Adventures in Netflix! Episode 16: Lilyhammer

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Since the name of this feature is Adventures in Netflix! (yes, I do have to write it that way), I felt that I would be remiss if I didn’t cover the new(ish) Netflix original show, Lilyhammer, which “premiered” on Netflix earlier this year.

Thus far I’ve only seen the first episode of the show, and so have only really experienced the set up, but the premise is interesting, and I found the show to be quite entertaining.

Lilyhammer sees Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt), a former member of the New York mafia, enter Witness Protection after giving up his boss. By his own request, Frank is relocated to Lilyhammer, Norway, Frank having become intrigued by Norway after watching the 1994 winter Olympic games, and is given the new identity of Giovanni “Johnny” Henriksen.

Despite his surly exterior, Frank really isn't that bad a guy.

in the first episode of the show, Frank, a fairly stereotypical gangster-with-a-heart-of-gold type guy, who never the less make for an interesting character,  struggls to adjust to the culture and bureaucracy of Norway. Frank’s sense of justice soon comes into conflict with the law when his neighbors farm is terrorized by a wolf, which kills a lamb. Though the killing of wild animals without a license is illegal in Norway, Frank and a couple of his new friends hunt down the wolf, and come into conflict with the towns chief of police, who just happens to be one of Frank’s new neighbors.

Steven Van Zandt is excellent as a fish-out-of-water gangster, and does a good job of making his character feel real and relatable. Though Frank might have a hard edge, he is at his core a good man, and has a sense of honor and justice that, while harsh and legally objectionable, is hard not to find endearing and understandable.

Frank, beginning to adapt to the local fashion.

The rest of the main cast, all of them Norwegian actors whom I’ve  never heard of before, are quite good as well, though unfortunately hard to find pictures of. The picture below is about the best I could find.

Frank and his new friends, back from "taking care" of the towns wolf problems.

One nice, and somewhat surprising feature of Lilyhammer was the fact the locals actually spoke Norwegian (subtitled of course). In most shows that focus on American characters in foreign lands, everyone is almost always speaking fluent English all the time, not so here. I actually felt like there may have been more Norwegian spoken in this episode than English, and it made for a nice, genuine feeling atmosphere.

All in all my first impressions of Lilyhammer were very good. It seems like a promising concept that’s refreshingly unlike most other recent television dramas, and I look forward to watching more. If you like interesting, slightly quirky shows, and have a Netflix account, I recommend you check it out.

~NekoShogun

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