'Shameless: Season 5 [Blu-ray]
(William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Allen White, Ethan Cutkosky, Shanola Hampton, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2015 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: The Gallaghers are feeling the heat in Season Five! In the swelter of another Chicago summer, Fiona juggles a crush on her boss with a steamy affair and the return of her ex! Frank balances his brand-new liver against his old unhealthy appetite for liquor, drugs and trouble. Lip heads home from college and struggles to hang with his old South Side friends. Debbie has her first real boyfriend, Ian's dealing with serious health issues, and Carl's just dealing!
Blu ray Verdict: In truth, I've actually "grown up" with the original UK 'Shameless'. It's a fast paced Comedy-Drama like no other, in that it lends itself perfectly to both without apology or hesitation.
So, and whereas the British original finds it's characters living, fornicating, screaming and jumping in the revelry of zero-expectation in a rigid class system, the American remake masterfully equivocates the triumphs and the tribulations of a lower class family existing on the edge of acceptability at the heart of society in a flawless, delicate and shameless manner.
I tell you this just in case you've been living under a rock for the past five years and know nothing about the show. Anyway, just to complete that early initiation of the show for you, the original US pilot introduced the characters, much like their British counterparts, not in an effort to garner their sympathy but simply as a statement of fact. The aspiring teen marine struggling to hide his homosexuality only fears losing the love of his brother, the absent drunk dad who loves his children but through the haze becomes a heckling prophet - a Shakespearean fool who sees through the thin veil of sanity and order, a young woman struggling to keep the family together seeing a way out through a handsome highwayman. These people are not bad even if they do bad things. Society has forgot about them and for that they couldn't care less for it.
Ergo, not much has changed here in the hilarious, and yet strangely sometimes highly depressing real life scenario'd fifth season of 'Shameless.' But, as always, change is rampant as trendy coffee shops and yoga studios pop up in the hood, and the Gallaghers stumble toward finding out who they really are and how to truly love.
The whole cast is stellar, simply tremendous, but William H. Macy rises to the occasion with the father, a Frank Gallagher straight out of a bar in Memphis at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday, last orders, don't interrupt him because he hasn't finished yet, he's got to tell you what's wrong with the world before he wakes up and it all ends. You would believe this guy was a war vet or something with the confidence and delirium at which he pontificates.
Sure, many have said that the biggest disappointment ALSO has to be Frank! Season Four, and its conclusion, would have you believe that Frank is going to change somehow. No, he'll never be a great parent or upstanding citizen, but some sort development was clearly order after he faced death and barely came out on top. But ... no. Nothing changes, as we quickly discover. So, perhaps season 6 will bring us that "new" Frank?
Anyway, along with the always rising star of Emmy Rossum, the entire cast kicks butt in all 12 seriously hilarious and heart-wrenching episodes of season 5. And yes, the show takes on complex intra-family drug problems that are so real for many people, but that is why this is an exceptional drama. Perhaps your own life is like this. Perhaps you know someone's life is like this in your life.
No matter what your race or background you can take something away from 'Shameless'. Most television that likes to call itself Comedy, Drama, or both, tends towards a particular demographic, offering an escape fantasy for, say, the 'off-beat' teens in Glee or the sexually deviant young adults in True Blood or the repressed housewives in that show about the repressed housewives.
In mean, come on now. 'Shameless' doesn't escape anything, it lives in the world it is given and every so often reminds you, during those joyously chaotic scenes, that the sweetest lemonade is almost bitter; so it's just as well every episode is only an hour for you to laugh, cry and enjoy. Indeed, moments of anarchic jubilation inter lap, run over and sometimes juxtapose flourishes of near-the-bone reality, served eloquently on a fresh platter to which America needs to to have the stomach for.
FYI: Despite being in almost every episode since season one, Joan Cusack is still listed as a "special guest star" in the opening credits! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
2 All-New Featurettes - Shameless Sex Love and Gentrify This!!!
Commentary on Episode 7 - Tell Me You F**king Need Me
Blu ray Purchase Link