On the surface, an American adaptation of a Norwegian teen series might not sound very intriguing. But the Norwegian series Skam, which The New York Times reports will soon make its way to the U.S. and Canada courtesy of Simon Fuller, is not just another show; it’s a sensation. And it’s made waves for one major reason: its unique distribution model.
In essence, Skam won’t leave its fans alone. Throughout the week, the Times explains, the series posts four to six scenes on its Web site at the time when those moments would occur in real life—a Saturday-night party gets posted on Saturday night; a Tuesday morning class goes up Tuesday morning. The scenes are released as surprises; at the end of the week, all of them will appear within the show’s new episode. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation also posts supplemental material online, such as text messages sent between characters. Each character also has an Instagram account—a clever idea that seemingly borrows from fan culture—and sometimes the series creates Facebook pages for events within the show.
This strategy has allowed the series to take Norway by storm, according to the Times:
Now finishing up its third season, it’s become the most-watched web TV show in Norwegian history since it first aired in September 2015, averaging 1.2 million unique visitors a week to the site and more than a million people streaming the weekly TV episode, in a country with a population of five million people.
Additionally, the show has already amassed an international following: according to the Times, this year its viewership in the U.S., Russia, and France ballooned by double digits. It’s particularly popular among L.G.B.T. communities.
All of this piqued Fuller’s interest, the Times reports, along with the show’s quiet, intimate depictions of its characters and their relationships. The series, set in Oslo, covers a wide swath of topics—per the Times, its characters “navigate sex, school, drinking, depression, rape, religion, coming out and the pains of status anxiety, in real life and online.” Each season focuses on one character. The show’s English-language adaptation will be titled Shame.