May 29, 2018  (Web Review)

Shameless: The Complete Eighth Season

Warner, 662 min., not rated, DVD: 3 discs, $29.99; Blu-ray: 3 discs, $39.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

The presidency of the Twitterer in Chief, as Frank Gallagher calls Trump, shaped the eighth season of Showtime’s signature series. The Gallagher clan grapples with an economy that favors the rich: jobs are scarce, homelessness is on the rise, and immigrant colleagues face deportation. If the death of their matriarch, Monica, devastated Frank (William H. Macy), the kids have moved on. Dedicated to turning over a new leaf, Frank stops drinking, makes amends, and gets a job at a big box store, but after a layoff he turns to smuggling immigrants. Meanwhile, Fiona’s (Emmy Rossum) self-improvement plan involves a gig as an apartment manager, which pits her against Ian (Cameron Monaghan), who becomes a crusader for homeless youth. The job prospects of Debbie (Emma Kenney) improve as she learns to weld even as it also leads to a stomach-turning injury. Alcoholism continues to haunt the series as Lip (Jeremy Allen White) struggles with his newfound sobriety. On a lighter note, Kevin (Steve Howey) reclaims his bar from the duplicitous Svetlana and connects with long-lost relatives in Kentucky, but this fast-moving show soon trades that storyline in favor of his attempts to spice up his sex life with Veronica (Shanola Hampton). This season also marks the emergence of Liam (Christian Isaiah) as a more fully-rounded character. One of two black students at his private school, Liam becomes a prop for administrators more concerned about the institution’s reputation than his welfare. If newlywed Carl’s (Ethan Cutkosky) stint as a rehab counselor challenges credulity, overall Shameless remains as watchable as ever. Compiling all 12 episodes from 2017, extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes. Recommended. (K. Fennessy)