Every Season Of Shameless Ranked Worst To Best


After a slight sophomore slump, season 3 is “Shameless” firing on all cylinders, not just giving all its characters plenty of strong material to work with but also bringing the Milkovich family further into the fold. For the next few seasons, Mandy and Mickey are both honorary Gallaghers, and it’s one of the best decisions the show ever made.

It’s also a devastating season for Frank, as his unbelievable selfishness has now even lost him the love of Debbie, the one kid left still young enough to hope he’ll improve. Even for his older kids who thought they already understood the depths Frank will sink to, it turns out there’s still plenty of room for extra disappointment, as shown in Fiona’s standout scene where she discovers the phone call of Frank reporting them to the CPS. Frank’s the worst this season, and his cancer diagnosis in the finale perfectly sets him up for a more introspective storyline that season 4 mostly follows up on. (More on that later.)

Season 3 has perhaps the darkest ending of any of them: Ian has his heart broken, Mickey seemingly embraces a closeted, miserable lifestyle, Lip and Mandy’s relationship falls apart, and Fiona and Jimmy/Steve finally call it quits. But unlike season 5, this season properly understands the weight of all these moments, and lets them hit in natural, satisfying ways. Season 3 may have had a few weird subplots (particularly regarding Kev and V’s absurd strategy for having children), but it’s strong overall, and it perfectly set the groundwork for the best run of episodes the show’s ever had.

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