A unique t.v. series has taken Norway by social media storm. SKAM (Shame) has not only captivated the Norwegian teen market that it was intended for, but has rapidly caught on with adults in Norway and viewers all over Scandinavia and in the U.K.
The drama portrays the lives of teens and is set in Hartvig Nissens high school in suburban Oslo. The action portrays the everyday ups and downs of Norwegian students based on societal pressures and real issues that Norwegian teens face.
Now wrapping up its third season, SKAM publishes short Instagram clips a few times a week which are bundled into an episode that airs Fridays on t.v. and online. The clips pop up unannounced at the same time that a scene is supposed to play out—during gym class or at a late-night party. Fans can follow a character’s social media account such as tumblr to view the messages that are sent within the show. The viral nature of the show has made it Norway’s most-viewed web series in history.
SKAM’s content can be mundane or brutally honest and raw, which proved too risqué for the show to be sold as-is to English-speaking audiences. The show’s concept was instead sold to an American producer. NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Company), the original producer, will consult on the American project that starts in 2017.
Julie Andem is SKAM’s 34-year-old creator, writer and director who traveled around Norway to delve into the lives of Norwegian teens. She distilled their interests, problems, hopes and fears into a storyline not writing specific characters until after she’d already cast the actors. Andem harnesses viewer commentary each week to make the episodes seem more true-to-life. The show purposely omits adults from the storyline so that the teenagers can confront and solve their own problems. SKAM has only been promoted via the web and in a single t.v. interview, allowing Norwegian youth to discover it for themselves. NRK has announced that a fourth season is in production.