Television content is rapidly changing whether it is in terms of the structure, storylines or the technology used to create the content. Some TV shows have a basic repetitive format, so it can be refreshing to find a new style of content to engage with.
If you don’t already know, Skam (translation Shame) is a Norwegian TV series depicting the lives of a group of teenagers and their journey at school. Each season is told from a different person’s point of view within the group. The series reached further than its intended audience in Norway towards the end of 2016 and has left everyone wanting more. Its presence almost grew overnight with content being spread across Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Vine.
There are so many shows surrounding a teenage group but what is special about Skam is the content outside of the TV show. Each character has their own individual social media accounts which depict the lives of the characters. These accounts are updated whilst the series is on air and provide the audience with glimpses into their lives that we wouldn’t see in a normal episode. We gain access to their texts and group chat conversations building the character’s personality from the finest detail. Short clips which form the weekly episodes are uploaded onto the official website, providing new content every day. This new style of television blurs the line between fiction and reality as the audience can revisit and check in with the characters and their day to day lives just by scrolling through social media feeds.
Skam has formed a strong community amongst non-Norwegian speakers and the native speakers who work very hard to translate every piece of content that is uploaded in less than a day. Although there is a prominent language barrier, the situations the characters are in and discuss resonates with youth universally. Skam is highly praised for its mention and discussion of current events and topics teenagers engage with such as sexuality, mental health, religion and feminism. When characters debate and tackle topics like Islamophobia and the migrant crisis, it depicts what it is like to be a teenager growing up in the current political climate and how they deal with it.
By having teenagers played by actual teenagers it gives the show the authenticity it depicts within its storylines about relationships, friendships and being a student. Small details are what makes the show so enjoyable. This can be as simple as characters wearing the same article of clothing across numerous episodes as opposed to having an unlimited supply of clothes, or even having actors with acne without trying to cover it up with a load of makeup.
If you watched and enjoyed Skins I would highly recommend you watch Skam. There is a similar style of focusing on individual characters, but it is every season rather than single episodes. Skins has more of a dramatic and darker view of general topics teenagers deal with whilst Skam is slow paced with a light hearted tone but still deals with current events. I managed to complete the show in a matter of days and am eagerly waiting for the news about the main character for Season 4. Who do you think it is?
Even if you don’t end up enjoying the show you will leave having learnt a little bit about Norwegian youth culture and a few of their phrases. Let me know what you think of the show if you have seen it or any other foreign TV shows you enjoy. Takk (Thanks) for reading!