Showtime, looking to continue the trend of Americanizing popular British programming, has found its series for conversion in the longtime running Channel 4 hit drama, Shameless. Hopefully, having John Wells heading up the remake with William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum in the staring roles, Showtime will be able to break the accompanying tradition of low ratings and immediate cancellation that have burdened all the previous Anlgo-remakes (sans The Office).
The series, based on the life of British television writer Paul Abbot, revolves around the Gallagher family, a working-class Chicago family, trying to survive. With the mother gone, Macy will be taking the lead as Frank Gallagher, an alcoholic who “usually ends up passed out on the living-room floor,” while Rossum will play the eldest Gallagher child, Fiona, who serves as the interim mother “keeping her five younger brothers and sisters on the straight and narrow.”
While Abbot obviously didn’t grow up in Chicago, everything else from the original series is being transferred, including the character names. One reason for such a faithful adaptation is that Abbott, along with Wells, wrote the pilot and will stay on as executive producer.
Although, with the British version of the series entering its seventh season, Abbott won’t have much of an input with the American version, but Wells will serve as showrunner and if anyone will be able to make this show work, John Wells will.
Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt said, "It was a phenomenally good pilot." How phenomenal? Well, Showtime has put in a 13 episode order. So, something must have struck a cord with the cable network, but will the American audience agree?
Shameless marks the fourth new series picked up by Showtime this year and will join the all-star lineup of Laura Linney’s The Big C, Matt LeBlanc’s Episodes and Jeremy Irons’ The Borgias.
Being a self-described Anglophile, I can’t get enough of British programming, but I’m fed up with watching my favorite UK shows make the jump across the pond only to get butchered by American producers that can’t leave well enough alone.
That being said, I’m surprised I haven’t heard of Shameless before, especially since the British version has aired on BBC America and the Sundance Channel. While I completely trust John Wells and can’t get enough of William H. Macy after seeing him in ABC’s short running series, Sports Night, I’m going to have to wait and see on this one; I’ve been burned one too many times to get my hopes up.
…and why wait when I’ve got 7 seasons of the British version ready for my viewing pleasure.
What do you think of another Americanized British television series? Do you think this one will be the exception to the rule? Will you be tuning in? What’s the worst Americanized British series ever to make it to air (Hint: Life on Mars)?
Catch Shameless this fall on Showtime
Follow me on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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