Monday, 9 January 2012

Is it me or is the prospect of a new series of Shameless just a little bit 'meh'?

So Shameless is back. Series nine, two runs of 11 episodes, with the first set starting on Monday 9 January.

The signs are mixed - reports describe the show as ''rebooted", but that's what you do to a computer when it stops working properly.

Tv-ooh wants to be excited, but, do you know, Shameless doesn't feel so special anymore.

Perhaps this an undiagnosed bout of SAD talking here, or perhaps this is just tv life: a show becomes successful, more people want to watch it, filming it on the real life estate becomes troublesome, the production crew move to a purpose built exterior set that costs hundreds and hundreds of pounds to create, and then the people that pay for that need to recoup their money ya-di-ya-di-ya.

It's the age old story.

So in order to cover the cost and to meet the apparent public demand for more for the show, they turn it into a soapy-style drama with more episodes than ever before and the whole thing becomes some kind of tv juggernaut, hurtling away with an ever-growing cast, complete with shouty swearing and drug taking and all the rest of it, becuse people think that's what Shameless is all about.

So it becomes yer general knock-about comedy drama series, and its return loses that 'sense of occasion'.

It stops feeling like the must-see, event-based television that it once was. If you miss one, don't worry, there's 21 other new ones kickin' about.

However, when Shameless is good, it is fantastic - but only for several episodes a year.

And the problem is that you don't know when the fantastic episodes will be shown, so you have to watch them all in the hope of the proverbial 'rabbit from the hat' moment.

Its best stories - all about families and feelings and relationships and ne'er-do-wells down on their luck and living in grinding poverty but making do on benefits and illegal drugs and violence but always done with a smile and a bawdy quip - are basically those with real characters at its heart.

And we're sorry to say it (a bit), but original ne'er-do-well in chief Frank Gallagher - played by actor, executive producer and occasional director of the show David Threlfall - should take a step back, or, preferably, down, and leave the show altogether (but given his multiple roles on the show, that's unlikely).

Of course, tv-ooh will loyally watch the new episodes anyway - recorded, mind you: it's past tv-ooh's bedtime - and probably decide to love it all over again, the swine.

Tv-ooh might even swig from a can of special brew while it's on as well, maybe while wearing some scruffy trackie bottoms or Reebok trainers, and perhaps while claiming a benefit or two, just to get into the Chatsworth spirit of things.

Although to be honest, tv-ooh does all those things anyway *opens can of Asda Smart Price hi-strength lager*.

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