20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The best series this century?,
This review is from: Shameless 1-3 Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
A recent survey revealed that Shameless is particularly popular with viewers in the North-West, where it is set - a feature it shares with Coronation Street and Hollyoaks. There, however, the comparison ends!
If anyone considering purchasing this set has only seen the odd episode then do take the plunge and buy: it works best if you see the episodes in order, and you'll want to see your favourite bits again and again. The adventures of the residents of the Chatsworth estate, and in particular the Gallagher family, are a reflection of a Britain no one in the establishment wants to admit exists: unhappy lives, shattered dreams and very little hope. Yet the genius of Shameless is that it is as much comedy as it is drama, and you are always rooting for the underdogs, whatever mistakes they may have made.
The series' creator based it on his own early life and the fact that he suffers from bipolar disorder perhaps explains his sympathy for the disenfranchised, the struggling and the mentally ill. Indeed, this series, through characters like Shiela and Marty, almost celebrates mental illness - certainly promoting tolerance and understanding.
Everyone will have their favourite characters including the ever-indignant, ever inebriated Frank, troubled lovers Fiona and Steve or next-door neighbours Kevin and Veronica. Best of all for my money, though, are the kids, in particular Lip (apparently cocksure but in reality often frightened and insecure), Ian (in whom Lip confides, but who has secrets and worries of his own), Carl (always trying to understand and live up to his older brothers) and Debbie (wise way beyond her years - but still able to surprise). Their storylines are generally the funniest, though they all have their moments of pain and distress.
Looking back, this review may make Shameless sound rather earnest and serious and it would be a mistake to think that. It must be stressed again how hilarious it is. Great writing, great acting, great direction...it all makes for a marvellous series, arguably the best so far of this new millennium. Not even the terrific Life on Mars comes close!