Shameless (Season 1) (2011)

Despite a fascinating story and some terrific camera work, writing and plotting, there just seems to be something missing from this first season. Whether it’s the lack of chemistry between central performers Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin (not to mention an overall weak performance by Rossum) or the overabundance of characters, there’s a tonal shift from scene to scene that could cause whiplash, artlessly veering from comedy to drama and back again. Add in a derth of likable characters and you end up with a promising but notably flawed season that could be terrific with some fine tuning. Watch for an electrifying extended guest performance by Joan Cusack, who often serves as a shot of life in the arm for the show.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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