Following more than two years in development, the US version of the hit British drama Shameless is set to premier on Showtime one day ahead of the original’s return to UK television.
Paul Abbott’s Shameless was first broadcast in the UK in 2004. The drama quickly became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to the US remake – which begins its run on 9 January, a day before the start of the UK’s eighth-season run.
Originally, HBO began developing a US version in January 2009, but by October of that year it had moved to Showtime. The show was given the green light in April 2010, for an initial 12-episode season.
The American Shameless stars William H Macy (The Deal) as the patriarch of the Gallagher clan, Frank Gallagher – a role made famous by David Threlfall (Conspiracy) in the UK version. Gallagher’s five eldest children in the US series – Fiona, Ian, Lip, Debbie, Carl – are played by Emmy Rossum (The Phantom of the Opera), Cameron Monaghan (Another Harvest Moon), Jeremy Allen White (Afterschool) Emma Kenney (The New Girl in Town), Ethan Cutkosky (The Unborn). Blake Alexander Johnson, in his TV first role, plays baby Liam.
Meanwhile, the eighth season of the British Shameless, comprising 22 new episodes, begins on 10 January. The first five episodes will be shown over the course of five consecutive days, with the rest of the episodes set to be broadcast at the rate of one per week from 18 January.
Of the original Gallagher clan only Frank, Carl and Liam remain, with Threlfall and Elliott Tittensor (Protect Me From What I Want) (who plays Carl) the only original Gallagher cast members.
From Manchester to Chicago
Basically, the American series will be following the set-up and story lines of the original British version, the only obvious difference being the change of location – from Manchester’s Chatsworth Estate in the UK to Chicago in the US.
According to Showtime’s Official Shameless Website: “Frank Gallagher is full of Irish love and pride for his large brood, but that’s about it. He’s usually partying or passed out drunk, mom is AWOL, and the kids are basically raising themselves.
“When we first meet the Gallaghers of working-class Chicago, the three oldest kids are all hot and bothered, in one form or another. Fiona is being pursued by Steve, a rich player with a flashy car and a loose credit card. Lip is tutoring neighbor Karen, who repays him in kind. And Ian is grappling with homosexuality, and being grappled by a co-worker.
“Meanwhile, the electric bill is due, there’s no money, and someone has to look after baby Liam . . . It’s one day at a time for this crazy dysfunctional family, but their mutual love and support for each other always see them through.”
Reworked in the USA
As well as Shameless, a number of other British TV drama series are being reworked for the US. They include Skins, The Inbetweeners, Misfits and Being Human.
Speculation has surfaced on and off over the years that another British drama, Doctor Who, is to receive a US facelift – either as a TV series or big-budget movie – but nothing has ever come of it.
However, one of its spin-offs, Torchwood, has recently become a US/UK-hybrid production following three successful UK-made series. However, speculation last year that the parent show was set to followTorchwood was shown to be unfounded. Instead, two episodes for 2011 have been filmed in the US.