With that in mind, I’d like to offer 6 of the show’s greatest strengths for critical consideration. It doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
1) Its energy surpasses all other shows right now
In terms of sheer kineticism, I’m not sure if there’s anything on TV currently that can match Shameless. The conceit of the entire show is that the Gallagher family doesn’t have it easy, but they know how to enjoy themselves. That spirit pervades the entire show. The result is this manic pacing that makes every episode feel like the most action-packed moments of The Boondock Saints, complete with Dropkick Murphys-styled music and plenty of violence, drugs and sex. The franticness and general style with which the show is edited lends itself to a feeling of perpetually high stakes, which feels somehow appropriate for people in the Gallagher’s economic situation. More often than not, they’re living in a race against the clock, or more accurately, against bill collection time.
Of course it’s the momentary contrasts in pacing the show captures that make the more kinetic sequences really pop. If it didn’t handle the quieter, more subdued scenes incredibly well, then there would be issues with balance and exhaustion for the viewer. Also, too much action can become boring, if that’s all there is without breaks or moments of pause. Shameless balances this out extremely well. But the exciting sequences are where it feels most at home.