norway's most scandalous teen tv show is getting an english remake

'Skam' is a raw and risqué portrait of teen lives in Norway, tackling issues such as sex, drinking, queerness, and depression.

by Hannah Ongley
09 December 2016, 11:04pm

Norway's most-watched TV show ever is in a foreign language, but it's main theme is pretty universal: being a teenager is brutal. Skam — an intimate and emotional network drama series about the everyday lives of teens at Oslo's Hartvig Nissen School — has been praised for its uncensored approach to issues including sex, alcohol, depression, religion, and date rape, even being lauded by the Norwegian police for its handling of one character's nude photo scandal. 

The New York Times now reports that the show is getting an English remake for U.S. and Canadian audiences, courtesy of former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller and his company XIX Entertainment. Fuller was apparently impressed by the show's web savvy. It's promoted only through social media, and all the characters have (wildly popular) Instagram accounts. Skam's creator Julie Andem wrote the first episode after traveling around Norway interviewing teenagers about their lives, and pays close attention to feedback on Facebook and Tumblr to keep the storylines believable. Judging by Tumblr's fanatical response to one character coming out as gay and falling for an older boy, that approach has been pretty successful so far. 

The U.S. version will be renamed Shame and overseen by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), which also produces the original version. America hasn't historically been brilliant at adapting overseas television shows for local audiences, but Skam is a pretty unique show. "We are exploring all content outlets," Fuller told the Times. "Shame works across all platforms and that is what gives it a point of difference. We are looking to innovate and push the boundaries of how modern content is viewed and experienced." Production is expected to start next year. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via NRK TV