SKAM: Why a Norwegian TV series became a global phenomenon

 In Americanoizing

When it comes to TV series, I consider myself quite an expert. I almost spend every night watching an episode from one of the many TV shows I follow and I definitely became selective when it comes to start watching a new show.
However, the first time I was introduced to SKAM, I couldn’t help but feel curious. The idea of so many people engaging in a TV series that wasn’t American nor British, made me ask myself what was so special about it.
For those who don’t know, SKAM is a Norwegian tv series that revolves around the lives of highschoolers dealing with all kinds of problems related to teenager life, which usually extend from family to love and friends and much more.

The special factor that makes this particular tv show so unique and special is its format. In fact, the full episode would air on Friday nights in Norway, but the viewer could follow the characters’ lives on the tv show’s official website. Each season revolves around one character and on the website viewers could access to all the Facebook and Instagram posts the character shared, and all the text messages and messenger chats he or she would receive or send. The idea behind it is that the characters are real people, with real Facebook and Instagram profiles that you can follow: whatever is happening during the week to the characters, it is actually happening for real. Therefore, between all the texts and posts, you would also get videoclips.

A clip would come out on a Wednesday night at 6:34 PM? That would mean that that week, that Wednesday, at that specific hour, that’s what was happening to the character. In the end, on Friday nights, they would air the collection of the clips from that week.
The creator, Julie Andem, studied teenagers, their way of dealing with social media and how important they were to them, and realised that creating a format like this for a show, would make it way more realistic than any other show before.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the series went viral on social media during season 3. This season’s protagonist is Isak, a boy dealing with his coming out and love for the first time. The way he looks up his crush on social medias obsessively, the sleepless nights he spends googling “how to be attracted to girls if you’re gay”, and his journey to acceptance and love throughout the whole season made the viewers extremely fond of him.
After becoming one of the most watched tv series around the globe, the producers announced that season 4 would be the last. Right after, rumors about the creator selling the show to America started spreading and from that moment on, it was confirmed that SKAM will not only be produced in America, but also in many other Countries, like Italy, Spain, Netherlands and France.

 

SKAM completely changed my views on TV shows. The actors, the dialogues, the way the scenes are shot, the plot and the social media format make the show one of the most amazing, real, raw and special shows ever. The messages behind the stories of each character are so important and relevant to the generation and society we live in, that it is not surprising that so many people fell in love with it and feel extremely skeptic about the show being used for new versions. The Norwegian culture within the show, the actors’ amazing skills are things that can’t be reproduced in new versions of the show to come. And to be completely honest, I don’t think any version will ever be able to compare to that.

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