky--but every bit of it is in a good way.

So how did Paul Abbott do in formatting his original creation for an American audience? I'd say that it's a qualified success. If you've never seen the original program (and let's face it, most people won't have), this incarnation of "Shameless" is likely to seem strikingly different from most American domestic comedy with its unabashed embracing of lawlessness and anarchy. Adhering to the British original, but expanding subplots or introducing them earlier as there are more first season episodes, the version sticks fairly true to the initial plotting. In the first few episodes, the show seems on incessant overdrive slapping you in the face with its over-the-top antics. As such, in my opinion, it lacks a bit of heart, subtlety, and precise comic balancing of the original. Despite its unruliness, the original made you care about its characters from the jump. It takes about half of Season One for the American version to start really developing characters that you might actually want to root for. Once that kicks in, however, you're likely to find that certain elements of the program will get under your skin and really work.

Chronicling the lives of the Gallagher family, "Shameless" introduces us to a wastrel father and his brood of six kids. With mom out of the picture, oldest daughter Fiona (Rossum) has taken up the slack for a largely absent and altogether alcoholic father (Macy). This is a show of survival as the Gallaghers eke out an existence in lower income America. With the assistance of her new boyfriend (Justin Chatwin), this dysfunctional family unit triumphs despite itself. There's much drunken debauchery, plenty of illicit sex, fair amounts of stealing, fisticuffs galore, and even an odd kidnapping--this isn't mild entertainment.

Not worried about "good taste" or "political correctness," Paul Abbott's ingenious creation is a modern family unit unlike any other on contemporary TV. With an impressive, and massive cast, even the supporting characters get their chance to shine. Rossum has been praised for bringing a realness to the lead role and rightly so. For me, the unexpected heart in "Shameless," however, comes from Joan Cusack--a part that might have been painfully awkward is surprisingly tender! Fast-paced, loud, irreverent, crude, disturbing and yet oddly touching when necessary, I absolutely adored the original program and I have come to appreciate the charms of its successor. It took a bit for it to find its footing, but it did. As long as they keep working to ground their characters, the show can only get better. KGHarris, 3/11.
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on March 28, 2007
Brilliant, "comedy-drama". Because of the differences between British humor and American humor an American audiences will find more drama than comedy. Yes, we do "get" irony; however, it tends to make us smile rather than laugh out loud.

This series contains some of the best, most powerful scripts I've ever seen written for broadcast television. Yet, I expect this very R-rated series to be heavily criticized for coarse language, for themes of sex, scenes of drunkenness, and under-age smoking. Nevertheless, this series is one of the most family-positive series you'll ever see.

Imagine the picture perfect family, the very embodiment of "family values". Then one day somebody in the family snaps and is revealed to be involved in criminal activity, or infidelity, or substance abuse or darker more sinister assaults on the body and mind of other family members. In short, this imaginary picture-perfect family is dysfunctional.

Now, envision the opposite, a family with all the trappings of being dysfunctional. The father is unemployed and alcoholic, the children thieve, smoke and swear. One child has to keep his head shaved because he's so prone to nits, and there is no mother in the home because she's taken the family van and run away. Yet, this family is supportive, loving, caring and more honest than the Brady Bunch ever was.

There are no skeletons in the Gallagher family closet. They are very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get group. Sometimes funny sometimes surreal and unlikely the goings on in this family are often moving and always entraining. While not promoting "family values" this is a very family positive series (but not for the whole family: R-rated I said). There is good reason why this show is called "Shameless".

One warning for American audiences. The story is set in Manchester, so that people in the story have strong northern accents. If your ear is unused to this or if your exposure to British accents ends at Hugh Grant... there are subtitles available on the DVD.

An excellent show, a sort of a fun-house mirror Waltons. Give it a chance
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on April 26, 2007
I ordered this DVD without having seen or heard anything about the series, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. It was thoughtful, funny, and generous, even while maintaining a gritty realism. Whenever an episode or storyline started to drift into the ridiculous or melodramatic it was quickly intercepted by a brutal but honest (and hopeful) reality. And even when their characters were at their most unlikable, the actors brought to them a warmth and passion that kept you involved. (In my opinion episode six is one of TVs best examples of the diversity of emotion that can be explored in under an hour.)

Basic plot: Single father Frank Gallagher [David Threlfall], whose wife disappeared about three years ago, lives (sometimes) on a council estate in Manchester (England) with his six children (Fiona, Lip, Ian, Carl, Debbie, and Liam), aged 20-3, respectively. Other central characters include the children's neighbors, a young couple named Kevin and Veronica, and Fiona's well-to-do boyfriend Steve [James McAvoy]. Together they deal with relationships, poverty, abandonment, their father's alcoholism, debt collectors, and the local police. It's not an easy life, but the family is determined to enjoy it whenever and however they can. There *is* some violence (fist fights), nudity, drinking, lots of swearing, and even one extremely inappropriate, even illegal, sexual relationship, but it is addressed and responded to reasonably (though definitely not in the PBS-broadcast sort of way). The younger children/characters really seem to peak in the second half of the season, as they become more integral to the plot. Their additional screen time is well-deserved, as they are all exceptionally talented actors.

As for the DVD itself, it is, of course, Season 1. Although Season 4 recently finished airing, this is the first installment to be released on DVD in the US. Disc 1 consists of episodes 1-4 (45 min. each) and Disc 2 contains episodes 5-7 and two bonus features: a brief "Meet the Cast" and an interview with Paul Abbott. Suffice to say this is a bare-bones DVD release for this day and age, but the show's quality warrants the purchase. Also note, subtitles are on by default for anyone who has trouble with the accent.
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on January 21, 2007
This show is funny, disturbing, and full of ribald characters - it is definitely not your typical American sitcom. There seems to be no subject that is taboo. I am not sure what prompted its US release, but all I can say is Hallelujah!

Note that this show is not for the faint at heart. If, however, you love irreverent British humor - buy this dvd!!
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on January 25, 2012
Showtime delivers again with this superb dramedy, a remake of the excellent British series of the same title. And just like the U.K.'s, America's 'Shameless' is so well-acted and brilliantly written I watched almost every episode in a row on a rainy Sunday. We're invited to view the hilarious and erratic lives & exploits of the Gallagher family in Chicago's South Side. Frank (Macy) is a chauvinistic alcoholic on disability and has six kids: Fiona (a sexy Rossum) is bearing the responsibility of supporting the clan; Philip (Jeremy Allen White) is a high school genius who sells his services; Ian (Cameron Monaghan) an active homosexual who wants to join the Army; and then there's younger Carl, Debbie, and Liam (who is black!). The remaining outside characters are fantastic and the show is laced with off-the-wall one-liners and scenarios that are socially conscious of the underlying difficult economic situation that they're faced with. But make no mistake about it - it is Macy's drunken white-trash antics and utter contempt for society, that clearly owns the show. Currently on the second season every Sunday and it just seems to get better and better as it goes along.

'Shameless' is the very best of TV.
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on May 24, 2011
I have never watched the British Version so have nothing to compare the US version too. I will say, however, that Shameless is my all time favorite show and I can hardly wait until it comes out on DVD. Can't wait until Season 2. Once we get Season One on DVD, I plan to have a "Shameless" party with friends and family over to watch and enjoy. This is not for children to watch. Adult entertainment done in good taste. I recommend this to all adults. You won't be able to stop watching.

Mrs. Slotz from Indiana
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on July 16, 2015
I remember waiting for the first season of Shameless to start. I was so completely excited about it: Great cast playing compelling, unique characters on a channel that has run several shows that I've loved. And thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.

The premise of the show is that the Gallagher family is struggling to make ends meet. Fiona—the oldest Gallagher and caretaker to her numerous siblings—is played by Emmy Rossum with applomb. William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the alcoholic who's more than willing to throw his family under the bus if it gets him another beer, is another standout; he personifies the character that you love to hate. Each of the other Gallagher children are compelling in their own ways, from Lip the prodigy to Ian with his secret same-sex trysts to Debbie as a Fiona-in-training, even Carl and Liam earn and deserve their screentime. Justin Chatwin's Steve/Jimmy is a nice balance to Fiona's neuroticism and isn't bad to look at either. My favorite character might be Sheila, the agoraphobia and unlikely girlfriend to Frank played by Joan Cusack. Of course, Kev and V—the mixed-race couple who lives next door to the Gallagher clan—are also very entertaining.

By now, the show has several seasons under its belt, but I maintain that the first season was the best. It gives you a great introduction to the characters, their personalities, and the atmosphere of the show. I've not seen the original UK version of the show, but the US version has to at least give it a run for its money. If you like comedy and drama, like the idea of watching underdogs trying to rise above, and appreciate great acting and writing, then Shameless is for you. At the very least, you'll be entertained and feel proud of your own life and accomplishments.
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on June 20, 2011
This cast is amazing! Perfect blend of comedy and drama with incredible performances by all the actors. Not for the easily offended. If you are looking for something raw and brutally honest, look no further. Easily the most creative and down right hillarious writing on television. Admist chaos in a Chicagoland family there is an overwheling feeling of hope and love.
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on June 28, 2011
Well, it has not been released yet and I can not say anything about the quality of blu-ray yet, but the show itself is 5 stars. It is well worth watching.
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Few things make me more nervous than when someone has the bright idea to adapt one of my favorite British TV programs into an American version. For every successful translation ("The Office"), there are dozens of failed attempts ("Coupling"). So when I heard that Showtime was preparing to drop "Shameless" with William H. Macy, Joan Cusack, and Emmy Rossum--I got very very scared. Not because of the cast, but because, to me, "Shameless" is a quintessentially British show. The original version is an absolutely lunatic bit of brilliance that has all the elements to be a crashing disaster and yet balances them so adeptly, so audaciously, and so precisely. Instead of pushing into nightmarishly precious, overwrought, and quirky territory--somehow the show succeeds spectacularly. Don't get me wrong--the show is precious and overwrought and quirky--but every bit of it is in a good way.

So how did Paul Abbott do in formatting his original creation for an American audience? I'd say that it's a qualified success. If you've never seen the original program (and let's face it, most people won't have), this incarnation of "Shameless" is likely to seem strikingly different from most American domestic comedy with its unabashed embracing of lawlessness and anarchy. Adhering to the British original, but expanding subplots or introducing them earlier as there are more first season episodes, the version sticks fairly true to the initial plotting. In the first few episodes, the show seems on incessant overdrive slapping you in the face with its over-the-top antics. As such, in my opinion, it lacks a bit of heart, subtlety, and precise comic balancing of the original. Despite its unruliness, the original made you care about its characters from the jump. It takes about half of Season One for the American version to start really developing characters that you might actually want to root for. Once that kicks in, however, you're likely to find that certain elements of the program will get under your skin and really work.

Chronicling the lives of the Gallagher family, "Shameless" introduces us to a wastrel father and his brood of six kids. With mom out of the picture, oldest daughter Fiona (Rossum) has taken up the slack for a largely absent and altogether alcoholic father (Macy). This is a show of survival as the Gallaghers eke out an existence in lower income America. With the assistance of her new boyfriend (Justin Chatwin), this dysfunctional family unit triumphs despite itself. There's much drunken debauchery, plenty of illicit sex, fair amounts of stealing, fisticuffs galore, and even an odd kidnapping--this isn't mild entertainment.

Not worried about "good taste" or "political correctness," Paul Abbott's ingenious creation is a modern family unit unlike any other on contemporary TV. With an impressive, and massive cast, even the supporting characters get their chance to shine. Rossum has been praised for bringing a realness to the lead role and rightly so. For me, the unexpected heart in "Shameless," however, comes from Joan Cusack--a part that might have been painfully awkward is surprisingly tender! Fast-paced, loud, irreverent, crude, disturbing and yet oddly touching when necessary, I absolutely adored the original program and I have come to appreciate the charms of its successor. It took a bit for it to find its footing, but it did. As long as they keep working to ground their characters, the show can only get better. KGHarris, 3/11.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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