Skam (TV series)

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Skam
Skam tittel.png
Genre Teen drama
Created by Julie Andem
Developed by Julie Andem
Starring Lisa Teige (no)
Josefine Frida Pettersen
Tarjei Sandvik Moe
Iman Meskini
Composer(s) Christian Wibe
Country of origin Norway
Original language(s) Norwegian
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 43
Production
Producer(s) Marianne Furevold-Boland (no)
Location(s) Oslo
Cinematography Daniel McStay
Maja Holand
Ragnar Molstad
Running time 15–59 minutes
Production company(s) NRK
Release
Original network NRK
Original release 25 September 2015 (2015-09-25) – 24 June 2017 (2017-06-24)
External links
[skam.p3.no Website]

Skam (Norwegian pronunciation: [skɑm]; English: Shame) is a Norwegian teen drama web series about the daily life of teenagers at the Hartvig Nissen School, a gymnasium in the wealthy borough of Frogner in West End Oslo. It was produced by NRK P3, which is part of the Norwegian government-owned NRK.

Skam follows a new main character each season. While airing, a new clip, conversation or social media post was published in real-time on the NRK website on a daily basis. Each season has focus on particular topics, ranging from relationship difficulties, identity, eating disorders, sexual assault, homosexuality, mental health issues, religion, and forbidden love.

Despite no promotion ahead of its 2015 launch, Skam broke viewership records. Its premiere episode is among the most-watched episodes in NRK's history, and by the middle of season two, it was responsible for half of NRK's traffic. With season three, it broke all streaming records in Norway, along with viewership records in neighbouring countries Denmark and Sweden, and attracted an active international fanbase on social media, where fans promoted translations to aid in understanding. The show repeatedly made international headlines for its popularity surge across the world, and the show's actors became famous worldwide. However, the international popularity was not expected, with the music industry requiring geoblocking of NRK's website due to music license contracts only supporting the Norwegian public. The series ended after its fourth season in 2017, reportedly due to high production stress.

Skam received critical acclaim and significant recognition for its portrayal of sexual abuse in the second season and homosexuality in the third. The series was also praised for its contributions to promote Norwegian language and culture internationally, as well as for its unique distribution format, adopting a new strategy of real-time, high-engagement, snippet-based distribution rather than rigidity and television schedules. It received multiple Norwegian awards throughout its run, being honored for its dramatic narrative, innovative storytelling format, writing, directing, and actors' performances. The series has an American adaptation in production led by Skam showrunner Julie Andem, as well as local remakes in multiple European countries.

Hartvig Nissen School[edit]

The series focuses on the daily life of teenagers at the Hartvig Nissen School (Hartvig Nissens skole), a prestigious gymnasium (preparatory high school) located in the Frogner borough in Oslo's West End, with the address Niels Juels gate (Niels Juel Street) 56.[1] The school is informally and widely known simply as "Nissen." Originally named Nissen's Girls' School, it was founded by Hartvig Nissen in 1849 as a private girls' school which was owned by its headmasters and which served the higher bourgeoisie. It is the second oldest gymnasium in Oslo and is widely considered one of the country's most prestigious; its alumni include many famous individuals and two members of the Norwegian royal family. The school was the first higher school in Norway which admitted women.[2]

Concept[edit]

At the start of a week, a clip, conversation or social media post is posted on the Skam website. New material is posted on a daily basis, with the content unified and combined into one full episode on Fridays.[3] The main character differs from season to season,[4] and the fictional characters have social media profiles where viewers can follow their activities.[3] The show allows public interaction over the duration of the episode.

Characters[edit]

The following are characters in Skam.[5]

Character Portrayed by Seasons
1 2 3 4
Eva Kviig Mohn
Main Recurring
Noora Amalie Sætre
Recurring Main Recurring
Isak Valtersen
Recurring Main Recurring
Sana Bakkoush
Recurring Main3
Jonas Noah Vasquez
Marlon Valdés Langeland
Recurring Recurring3
Vilde Hellerud Lien
Recurring Recurring3
Christina "Chris" Berg
Recurring Recurring3
Christoffer "Penetrator-Chris" Schistad
Herman Tømmeraas
Recurring Recurring3
Ingrid Theis Gaupseth
Cecilie Martinsen
Recurring Guest Recurring
Sara Nørstelien
Kristina Ødegaard
Recurring Guest Recurring
Magnus Fossbakken
David Alexander Sjøholt
Recurring1 Guest1 Recurring
William Magnusson
Recurring Recurring3
Eskild Tryggvason
Carl Martin Eggesbø
Recurring Recurring3
Linn Larsen Hansen
Rakel Øfsti Nesje
Recurring Recurring3
Even Bech Næsheim
Recurring Recurring3
Mahdi Disi
Sacha Kleber Nyiligira
Recurring
Emma W. Larzen
Ruby Dagnall
Recurring Guest
Mikael Øverlie Boukhal
Yousef Hjelde Elmofty
Guest2 Recurring
Yousef Acar
Cengiz Al
Recurring
Elias Bakkoush
Simo Mohamed Elhbabi
Recurring
Adam Malik
Adam Ezzari
Recurring
Mutasim Tatouti
Mutasim Billah
Recurring

1In season one, David Alexander Sjøholt was credited as playing a character called David, though his name was never spoken in the show. This could be the character Magnus or Sjøholt was playing a different student. Sjøholt also makes an uncredited appearance in the last episode of season two.

2In season three, Mikael appears uncredited in a video Isak finds on the Internet of Even.

3In the final episode of season four, the main character changes between each clip. Vilde, Penetrator-Chris, Jonas, Chris, Even and William each have a clip where they are the main character. Eskild and Linn have one clip together.

Main cast[edit]

  • Lisa Teige as Eva Kviig Mohn (born June 2, 1999) is the main character in the first season. When we first meet Eva, she recently started dating Jonas, who just ended a relationship with Eva's best friend Ingrid. Her relationship with Jonas is complicated and she finds it hard to trust him, eventually leading her to cheat on him and ultimately leading to their breakup at the end of season one. Eva lives at home with a busy mom and starts at the Hartvig Nissen school ("Nissen") in 2015 together with her friends and former classmates Jonas, Ingrid, Sara and Isak. Losing her former best friends Ingrid and Sara due to her relationship to Jonas, she starts up new friendships with Noora, Chris, Vilde and Sana at Nissen. After season one, Eva is mostly portrayed as an outgoing and promiscuous party-girl.
  • Josefine Frida Pettersen as Noora Amalie Sætre (born April 6, 1999) is the main character in the second season. Noora is portrayed as a confident, smart and helpful character in seasons one and two. In the second season, it is however revealed that she has some insecurities after all. She lives with two roommates and does not have contact with her parents. Unlike her friends Eva, Chris and Vilde, Noora is not into drinking or hooking with guys. When the school's playboy William continues to flirt with her despite several rejections, she eventually gets interested in him, but due to her prejudices against him, she finds it hard to accept. They end up in a relationship at the end of season two. In seasons three and four, Noora is portrayed a little bit more naive and restless, as she faces complications in her relationship with William.
  • Tarjei Sandvik Moe as Isak Valtersen (born June 21, 1999) is the main character in the third season. Isak is a close friend of both Eva and Jonas in season one. At the end of the season, Noora and Eva find homosexual pornography on Isak's phone, raising suspicions about his sexual orientation. Season three follows Isak's struggles to accept his sexuality. He meets Even, and the two quickly fall in love and begin to secretly see each other. However, Isak unknowingly pushes Even (who has bipolar disorder) away by revealing that he doesn't want to be around people with mental disorders, due to his traumatizing experiences with his mentally ill mother. After struggling with his feelings for Even, Isak decides to come out to his best friend Jonas, and eventually to other people that he is close to. He gets back together with Even with the aid of his friends, but after Even has a manic episode, he distances himself from him again out of fear and heartbreak. However, he comes to better understand Even's situation after a discussion with his friends, and reunites with Even after he realizes that he loves him, accepting the obstacles created by his disorder. In season four, Isak is portrayed as much happier, as he lives comfortably and publicly in a relationship with Even.
  • Iman Meskini as Sana Bakkoush (born December 24, 1999) is the main character in the fourth season. Sana's biggest struggle throughout the series is to live the traditional Muslim lifestyle and the traditional Norwegian gymnasium-lifetyle at the same time. Sana is portrayed as decisive and eloquent, but faces constant prejudices from her classmates, her parents and people she meets on the street, which sometimes leads Sana to take irrational decisions. This peaks when Sana anonymously cyberbullies her classmate Sara, who wants to exclude Sana from their russefeiring-squad. Unlike Eva, Noora and Isak, she has a close relationship with her family. In season 4, she falls in love with Yousef, who she initially thinks is a Muslim, but turns out not to be. After initial attempts to distance herself from him, they appear to grow closer later in the season.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Marlon Valdés Langeland as Jonas Noah Vasquez (born December 20, 1999), Eva's boyfriend in the first season. He is also Isak's best friend and a classmate of all the main characters.
  • Ulrikke Falch as Vilde Hellerud Lien (born July 13, 1999), the naive fourth member of the main girl squad. She is the enthusiastic initiator of russefeiring, revy and other social events for the squad.
  • Ina Svenningdal as Christina "Chris" Berg (born January 6, 1999), the amusing fifth member of the girl squad. She usually avoids most conflicts and emotionally deep conversations.
  • Cecilie Martinsen as Ingrid Theis Gaupseth (born February 23, 1999), Jonas's girlfriend and Eva's best friend prior to season one. Ingrid is a member of the russefeiring-squad "Pepsi Max", which often rivals the main characters squad.
  • Kristina Ødegaard as Sara Nørstelien (born July 12, 1999), Ingrid's best friend and leader of the "Pepsi Max" squad. Sara dates Isak in the second season.
  • Herman Tømmeraas as Christoffer "Penetrator-Chris" Schistad (born March 21, 1997), the on-and-off love interest of Eva through all four seasons. He is two years older than the main cast, but also studies at Nissen in the first two seasons.
  • Thomas Hayes as William Magnusson (born January 10, 1997), the flirt and eventually boyfriend of Noora in the second season. He is also classmate and best friend of Penetrator-Chris.
  • David Alexander Sjøholt as Magnus Fossbakken (born October 30, 1999), Isak's awkward friend and classmate. In the fourth season he is in a relationship with Vilde.
  • Carl Martin Eggesbø as Eskild Tryggvason (born August 19, 1995), the stereotypically homosexual roommate of Noora in season two and four, and of Isak's in season three.
  • Rakel Øfsti Nesje as Linn Larsen Hansen (born January 1, 1996), the introverted roommate of Eskild and Noora/Isak.
  • Henrik Holm as Even Bech Næsheim (born February 12, 1997), the love affair and eventual boyfriend of Isak. Even is diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point prior to season 3.
  • Simo Mohamed Elhbabi as Elias Bakkoush (born March 5, 1997), Sana's brother and Even's former classmate.
  • Cengiz Al as Yousef Acar (born September 21, 1997), the atheist love interest of Sana. Yousef is also Elias's best friend and former classmate.

Episodes[edit]

Overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
11125 September 2015 (2015-09-25)11 December 2015 (2015-12-11)
2124 March 2016 (2016-03-04)3 June 2016 (2016-06-03)
3107 October 2016 (2016-10-07)16 December 2016 (2016-12-16)
41014 April 2017 (2017-04-14)24 June 2017 (2017-06-24)

Season 1[edit]

The first clip from season 1 was made available on Tuesday, 22 September 2015,[6] with the combined clips during the week premiering as a full episode on Friday, 25 September 2015.[7] The season consists of 11 episodes; the main character is Eva Mohn.[7] The storyline deals with Eva's difficult relationship with her boyfriend Jonas and the themes of loneliness, identity, belonging and friendship.

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDurationOriginal air date
11"Du ser ut som en slut (You look like a slut)"20 min25 September 2015 (2015-09-25)
22"Jonas, dette er helt dust (Jonas, this is totally dumb)"17 min2 October 2015 (2015-10-02)
33"Vi er de største loserne på skolen (We're the biggest losers at school)"17 min9 October 2015 (2015-10-09)
44"Go for it din lille slut (Go for it, you little slut)"15 min16 October 2015 (2015-10-16)
55"Hva er det som gjør deg kåt? (What turns you on?)"19 min23 October 2015 (2015-10-23)
66"Man vet når gutter lyver (You know when a boy is lying)"23 min30 October 2015 (2015-10-30)
77"Tenker alltid det er meg det er noe gale med (I always think it's me there's something wrong with)"20 min13 November 2015 (2015-11-13)
88"Hele skolen hater meg (The whole school hates me)"24 min20 November 2015 (2015-11-20)
99"Man er det man gjør (You are what you do)"21 min27 November 2015 (2015-11-27)
1010"Jeg tenker du har blitt helt psyko (I think that you've become totally psycho)"21 min4 December 2015 (2015-12-04)
1111"Et jævlig dumt valg (A really stupid choice)"35 min11 December 2015 (2015-12-11)

Season 2[edit]

The first clip from season 2 was made available on Monday, 29 February 2016,[8] with the combined clips during the week premiering as a full episode on Friday, 4 March 2016.[7] The season consists of 12 episodes; the main character is Noora Amalie Sætre.[7] The season is about her relationship with William and deals with issues of friendship, feminism, eating disorder, self-image, violence, sexual violence and the contemporaneous refugee crisis in relation to Norwegian democracy.

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDurationOriginal air date
121"Om du bare hadde holdt det du lovet (If only you'd kept your promises)"26 min4 March 2016 (2016-03-04)
132"Du lyver til en venninne og skylder på meg (You lie to a friend and blame me)"26 min11 March 2016 (2016-03-11)
143"Er det noe du skjuler for oss? (Are you hiding something from us?)"36 min18 March 2016 (2016-03-18)
154"Jeg visste det var noe rart med henne (I knew there was something strange about her) (Easter Special)"29 min25 March 2016 (2016-03-25)
165"Jeg er i hvert fall ikke sjalu (I'm certainly not jealous)"32 min1 April 2016 (2016-04-01)
176"Jeg vil ikke bli beskytta (I don't want to be protected)"24 min22 April 2016 (2016-04-22)
187"Noora, du trenger pikk (Noora, you need cock)"24 min29 April 2016 (2016-04-29)
198"Du tenker bare på William (You're only thinking of William)"41 min6 May 2016 (2016-05-06)
209"Jeg savner deg så jævlig (I miss you so damn much)"22 min13 May 2016 (2016-05-13)
2110"Jeg skal forklare alt (I'll explain everything)"49 min20 May 2016 (2016-05-20)
2211"Husker du seriøst ingenting? (Do you seriously remember nothing?)"30 min27 May 2016 (2016-05-27)
2312"Vil du flytte sammen med meg? (Will you move in with me?)"50 min3 June 2016 (2016-06-03)

Season 3[edit]

The first clip from season 3 was made available on Sunday, 2 October 2016,[9][10] with the combined clips during the week premiering as a full episode on Friday, 7 October 2016.[7] The season consists of 10 episodes; the main character is Isak Valtersen.[7] The season deals with Isak's burgeoning relationship with Even Bech Næsheim and is principally a coming out story that deals with issues of love, sexual identity, authenticity, mental illness, religion and friendship.

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDurationOriginal air date
241"Lykke til, Isak (Good luck, Isak)"27 min7 October 2016 (2016-10-07)
252"Du er over 18, sant? (You're over 18, right?)"26 min14 October 2016 (2016-10-14)
263"Nå bånder dere i overkant mye" / "Hun er på (You're bonding too much/She is on)"22 min21 October 2016 (2016-10-21)
274"Keen på å bade" / "Da vorser vi sammen? (Feel like swimming/Then we pre-party together?)"20 min28 October 2016 (2016-10-28)
285"Samme tid et helt annet sted" / "Kan jeg bli her med deg for altid? (At the same time in a completely different place/Can I stay here with you forever?)"30 min4 November 2016 (2016-11-04)
296"Escobar season" / "Kan du ikke bare si det? (Escobar season/Can't you just say it?)"19 min18 November 2016 (2016-11-18)
307"Er du homo? (Are you gay?)"23 min25 November 2016 (2016-11-25)
318"Mannen i mitt liv" / "Drit i å ringe Isak (The man of my dreams/Stop fucking calling Isak)"30 min2 December 2016 (2016-12-02)
329"Det går over" / "Velkommen til mobilsvar (It will pass/Welcome to voicemail)"18 min9 December 2016 (2016-12-09)
3310"Minutt for minutt" / "Jeg så deg første skoledag (Minute by minute/I saw you the first day of school)"33 min16 December 2016 (2016-12-16)
  • NRK TV and NRK P3 used different titles for 7 of the season 3 episodes.

Season 4[edit]

The first clip from season 4 was made available on Monday, 10 April 2017,[11] with the combined clips during the week premiering as a full episode on Friday, 14 April 2017.[7] The season consisted of 10 episodes,[12] and the main character is Sana Bakkoush.[7] The season deals with the Islamic religion, forbidden love, cyberbullying, friendship, and the Norwegian russ celebratory period.

The series finale episode switches character clip-to-clip, focusing on short stories by characters not given their own, full season. The episode deals with parental depression, love rejection, jealousy, friendship, mutual relationship support, and fear of abandonment.

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDurationOriginal air date
341"Du hater å henge med oss (You hate hanging out with us)"25 min14 April 2017 (2017-04-14)
352"Jeg er gutt, jeg får ikke hat (I'm a boy, I don't get hate)"18 min21 April 2017 (2017-04-21)
363"Hva mener du om drikking? (What do you think about drinking?)"28 min28 April 2017 (2017-04-28)
374"Allah hadde digget deg (Allah would dig you)"30 min5 May 2017 (2017-05-05)
385"Hvis du er trist er jeg trist (If you're sad then I'm sad)"27 min12 May 2017 (2017-05-12)
396"Har du en dårlig dag? (Are you having a bad day?)"30 min26 May 2017 (2017-05-26)
407"Vi må stå sammen (We must stand together)"36 min2 June 2017 (2017-06-02)
418"De største loserne på skolen (The biggest losers at school)"35 min9 June 2017 (2017-06-09)
429"Livet smiler (Life smiles)"48 min16 June 2017 (2017-06-16)
4310"Takk for alt (Thanks for everything)"59 min24 June 2017 (2017-06-24)

Production[edit]

Julie Andem created Skam. In an interview with Rushprint in April 2016, Andem discussed production of the series. Originally developed for 16-year-old girls, Andem made use of the "NABC" production model ("Needs/Approach/Benefit/Competition"), and instead of collecting information from a vast amount of sources, she had extensive, hours-long interviews with a single representative to uncover what needs that specific target audience had in order to cover that story. In contrast to American shows, which were the primary competition for shows attracting attention from teenagers, Andem stated that she had one advantage; knowing who the audience were and what culture they grew up in. One major area of exploration Andem found through research was pressure; she stated that "the pressure to perform is very high for this target audience. They strive to perform in so many ways. That's fine, and it doesn't necessarily have to be dangerous or unhealthy. But what is unhealthy is that many feel like they can't live up to the demands, and therefore feel that they failed. They are comparing themselves to each other, not themselves. And then a thought occurred: How to get them to let go of the pressure through a series like Skam".[13] Andem wanted the show to be a combination of social realism, soap opera, and sitcom, transitioning between the genres as the scenes switch, for example from the comical scenes of a doctor's office to the make-out scenes on the stairs. She admitted it didn't always work, saying that one particular scene change in episode 5 of season 1 from the stairs to the doctor's office was "a dramatic jump", and elaborated that "in a later scene, I told the photographer that we maybe should try to go a little closer. But we didn't get the humor, so: fuckit, we'll shoot sitcom-ish and blend the genres."[13]

Andem created nine characters, without any backstory. Everyone was supposed to be able to lead a season, and the show was going to switch character season-to-season. 1,200 people auditioned for the roles in the first round of casting. As production started, Andem wrote scripts for the shows, and there was no improvisation. "A lot of people think much of the show is improvised. It's not. A lot is written for the actors. And before and after a scene, I'll wait for a while before I say thank you and let them play a little in the scene. If a scene doesn't work, we'll fix it and see what in the script doesn't work."[13] Production had a short deadline, with scripts written in three days, one-and-a-half days to shoot, and four-to-five days to edit. "The plan must be there, and we just have to finish through".[13] The series' use of real-time was planned from early on, and Andem wrote the series in episodic format, although the content also had to work for daily releases, including a cliffhanger ending in each scene. Andem read the comments for each day, and looked for feedback from the audience on how to end each season while still keeping her original plans in some way.[13]

As the series premiered, there was little or no promotion for the show, due to the production's and NRK's wish for teenagers to find it on their own, spread the news through social media, and avoid the older generation even noticing the series.[13] There were no launch interviews, no reviews,[13] and the actors were shielded from the media, with NRK P3 editorial chief Håkon Moslet saying that "We want most of the focus to be on the show. These actors are very young, I think it's good they're being shielded a little. They do also notice the popularity of the series".[14]

The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in December 2016 that the production of seasons 2 and 3 of Skam had cost a combined sum of NOK10 million. NRK P3 editorial chief Håkon Moslet stated: "For being a drama of high quality, Skam is a very cost-efficient production."[15]

In December 2016, the series was renewed for a fourth season.[16][17] In early April 2017, it was announced that the first clip from the fourth season would premiere on 10 April, and that it would be the last season of the series.[18][19][20] NRK P3 editorial chief Håkon Moslet stated that the making of Skam had been "an extreme sport",[20] and in an Instagram post, creator, writer and director Julie Andem wrote that "Skam has been a 24/7 job. It has also been amazingly fun to work on, and I really believe that has given the series a unique energy, and ensured that Skam continues to surprise and entertain. We recently decided that we won't be making a new season this fall. I know many of you out there will be upset and disappointed to hear this, but I'm confident this is the right decision."[21]

On 23 June 2017, one day before the series finale, the entire cast officially met the press before the series' wrap party, answering questions from fans around the world and describing their experiences and memories from production. It was notably the first time all the actors were allowed to break their silence and speak to the public.[22][23]

Adaptations[edit]

In December 2016, Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment production company signed a deal with NRK to produce an American version of the series, then-titled Shame.[24][25] The series will introduce new characters and actors, but retain the storytelling format of Skam.[26][27] Location scouting and pre-production is in progress, with an expected debut in 2018.[28] In October 2017, during the MIPCOM trade show, it was announced that the show will air on Facebook's "Facebook Watch" original video platform.[29][30]

In April 2017, the Danish theatre Aveny-T was reported to have acquired exclusive rights to produce a stage version of Skam. Four different performances will be made, one for each season, with the first show having taking place in Copenhagen on 15 September 2017,[31][32] and the remaining three performances produced once a year through the year 2020.[33]

In September 2017, French entertainment website AlloCiné reported on the imminent production of a French remake of the series.[34]

In October 2017, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter reported that local adaptations of Skam would be produced in five European countries; Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. NRK CEO Thor Gjermund Eriksen said in a statement that "We are very excited about the tremendous interest that Skam/Shame has generated outside of Norway. The creators of Skam aimed to help 16-year-old-girls strengthen their self-esteem through dismantling taboos, making them aware of interpersonal mechanisms and showing them the benefits of confronting their fears. This is a vision we are proud to bring to other countries".[35] Variety notes that each local production will be required to do its own local research into the dilemmas and dreams of its teenagers, rather than copying the original Norwegian production.[36]

Counterparts[edit]

SKAM (Norwegian)
and SKAM (Danish theater)
SKAM France DRUCK (German) SKAM Italia SKAM Austin (US)
Hartvig Nissen School, Oslo Lycée Dorian, Paris Barnim-Gymnasium, Berlin Liceo J. F. Kennedy, Rome Bouldin High School, Austin, Texas
Eva Kviig Mohn Emma Borgès Hanna Jung Eva Brighi Megan Flores
Noora Amalie Sætre Manon Demissy Mia Amalie Winter Eleonora Sava Grace Olsen
Isak Valtersen Lucas Lallemant Matteo Florenzi Martino Rametta Shay Dixon & Tyler Nunez
Sana Bakkoush Imane Bakhellal Amira Thalia Mahmood Sana Allagui Zoya Ali
Jonas Noah Vasquez Yann Cazas Jonas Augustin Giovanni Garau Marlon Frazier
Vilde Hellerud Lien Daphné Lecomte Kiki Machwitz Silvia Mirabella Kelsey Russell
Christina "Chris" Berg Alexia "Alex" Martineau Sam M'Pele Federica "Fede" Cacciotti Josefina "Jo" Valencia
Christoffer "Penetrator-Chris" Schistad Alexandre "Alex" Delano Samuel "Sam" Fischer Federico "Fede" Canegallo Jordan "Penetrator Jo" Díaz
William Magnusson Charles Munier Alexander Hardenberg Edoardo Incanti Daniel Williamson
Ingrid Theis Gaupseth Ingrid Spielman Leonie Richter Laura Abigail "Abby" Heyward
Sara Nørstelien Sarah Blum - Sara -
Even Bech Næsheim Elliot - Niccolò -
Eskild Tryggvason Mickaël - - -
Linn Larsen Hansen Lisa - - -

Distribution[edit]

In Norway, the series is available on the radio channel NRK P3's website,[7] and on the web television solution NRK TV.[37] The weekly episodes are also aired on Fridays on TV channel NRK3.[37] The series has been licensed to air as a Nordvision co-production by public service broadcasters in other Nordic countries, specifically:[38][39]

  • In Denmark, the series is shown by DR on the DR TV streaming service and aired on TV channel DR3 since December 2016.[40][38]
  • In Finland, the series is shown by Yle on the Yle Areena streaming service since December 2016.[41]
  • In Iceland, the series is shown by RÚV on both its streaming service and television channel.[38]
  • In Sweden, the series is shown by SVT on the SVT Play streaming service since December 2016.[42]

Reception[edit]

Norway and Nordic countries[edit]

In Norway, on average, about 192,000 viewers watched the first season, with the first episode being one of the most viewed of all time on NRK TV online.[43] In the first week of June 2016, streaming of Skam was responsible for over half of the traffic on NRK TV.[44] Following the release of the third-season finale, NRK stated that the second season had an average audience of 531,000, while the third season broke all streaming records on its NRK TV service with an average audience of 789,000 people.[45][46] The trailer for the fourth season, released on 7 April 2017, was watched by 900,000 people within four days.[47] During the start of the fourth season, 1.2 million unique users had visited Skam's website, and the first episode had been watched by 317,000 people. NRK P3 editorial chief Håkon Moslet told Verdens Gang that "We see that there is high traffic and high interest for season 4. Since the end of the season we have seen a pattern around viewer interest. We lie high in the first week and towards the end of the season when the drama kicks in."[48] In May 2017, NRK published a report on 2016 viewing statistics, writing that the third season broke both the streaming record for a series on NRK TV and for streaming of any series in Norway.[49]

An October 2016 Aftenposten report detailed that Skam had become popular in Sweden, with "well over 5000" viewers with Swedish IP addresses watching the episodes, not counting the individual clips.[50] A later report from Verdens Gang in January 2017 stated that Skam had "broken all records" in Sweden, with over 25 million plays on SVT Play.[51] Following the series' licensing deal for broadcasting in Denmark,[52] the series broke records in January 2017, with the show's first episode scoring 560,000 viewers on DR TV.[53] In Finland, the first episode had more than 130,000 views by the end of February 2017, two and half months after its release, described by Yle audience researcher Anne Hyvärilä as "quite exceptional".[54]

Skam has received critical acclaim. The newspaper NATT&DAG selected it as the best TV series of 2015.[55] In its second season, Kripos, Norway's National Criminal Investigation Service, praised the series' handling of sexual abuse, including the girls' encouraging the victim, Noora, to go to the emergency room to explain the situation and gather evidence of the abuse, and Noora confronting her abuser with relevant laws he has broken to prevent the sharing of photographs showing her naked.[56][57] The National Center for Prevention of Sexual Assault also praised the portrayal, adding that they wish for the series to become a syllabus in schools.[58] In the third season, Martine Lunder Brenne of Verdens Gang praised the theme of homosexuality and wrote that "I praise it first and foremost because young homosexual people, both in and outside the closet, finally get some long-awaited and modern role models. It doesn't matter if it's a character in a fictional drama - right now, Skam is Norway's coolest show".[59] In the fourth season, Christopher Pahle of Dagbladet praised a conversation about religion, writing: "two young people, with Muslim backgrounds, have a reflected, respectful and enlightening conversation about religion without arguing or taking it to the trenches. Think about that. They pick flowers and dribble a ball, and even if they don't necessarily convince each other, that's not the purpose either. The point is that they understand each other".[60]

Skam has been recognised for its contributions to promote Norwegian language and culture, and to foster affinity between Nordic countries. In December 2016, the Nordic Association awarded Skam the annual Nordic Language Prize for its ability to engage a young Nordic audience, connecting with young people across the Nordic region and fostering positive attitudes about the region’s neighbouring languages.[61] In April 2017, Skam and its creator Julie Andem were awarded the Peer Gynt Prize, an award given to a person or institution that has had a positive impact on society and made Norway famous abroad.[62][63]

In June 2017, just prior to the show's ending, Aftenposten published a report featuring interviews with many well-known Norwegian television creators, writers and directors, all praising Skam showrunner Julie Andem for her creative work on the show. Praise was directed at the series' "unpolished" nature, her ability to maintain "such a high level of quality over a long period of time", the series' blend of different sexualities and ethnicities and use of dialogue to resolve issues, and the show's compassion, thereby its ability to truly capture its generational audience.[64]

The show's series finale received positive reviews. Vilde Sagstad Imeland of Verdens Gang praised the final clip for being a "worthy and emotional ending".[65] Cecilie Asker of Aftenposten wrote that "The very last episode of Skam leaves us with a big sorrow, a sore loss, and a craving for more. It couldn't have been better."[66]

On 1 July 2017, during the celebration of Oslo Pride, Skam, its creator Julie Andem, and actors Tarjei Sandvik Moe, Henrik Holm and Carl Martin Eggesbø were awarded the "Fryd" award, an award given to persons or organizations that break the norms in gender and sexuality in a positive manner.[67][68]

In February 2018, Prince William and his wife Kate, members of the British royal family, visited the Hartvig Nissen school to meet with the cast and learn more about Skam, its impact on the actors' lives and to discuss youth and mental health.[69]

International success[edit]

Starting with season three, the show attracted an international audience, and NRK was therefore heavily asked to add English subtitles to the Skam episodes online. The requests were declined due to the license for the music presented throughout the series being restricted to a Norwegian audience, and that easy availability outside Norway would violate the terms of NRK's license agreements. An attorney for NRK elaborated that YouTube videos featuring more than 50% original Skam content would be automatically removed.[70] When denied official subtitling, fans started making their own translations of the episodes into several world languages, greatly expanding the online fanbase.[71] Norwegian viewers were quick to share translated clips quickly after availability through Google Drive, and also started blogs to cover additional material and language courses to explain Norwegian slang.[71][72]

By the end of 2016, Skam had been trending globally several times on Twitter and Tumblr, and its Facebook, Instagram and Vine presence grew rapidly.[72] On social media, fandoms developed creative paintings, screensavers, phone covers, and fan videos.[72][73][74] Filming locations, including Sagene Church,[75] and the Hartvig Nissen school, were visited by fans, and the actors were receiving worldwide attention.[71] After being featured in an episode in the third season, Gabrielle's song "5 fine frøkner" saw a 3,018 percent increase in listening on Spotify, with over 13 million streams and, at one point, rising to eighth place on the Swedish top music rankings.[76] Its social media popularity continued into its fourth season in April 2017, with over 20,000 tweets containing #skamseason4 registered in 24 hours at the time of season four's first clip, a substantial portion of which originated from the United States.[77]

In January 2017, Skam was geoblocked for foreign viewers. NRK attorney Kari Anne Lang-Ree stated that "NRK has a right to publish content to the Norwegian audience and foreign countries. The music industry is reacting to the fact that many international viewers are listening to music despite NRK not having international licensing deals. NRK takes the concerns from the music industry seriously. We are in dialogue with [the music industry] to find a solution".[78] NRK stated that "We want to thank our international fans and followers who have embraced SKAM. We are blown away by your dedication – it is something we never expected. That is why it hurts to tell you guys that due to a necessary clarification with the music right holders, SKAM will until further notice not be available outside Norway. We are working hard to figure out how to solve this issue so that the fans can continue to enjoy SKAM from where they are".[78] When the fourth season premiered in April, the geoblock was removed for Nordic countries.[18]

The series has received significant attention from international media publications for its unique distribution model of real-time snippet-based information.[79][80][81][74]

Anna Leszkiewicz of New Statesman posted in March 2017 that she considered Skam "the best show on TV", hightlighting the second season's handling of sexual assault. She praised the series for avoiding "shocking, gratuitous rape scenes", instead focusing on a single hand gesture by abuser Nico as a sign of predatory behavior. However, Leszkiewicz criticized the show for taking the "escape route", in which Noora finds the courage to speak to another girl who was at the party, who insists that, while Noora and Nico were in bed together, no sexual intercourse took place. Leszkiewicz commented that "So many women go through what Noora went through in Skam. Most of them don’t get offered the same escape route. Instead, they have to live with the shame and confusion of an "ambiguous" assault."[82] The same month, Elite Daily's Dylan Kickham wrote that the international fanbase for Skam on social media was "much larger than I ever would have predicted", with major fangroups on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. He credited the third season's storyline of homosexuality, calling it "incredibly intimate and profound", particularly praising a scene featuring a conversation about flamboyant attitudes between main character Isak and supporting character Eskild. While acknowledging highlights of the past two seasons, Kickham explained that "season three stands above the rest by shining a light on aspects of sexuality that are very rarely depicted in mainstream media", praising Eskild's "magnificent and timely take on the toxic "masc-for-masc" discrimination within the gay community" in response to Isak's homophobic comments. "It’s these small, incisive moments that show just how much Skam understands and cares about the issues it portrays", explained Kickham.[83]

In March 2017, voters of E! Online's poll regarding "Top Couple 2017" declared characters Isak and Even, main stars of the show's third season, the winners.[84] Verdens Gang wrote in April that Skam had become popular in China, where publicly discussing homosexuality is illegal. It reported that almost four million Chinese people had watched the third season through piracy and a total of six million had watched all episodes so far translated to Chinese. The report also stated that NRK has no plans to stop piracy in China, and NRK P3 editorial chief Håkon Moslet told Verdens Gang that "It was Isak and Even that captured a young Chinese audience. There's a lot of censorship in China, and they are role models and have a relationship that Chinese people have a need to see."[85]

Anna Leszkiewicz wrote three more articles on Skam and its impact between April and December 2017. In the first report, she credited the series for having tackled multiple difficult topics with the use of universal emotions like loneliness rather than issue-based strategies.[71] In the second, she specifically focused on the series' ending, noting that it originally had nine characters designed to each lead a season, and quoted fans with the sentiment that "It seems like such an abrupt decision. It doesn’t serve the storyline at all." Acknowledging the pressure of the show's global popularity as potentially a key element to end Skam, Leszkiewicz highlighted some fans' disapproval of the storylines presented towards the ending; season four's main character Sana, a member of the Muslim religion who had been under-represented in the series, had a shorter amount of focus in her season than other main characters had at their respective times; the final moments of the series focused on short stories by characters not given their own season, one of which told the story of a minor character without significant relevancy to the series; and a lackluster conversation about Islamophobia between Sana and her white, non-Muslim friend Isak. Leszkiewicz quoted disgruntled fans, one of which said that "Sana has been disrespected and disregarded and erased and sidelined and that is fucking gross. She deserved better".[86] Finally, in her last report, she focused on Skam's legacy as an American adaption was in production. NRK P3 editorial chief Håkon Moslet told her that "There was a lot of piracy", acknowledging that the show's global popularity was the result of fans illegally distributing content through Google Drive, though adding "But we didn’t mind". Producer and project manager Marianne Furevold explained that "We were given a lot of time to do so much research, and I think that’s a huge part of the success that we see today with Skam", referencing extensive in-depth interviews, attending schools and youth clubs, and immersing into teenagers' online lives, something that she did not think would have been possible with a commercial network. In regards to ending the series after its fourth season, while its popularity peaked, Moslet told Leszkiewicz that writer Julie Andem spent an enormous amount of time developing the series; "It was kind of an extreme sport to make, this series, especially for her. It was her life, 24/7, for two and a half years. It was enough, I think. And she wanted to end on a high. So that’s the reason. I think it was the right thing". Andem had posted on Instagram that she "wouldn’t have been able to make a season five as good as it deserved to be", though she had also written that she didn't want to give away the producing job of the American version, opting to take on the responsibility of that adaptation. That decision itself disgruntled fans, who "found her decision to leave the Norwegian series just to take on another huge commitment with the American show disappointing". Moslet praised the series' diverse set of characters, concluding with the statement that "At a time of confusion and intolerance, it seems more important than ever" for content creators to embrace diversity and reject intolerant attitudes.[87]

In December 2017, Tumblr released its list of the most talked-about shows of the year on its platform, with Skam topping the chat as number one, outranking hugely successful American series Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and The Walking Dead.[88]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organization Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2016 Gullruten Best TV drama N/A Won
Best new show Won
Innovation of the year Won
Best film editing TV drama Ida Vennerød Kolstø Won
Newcomer of the year Julie Andem
Mari Magnus
Won
Audience Award Noora (Josefine Pettersen) Nominated
C21Media International Drama Awards Best digital original N/A Won
Foreningen Norden Nordic language prize Won
2017 Gullruten Best TV drama Nominated
Best Actor Tarjei Sandvik Moe Nominated
Best Writing for a Drama Julie Andem Won
Best Directing for a Drama Won
TV Moment of the Year "O helga natt" Won
Audience Award Henrik Holm
Tarjei Sandvik Moe
Won
Peer Gynt AS Peer Gynt Prize N/A Won
Nordiske Seriedagers Awards Best Nordic TV-drama Skam season 4 Won

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External links[edit]