Norway: a land of devastating landscapes, the Northern lights and fjords; forget those, Skam is where it’s at.
Skam (Shame) is a true-to-life Norwegian web and television series that follows a group of teenagers as they navigate their emotionally tumultuous journey into adulthood. Created by Norway’s leading network, NRK, Skam has become an unconditional sensation across Scandinavia with viewers across a range of demographics.
What makes Skam unique is its innovative multi-platform format and social media strategy: four to six brief scenes are posted weekly on the broadcaster’s website (www.nrk.no), at the exact same time the scenes are set and then collated into a complete episode each Friday – upholding the illusion that they are aired live.
Despite having a low-budget, Skam became the most-watched web TV show in Norwegian history at the end of its third season, averaging 1.2 million unique visitors a week to the site and with more than one million people streaming the weekly TV episode. Shielded from the press, the actors in the show did nothing to drum up publicity. Many of them still have day jobs. The creators simply relied on social media to rocket launch this TV series to the masses*.
I think that speaks for itself.
In a country with a population of approximately five million people, Skam has caused quite a stir.
“It’s a show that’s actively courted the power of social media but without thirst or cynicism…It feels authentic, it’s an immersive experience. Fans are being proactive; they’re totally engaged.”
The Guyliner, Gay Times
What makes this show so good?
- It’s incredibly relatable: Skam explores very down-to-earth, real situations: situations its target audience will no-doubt empathise with, and older audiences can reminisce on.
- It’s aesthetically beautiful: Oslo is a visually spectacular city, one that most foreign audiences won’t have had the chance to see up close. The cinematography is also stunning, with engaging scenes throughout. You’ll want to be a part of the action.
- The actors are real: they’re teenagers that play teenagers: they understand the very issues that they are portraying. Their acting style is minimal, too; Skam is very much an insight into high school life, rather than a recreation of it.
- It is subtle: Skam explores day-to-day life, but it does so with conscience. It doesn’t make a huge fuss, unlike many other teen dramas, instead, Skam treats issues genuinely, like we would, through discussions between friends, text messages and phone calls. Like Scandinavian interior design, Skam minimalist.
I’m still making my way through season 2, but, from what I’ve seen, it’s one to check out. Where Norway has previously offered us murder and conspiracies in its Nordic noir, Skam is a breath of fresh air.
It is a real outlook into the lives of 15-19 year olds, one that justifies the emotional struggles of Norway’s youth, with a resonating truth that echoes that of teenagers across the globe.
It is a social media sensation, one that I urge you to experience.
Hva venter du på?
Have you experienced Skam yet? If you have, tell us what you think in the comments!
Thanks for reading.