August 15, 2020  (Web Review)

Shameless: The Complete Tenth Season

Warner, 672 min., not rated, DVD: 3 discs, $24.98, May 12

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

The 10th season of Showtime’s Shameless marks the first in which Emmy Rossum’s Fiona doesn’t appear, since she left the South Side the previous year. The result is a show with less gravitas than before. Though the pace has always been hectic, Fiona provided the mostly calm center at the heart of the storm, a template Anne-Marie Duff established in the original Channel 4 series. With Fiona’s departure, Debbie (Emma Kenney), a single mother, becomes head of the Gallagher clan. If she has confidence on her side, common sense isn’t her strong suit, and she ends up tangling with a wealthy woman (Constance Zimmer) and her resentful daughter (Alison Jaye). With Ian (Cameron Monaghan) finishing up a jail term, the household starts out smaller than before, but grows throughout the season as Lip (Jeremy Allen White) and Tami (Kate Miner) welcome Baby Fred and Frank’s partner in crime, Mikey (Luis Guzman), who crashes with him until he can find a more permanent home—preferably one that doesn’t cost any money. After feeling like the odd man out for 10 years, Liam (Christian Isaiah) decides it’s time to explore his African-American roots, first by dressing up as a variety of civil rights icons, like Frederick Douglass, and then by seeking out mentors, like tavern co-owner Veronica (Shanola Hampton), who continues to find creative ways to make money on the side with her husband, Kev (Steve Howey). Liam eventually finds his niche as a talent agent, a not especially credible development, even within the bounds of a show built on exaggeration. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) also moves back after his graduation from military school. He returns to his fast-food job where he hits it off with his Latina coworker, Anne (Chelsea Rendon), even as he continues to see Kelly (Jess Gabor). When Anne’s immigrant family needs a place to hide out from ICE, Carl offers to put them up, and the house becomes more crowded than ever, not least when they turn it into a tamale factory. But they disappear just as quickly as they appeared, and the season ends with a wedding and a possible arrest, creating opportunities for new storylines. This set compiles all 12 episodes plus deleted scenes from season 10. Shameless was renewed for an 11th and final season, an achievement it now shares with its British predecessor. A strong optional purchase. (K. Fennessy)