Shameless: Series 7 review (DVD)

It's not often that TV shows reach a seventh series. And when they do, they usually go stale, and fast. With Shameless this is nowhere near the case: it's a faultless and peerless show with equal amounts of hilarity and drama blended to create one hell of an entertaining cocktail—and it certainly packs a punch. Perfectly cast and one of the best written shows in existence since its 2004 inception, Shameless is purely TV gold.

The seventh series of Shameless is as good as the first. They're all as good as each other, never faltering. Characters come and go and they're developed so well that it's completely refreshing for something you watch on the box these days. The cast is huge when you take into account just how many characters are prominently featured and they're all so spectacularly written. Experiencing the previous seasons has you becoming part of the Chatsworth estate—the residents are like old friends and you know them all in every explicit detail.

As is usual, the 16 episodes of series seven document many months in the lives of those who live on the estate, through emotional hardships, violent turmoil and uproariously funny ordeals. Actor David Threlfall's alcoholic, unemployed and law-evading Frank Gallagher takes centre stage as always, but one of the many things that makes Shameless truly great is its ability to put the spotlight on a different character every episode. Not many shows have a cast so strong that you can built entire episodes around a plot central to one character, we're talking around twenty here—Frank can be the star of one and then barely seen in the next, and it's the same with the rest of the cast, who we have rather magnificently watched blossom in the seven years the programme's been running, from little Liam Gallagher to seeing Carl right through his teenage years.

Such antics of this series include a dilemma for young homosexual Ian Gallagher, when he falls in love with a girl, Liam's first crush, the parting relationship between Paddy and Mimi Maguire when their marriage comes to an end, and their son Jamie's blindness to his baby being another man's, after his bipolar wife has an affair with a guy who has a severe anger management problem. That's really only the tip of the comedy-drama iceberg, so gigantic in its make up of sex, drugs and hysterical funnies, it could sink three Titanics.

All I can say is bring on the eighth series, tipped to be the longest yet with over 20 episodes. If you have never caught the show, start from the very beginning and join me in my addiction to the drug known as Shameless. After a ride on the Chatsworth Express, you'll be coming back for more as soon as you reach the final destination, and the cycle will be endless from start to finish. Absolutely brilliant.

EXTRAS TBA.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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