An English-languge version of one of the best teen dramas on TV won’t be seen on the CW or Freeform or even HBO—it will be streaming on Facebook.
Skam (“Shame” in English) is a hyper-realistic coming-of-age story that follows a different high school student from a real public school in Oslo. The first season followed Eva as she looked for new friends, another season followed the maybe-gay Isak, and the final season features Sana, an outspoken Muslim teen.
Skam was a massive hit in Norway, where it’s produced by NRK (Norway’s answer to the BBC). According to Variety, Facebook announced the deal at Mipcom in Cannes and soon fans will be able to catch Skam on Facebook’s Watch service. However, before you get too excited, the man behind the English-language version of the show is Simon Fuller, aka the man who brought the world American Idol.
Skam became a cult favorite across Europe and the U.S. thanks to a cottage industry that posts subtitled versions on YouTube. It has run for four seasons in Norway, where its ardent fans are known to drop everything they are doing to watch new clips—which are released without warning and in almost real time. If a scene is shot on a Wednesday afternoon, it’s released Wednesday evening, sending out an alert to fans. Clips are compiled into episodes at the end of the week and aired on television for anyone who didn’t catch the individual clips.
This unusual production pattern and the short episodes (they tend to max out around 15 minutes) may be part of what attracted Facebook to the show as it was designed to be viewed on the internet.
If they screw it up the way MTV did with the American version of Skins, you can still watch the original on YouTube.