....and USA Remake Week concludes...
Shameless (US Series):
How William H. Macy Gave Me Faith
In American Remakes
As I'm sure is evident by my writing this week, and the many other times I've mentioned this, for some reason american production and television people, have issues when it comes to adapting a program from any other country for american viewers, and though in concept the ideas sound great, most of the time they end up watered down, cheaply made knock offs of the shows they're created from. Using this week's other write ups as examples of what I mean; Being Human suffers from idea that if you have a modern show with vampires and werewolves, you have to pander to the Twilight fans and make the vampire like Edward and the werewolf almost passable with out a shirt. And Top Gear suffers from among other things, lack of originality and cowardice to be honest about anything they review out of fear of a company not advertising on it. Both are good examples of what I mean, we water down and strip any originality or charm from a program and claim its "made for american viewers" when infact its not. Its depressing really.
And that is why when word came down that after afew years in development hell, the US version of the hit British cult series Shameless was finally on its way, I did kind of cringe alittle. When word got out that there was a giant race to get the lead roles of Frank and Fiona Gallagher, Frank being the most important role in the series and Fiona being a key in the start of the series, I jumped for joy at the idea of some of the list that were trying out for both roles, it was literally a who's who of A list and highly praised but hadn't found that role to break through yet actors and actresses, serious it was like a fans dream casting. And that made me insanely excited. When word came down that the incredible William H. Macy, who has been a favorite of mine sense Pleasentville and Mystery Men, was to play Frank Gallagher, I nearly screamed for joy like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Beiver concert, yes, I was THAT excited. And when word got out that it would be airing on Showtime, the network that has put such great shows as Weeds and Nurse Jackie on the air, I could not have been more happy, for it really is the perfect place to let this show be what it is, and not have to water it down.
For those of you that aren't aware of the concept of Shameless, its best explained as the classic series Roseanne, but with a larger and poorer family, to quote the show's creator, "where Roseanne was about lower lower class blue collar, Shameless is about a family so poor they have no collar.". It tells the tale of out of work out of luck Frank Gallagher and his six children who live in the poorest part of Chicago, and struggle through the often hilarious, often serious, often completely insane world around them. Veiwers of the original series might notice that the show does follow the same plot as the original, just transposing locations from an estate in Manchester (england england across the atlantic sea..) for a rundown house in Chicago, some of the other scenes and plot stuff is almost carbon copy, the bit where you find out one of Frank's kids is gay was done the exact same way as it was in the original, and Frank wakes up in Canada instead of France, but you kind of make allowances for stuff like that, its not an exact copy, but it does invoke the original's feel and charm, while making it something completely all its own as well. I love when a show does that, its kind of like what The Office did in recent years, you know, before it got tired and became "how do we drive Dwight even more crazy this week" all the time.
The show is amazingly well cast, Joan Cusack finally getting a role she can actually show that she can act, she stars as Sheila, a love interest for Frank, replacing Allison Janney who played Sheila in the unaired version of the pilot, and Emmy Rossum, a young up and coming singer/actress as Fiona Gallagher I was abit leery when I found out Emmy had gotten the role over the likes of Ellen Page, Hayley Hasselhoff and that dead eyed girl who played Bella in Twilight, all of which are some great young talent, I was very leery of someone thats really only noted roles other then Mystic River were the 2004 Phantom of The Opera and Dragonball Evolution, but she plays a good Fiona, ironically one of her love interests is Justin Chatwin as Steve, who also played Goku opposite Emmy in Dragonball Evolution. The rest of cast seems pretty well too, hard to tell with all the Gallagher kids, but they'll grow into their own as the show goes on, just as the original cast did, and those around them as well.
So as I'm sure you're all wondering, do I think its worth giving Shameless a chance? Ofcourse I do, sure its a remake, and sure most of the time remakes don't work, but give this one a try, its not at all showing any sign of horrible watered down slug-ness, its actually, if anything showing how good a remake can be if its left to its own devices and allowed to become what its ment to be, not what a boardroom wants it to be. Plus its worth it to see William H. Macy drunk ans sweaing like a truck driver. Seriously you gotta check this out. .. Oh also, sorry for the lack of images, there really aren't many out there...
here is the trailer incase you missed it when I posted it awhile back, oh and don't worry, the swearing isn't bleeped in the show...