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Showtime’s awards darling “Homeland” has ended, but the premium cable network’s longest-running series, “Shameless,” is still up and running. The comedy is entering its 11th and final season, which is scheduled to air sometime in 2021. But you don’t have to wait until next year to catch up with the Gallagher family and their Chicago adventures: All 10 seasons of the half-hour series are available to stream via Showtime.
The series follows Gallagher family patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) and his six children as they struggle to survive on the South Side of Chicago. The feel-good description is that throughout the seasons, each of the Gallagher children — eldest child (and de-facto parental figure) Fiona (Emmy Rossum), super-smart Lip (Jeremy Allen White), responsible Ian (Cameron Monaghan), troublemaker Carl (Ethan Cutkosky), youngest daughter Debbie (Emma Kenney), and the much-younger Liam (Christian Isaiah) — comes into their own as they all take care of each other. The closer-to-reality description is much more debaucherous (there’s a reason this isn’t on basic cable). Frank is an alcoholic, deadbeat, absentee dad who’s only looking out for himself. Life is hard, but the Gallaghers — the rest of them, at least — really do take care of each other (and their friends, like next-door neighbors and best friends Kev and V, played by Steve Howey a).
“Shameless” is available to stream in full via the Showtime streaming service app, which you can sign up for here. You don’t need to subscribe to Showtime via a cable service, you just need an internet connection and a supported device (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung and LG Smart TVs, Xbox One, Macs, PCs, iPhones, Android phones, and many other devices are all supported). You can subscribe monthly for $10.99 per month, or annually for $99 per year (though you can only sign up for yearly subscriptions via Showtime.com). You can also subscribe as an add-on service through Amazon Prime (which is also where you can purchase seasons for your personal digital library). The cost of the subscription will be charged to the payment method associated with your Showtime, Amazon, Android, Apple or Roku account, depending on where you started your subscription.
Your Showtime subscription provides access to hundreds of hours of programing, including original series like “Shameless,” movies, documentaries, standup comedy specials, and live sports. You can download showtime programs to watch offline via your mobile device, and new episodes are added for on-demand viewing at the same time they premiere on TV. You can also watch both East Coast and West Coast live feeds of the network.
Showtime also provides access to its full library of original series (like “Dexter” or “Homeland” or “Weeds”), not just shows that are airing right now (like “Billions” or “Desus and Mero” or new docuseries “Love Fraud”).
“Shameless” is set to end after its 11th season in the summer of 2020, co-presidents Gary Levine and Jana Winograde announced in January. The long-running John Wells series was scheduled to air this summer, but film and television production shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making that premiere date impossible. Instead, the cast headed back to work on Sept. 8 for their farewell season, which is now likely to air sometime in 2021.
The series is no stranger to farewells: Star Emmy Rossum said goodbye after the show’s ninth season, penning an emotional tribute to her character as she announced the news to fans.
“The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift. There are few characters — female or otherwise — as layered and dynamic,” Rossum wrote in a Facebook post. “She is a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated. She is injured, vulnerable, but will never give up. She is living in an economic depression, but refuses to be depressed. She is resourceful. She is loyal. She is brave. I knew it the second I read the pilot script, this was different, this was special.”
She also noted how deeply she and her castmates have bonded — so much that many of them were present at her wedding to director Sam Esmail in 2017.
“In real life, unlike Fiona, I’m an only child. I never had a big family. Being ensconced in that messy Gallagher family love is something I’d always dreamed of. But even off set, it feels real,” she wrote. “We’ve watched the kids grow up into the strong, talented, independent human beings that they are. I taught Emma to shave her legs. I was there when Ethan learned to drive. Shanola and Jeremy and Joan and Bill danced at my wedding in New York last year. Our fearless leader John Wells thankfully held Sam and me up on those rickety chairs during the hora. I’ve spent the Jewish holy days in temple with David Nevins and his wonderful wife and kids. It really feels like a family. This kind of stability, this family, has nurtured me and made feel safe enough to stretch and grow creatively. The way John Wells has shepherded me as an actress, and more recently how he’s encouraged me wholeheartedly as a director and a writer, has been an honor and a privilege.”
In December of 2016, Rossum made headlines when she (successfully) lobbied for more than equal pay to costar Macy, citing more screen time and longer hours on set. (Macy, for the record, supported Rossum in her fight: “She works as hard as I do. She deserves everything.”)
She reflected on her quest for equity while promoting her film “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” at Sundance in 2018, saying that she had to truly be willing to walk away from “Shameless” if she didn’t get what she wanted.
“When you love your show and you love the people you work with, obviously you want to keep doing it. And when the business side of what you do becomes public in that way, it really doesn’t feel great. It’s embarrassing,” Rossum told IndieWire. “But something brilliant came from that: We won, and so many people were empowered because of it. I stand with all the women who are fighting for pay equity and everything that they deserve — and that goes not just in our very little insular industry, that goes for government and doctors and nurses and teachers and farm workers.”
In 2017, at a Vulture panel in New York, she explained her feelings further: “When the show started, Bill [Macy] was the first person attached…I was the last piece of the puzzle and I’d never done TV before, I wasn’t as well known, and Bill [Macy] is obviously an Oscar nominee. For the first few seasons, the difference made a lot of sense. And then, as the time went on, the leadership role started to feel somewhat shared. I suppose I just felt that I love the show I love everyone in it, I wanted to keep doing it, but I just wanted it to feel right.”
She continued, “One of the nicest things about the way it all went down is I felt so supported by Bill [Macy] in that. Things that you said that were so supportive of me, just made me feel so good.”
Said Macy, “It’s a no-brainer. It’s something the country’s gotta fix. You get there earlier, you work harder. Just a silly discussion really…Who’s the center of the show? It’s Fiona. Of course she should get paid.”
The major question: Although Rossum left the series in its ninth season, will she return for the series finale? In her note announcing her departure, she made sure to note that she was leaving the door open for a future return.
“I know you will continue on without me, for now. There is much more Gallagher story to be told. I will always be rooting for my family. Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block,” she wrote.