The main problem with copying the original, is that life in a council estate in the UK and Ireland does not have a direct equivalent in America. I suppose it would be like white trash people living in the projects, surrounded by a life of minor petty crime and drug taking. The kids are usually educated but unlikely to head off to university/college. Most families are on welfare and live a tough life. However, unlike the segregation in America, the community is usually mixed race; primarily white, black and Asian.
I am a massive fan of the British series. Its characters are very convincing and the actors were probably chosen because of similar upbringings. It makes the show believable. Unfortunately with the remake it seems as though the actors have been chosen for having a similar resemblance to the original actors; rather than being able to play the character convincingly. That's not to say that all of the actors are bad or talentless, I just find that most of the time I don't believe the person on screen is who they say they are. William H. Macy is a prime example of this. A fantastic actor in his own right, but only chosen for the role because he will draw in viewers. In reality he's an awful choice for the role of Frank Gallagher. His voice is way too clean cut for a character who is essentially a lifelong alcoholic, pill popping, piece of white trash. By this stage in his life, much like the original character, his speech should be reduced to a series of incoherent, slurred, mumbles. Instead we get an unconvincing character who speaks with clarity one minute and passes out on the floor the next; it just doesn't work.
Towards the end of the pilot episode I remember seeing Emmy Rossum (Fiona) rolling a joint. It really detracted from the scene because she had obviously never had to do it before. It looked like a windsock that practically fell apart as soon as she lit it. I even laughed when she passed it to Macy, who did a double-take because it wasn't even lighting anymore. Now it may seem like nitpicking, but I'm supposed to be viewing a character who has been exposed to this lifestyle for pretty much all her life. I find it hard to believe somebody like this hasn't had much practice rolling joints. The acting for the most part is delivered well, but I still feel it would be much better if the creators had chosen more suitable actors rather than focusing on looks. I'm somewhat bemused as to why they felt the need to cast actors with a resemblance to the original characters and then replace some with black actors just to be politically correct; it makes no sense. Aside from a slight language barrier, there really was no reason why this show needed to be remade. The original was excellent just the way it was and I have no doubt that a huge portion of the American audience would enjoy seeing a real-to-life comedy drama rather than something which has been dumbed down to suit a broader audience. In fact, Americans should be offended by Shameless; not because of the show's content but because the writers decided that people in North America are not intelligent enough to understand accents and references outside their own country. I just find that the magic of the original has been lost in translation. It's certainly a shame...but it's just not Shameless.